BIX BEIDERBECKE, WINGY MANONE, MUGGSY SPANIER
Jazz Archives #100(12”)
1. I’m Glad (3:05) (frank Trumbauer)
2. Flock o’ Blues (2:39) (Rube Bloom)
3. Toddlin’ Blues (2:39) (Nick LaRocca)
4. Davenport Blues (2:44) (Bix Beiderbecke)
5. Tin Roof Blues (2:48) (New Orleans Rhythm Kings)
6. Up the Country (3:02) (traditional)
1. Tar Paper Stomp (3:05) (Wingy Manone)
2. Weary Blues (2:50) (Artie Matthews)
3. Big Butter and Egg Man (2:49) (Feind – Clare – Santly)
CHARLED PIERCE ORCHESTRA
4. Nobody’s Sweetheart (3:06) (Kahn – Erdman – Meyers – Schoebel)
5. Sister Kate (2:57) (A. J. Piron)
6. Jazz Me Blues (3:01) (Tom Delaney)
This album offers a dozen outstanding examples of the white jazz that flourished in the 1920s, primarily in the Midwest (and on East towards New York). It was “on the road” jazz both literally and symbolically. It was the music of restless and churning young men: BIX BEIDERBECKE, out of Davenport, Iowa, who first played and around Chicago, made his first notable recordings in Indiana, and whose career took him on to New York and then back to the Midwest more than once; WINGY MANONE, out of New Orleans, but quickly a part of the jazz world of the Northern big cities; NUGGSY SPANIER, Chicago-bred, but also from a very early age a traveller both geographically and musically.
The music of such men was “on the road” literally: so much of it was played in roadhouses, at fraternity dances in college towns, on short-term jobs at summer resorts. It was also a life on the move; a life with little room in it for sitting still or slowing down, that called constantly for playing with a different group of jazzmen, with another kind of band, in a new city. There’s a description of a Beiderbecke group arriving at a college to play for a dance – “(they) drove up in a battered car, everybody and all the instruments spilling over the sides; and such banged up, dented horns” – that has always seemed to me to typify the whole period.
And it was also jazz on yet another “road”; it was jazz in transition. The key performers on this LP all belong to a second jazz generation, one that followed immediately after the New Orleans we think of as pioneers of one sort or another, and that was busily absorbing that music and transmuting it in their own personal ways into something else again. As embryo trumpet players, the men featured here had been exposed to such as King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band’s Nick LaRocca, the New Orleans Rhythm Kings’ Paul Mares. Of course these were rather dissimilar influences and of widely varying value; and in each case of course the effect and the end result was very different.
Bix and Wingy and Muggsy were very different from each other – that hardly needs to be said. So this is certainly not a homogeneous album; no one is claiming that it is. But I think it is precisely the distinction of style and approach that separate the several groups to be heard here that make the idea of lumping them together into one LP a valid and interesting one. What we have here are jazz musicians who developed at approximately the same time, exposed to much the same kinds of influences and to much the same ways of life, dealing with the same kinds of pressures. And yet each reacted quite in his own way:
Bix was unquestionably the most important. He had something startlingly different to say, and his distinctive (and what you might call pre-cool) vein of playing made a swift and devastating impression on a great many musicians. The records here, made when he was 21, seem to foreshadow all that lay ahead in the seven more years he was to live. The first two were made only three days after his final record session with the Wolverines (the gang he had started out with and had come to New York with). The lineup includes not only Miff Mole, then a major New York jazz figure, but also Frankie Trumbauer, with whom Bix was to be most closely linked for the rest of the decade. Bix then returned to Chicago, and a few months later went out to the Gennett studios with a pick-up group tht included three men – Tommy Dorsey, Don Murray, Howdy Quicksell – whom he was fairly shortly to join in the Kean Goldkette Orchestra. The rest of his life was largely an attempt, with Goldkette and Paul Whiteman, to fir his jazz concept into the mold of the big band route to fame and fortune; eventually he died of it.
Wingy is best known as a showman, emphasizing the fun-and-games elements of the Armstrong jazz pattern. During the jivey Swing Era period, he made quite a good thing of that – but rarely playing as effectively or with as much real warmth as he does (even with the nondescript accompaniment on hand) on these 1930 sides, for young Joe Manone (in 1930 he was only 26) was still very much in the spirit of the stomps and blues of the early New Orleans jazz tradition, and his fervent attachment to the trumpet and vocal style of Armstrong was much more a matte of emulation than mere imitation. These sides were made when Gennett grabbed him up for a couple of record dates while Manone was on the road in the area – the other men on the date, who are competent but are otherwise unknown in jazz annals, were most probably recruited from a local Midwestern band (in support of this theory, the Gennett files list Butter and Egg Man as being by "Bob Finley and his Orchestra”).
Muggsy, represented here by only one selection, appears to be the most self-sufficient and least susceptible to destruction: he went on to survive playing with Ted Lewis and later tours of duty with neo-Dixielanders of all sorts, remaining always a musician with much the same fire and warmth and sense of the roots of it all that he displays on Nobody’s Sweetheart, which is one of the very first of “Chicago style” recordings and was made with a group put together and led by a jazz-struck Chicago butcher. (The final two selections are notable for not featuring anyone you’re likely to have heard of. However, for years they were assumed by the experts to be fine early examples of Muggsy and Frank Teschemacher; subsequently it turned out that the cornet and clarinet were just two other guys who don’t even rate a footnote in the history of jazz. But these are good records in this style; which probably helps to prove a point or two about expertism in jazz and which certainly makes these selections suitable examples of what was going on in white jazz circles in and around Chicago in the late ‘20s.)
All in all, this album offers a varied picture of jazz at a particular early cross-roads. It was a time when the unity (or, at least, the overall homogeneity) that had characterized early traditional jazz was splitting apart – in part because this particular jazz generation was capable of reacting to it in many different, individualized ways. It was a time when jazz was launching itself on some of the many different kinds of roads it was to follow – and therefore it was a time of exciting and memorable diversity.
SIOUX CITY SIX (Side #1, #1 and 2): Bix Beiderbecke (cnt) Miff Mole (tb) Frank Trumbauer (as) Rube Bloom (p) Min Leibrook (tu) Vic Moore (drs)
New York; October 11, 1924. Originally issued on Gennett 5669; master numbers GEX 9120 and GEX 9119
BIX AND HIS RHYTHM JUGGLERS (Side 1, # and 4): Beiderbecke (cnt) Tommy Dorsey (tb) Don Murray (cl) Paul Mertz (p) Hawdy Quicksell (bj) Tom Gargano (drs)
Richmond, Indiana; January 26, 1925. Originally Gennett 5654; mx.no. GE 12140 and GE 12141
WINGY MANONE’S ORCHESTRA (Side 1, #5 and 6; side 2, #1,2,3): Manone (tp, vcl) Miff Frink (tb) George Walters (cl) Maynard Spencer (p) Orville Haynes (b) Dash Burkis (drs) unknown (ts) (bj) (On Side 2, #1: omit Frink, Haynes and banjo; on Side 2, #3: add Bob Price, Eddie Camden (tp) Richmond, Indiana; August and September, 1930
Tar Paper Stomp, recorded in August, had mx.no. GS 16949 and was issued on a Gennett subsidiary label, on Champion 16153, coupled with Tin Roof, recorded in September (GN 17059). Butter and Egg Man (GN 17061), on Champion 16192; and Up the Country (GN 17058)/ Weary Blues (GN 17060), on Champion 16127 and Gennett 7320, all September recordings, were first released as by “Barbecue Joe and His Hot Dogs.”
CHARLES PIERCE AND HIS ORCHESTRA (Side 2, #4): Muggsy Spanier (cnt) Jack Read (tb) Frank Teschmacher (cl) Pierce, Ralph Rudder (saxes) Dan Liscomb (p) Stuart Branch (g) Johnny Mueller (b) Paul Kettler (drs) Chicago; October or November, 1927 Originally on Paramount 12616; mx.no. 20534.
Side 2, #5 and 6: Charlie Attiere (cnt) Nurry Bercov (cl) probably replace Spanier and Teschmacher. Omit Read. Other personnel the same. Chicago; October or November, 1927. Originally Paramount 12640; mx.no. 20470 / 20469
Other important albums in the Riverside “Jazz Archives” series include –
Young LOUIS ARMSTRONG (RLP 12-101)
NEW ORLEANS RHYTHM KINGS; with Jelly Roll Morton (RLP 12-102)
MUGGSY SPANIER: Kid Muggsy’s Jazz (RLP 12-107)
LOUIS ARMSTRON: 1923 (RLP 12-122)
BIX BEIDERBECKE and the Wolverines (RLP 12-123)
HISTORY OF CLASSIC JAZZ (SDP-11; also available as five LPs – RLPs 12-112 through 12-116)
(The slight surface noise on this LP is due to the limitations of early recording processes; it has not been entirely removed in order to preserve highest fidelity possible and to give more faithful reproduction of original tone qualities.)
LP produced by BILL GRAUER
Notes by ORRIN KEEPNEWS
Cover produced and designed by PAUL BACON – KEN BRAREN - HARRIS LEWINE.
(Period license plates in cover photo courtesy of Henry Austin Clark Jr., Long Island Auto Museum, Southampton, N.Y.)
Last three selections reissued by arrangement with Paramount Records and John Steiner.
RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCITONS, Inc.
553 West 51st Street New York 19, N.Y.