February 2020 - the Trombone
The trombone in jazz - thanks to David for an informative and enjoyable introduction to the trombone in jazz.
David started by introducing his instrument - he said that his music teacher at school was about to bury a number of battered old brass instruments including a trombone. David asked if he could take the trombone and this saved it from burial. He then needed to take it apart, straighten parts of the tubing, and then resolder the joints, and its served him very well since! David also brought a modern instrument (bright yellow!) with a number of mouthpieces for us all to try to get a note, with some successes!
David moved on to play a piece from the early 1900’s, a fun piece which he played to his teacher - who responded “do you want to play like a clown or properly?”. David chose the later!
We then listened to “the bluebells of Scotland” with Arthur Pryor on trombone. This was notable as being a very good recording made on a phonograph (cylinder recorder) in 1903. Pryor was an influence for a number of future players including Weldon Leo “Jack” Teagarden. Teagarden was from a musical family and was given a trombone on his 9th birthday and learnt how to get a large range of notes in easily reached positions. He became a leading player in the pre-bebop era with his innovative style. David illustrated his playing with Pennies from Heaven and the St James Infirmary - where the solo was played with no bell or slide and with a small glass beaker to produce the sound. Treagarden was an influence for future generations of jazz trombone players.
Next was Tommy Dorsey - technically skilled and again influenced by Pryor. He played “sweet music” and this was illustrated by the track “I’m too Romantic” - in 1940 with beginner Frank Sinatra on vocals!
Abram “Abe” Lincoln - a dixieland trombonist - who had a day job as an effects player on Hollywood cartoon movies. We listened to Abe on the track Hindustan. David related a story about Abe - who was driving from a gig one evening with another player George Washington. They were stopped by the police, and when asked their names were not believed, which resulted in an overnight spell with the police before sorting this out.
We were then treated to “live” music - David with vocals from Diane - a mix of Ain’t Misbehavin and Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.
David then moved on the British trombonists. We listened to George Chisholm, of B&W Minstrels and Goon shows fame, as well as being a very skilful trombonist (a master of chord note intervals). The track was My Mother’s Eyes. Then a track by Roy Williams.
David finished with a party piece track by Urbie Green - the Flight of the Bumblebee.
After the tea break we listened to members tracks:
You’d be so nice to come home to - J.J.Johnson and Kai Winding
Sliphorn outing - Benny Morton trombone choir
Ory creole trombon - Louis Kory
Misty - Bob Brookmeyer
Carling Riverboat Jazz (2016) - Gunhild Carling
I’se a muggin - Jack Teagarden
Sidewalks of Cuba - Ted Heath with Don Lusher on trombone