Dearieme on saxophone

The commonest saxophones in jazz are the alto and tenor. We’ve just had lots of stuff from Bechet, the only Master of the soprano sax. Between the alto and tenor in size is the C Melody saxophone, which also had only one Master – “Tram” i.e. Frankie Trumbauer. Here he is in 1923, playing a solo which lots of alto and tenor players later memorised and played themselves.

By 1924 he’s playing with The Mound City Blue Blowers, including Eddie Lang: first San

and on the flip side his own composition Red Hot.

In December ’24 he also played for The Cotton Pickers, with Miff Mole on trombone and (according to the sleeve notes on one of my CDs) Roy Johnson trumpet.

He recorded again with the same mob couple of moths later

and a couple more months further on

But Tram’s career was about to change: in late ’24 he’d met Bix.

12 Responses to “Dearieme on saxophone”

  1. A K Haart July 8, 2012 at 19:33 Permalink

    Splendid. I like the gramophone used to play Jimtown Blues. I think I’ll put The Cotton Pickers on my list, but not the gramophone unfortunately.

  2. dearieme July 8, 2012 at 23:13 Permalink

    There were at least three phases of Cotton Pickers, AK. The first was led by Trumpeter Phil Napoleon, the second by Tram, and a third included the Dorsey brothers. The two CDs I’ve got come from the excellent Dutch label Timeless. Both Napoleon and Tram line-ups feature on one called The Cotton Pickers 1922-25.

    My other CD is called The Original Memphis Five, Napoleon’s Emperors, The Cotton Pickers, 1928-29. As you can see, Phil Napoleon was recording under the name The Cotton Pickers again, this time with the Dorseys.

    And then came the Wall St crash and lots of jazz men found it hard to make a living.

  3. A K Haart July 9, 2012 at 07:18 Permalink

    dearieme – many thanks for the info – I was poking around Amazon last night and soon got confused by the Cotton Pickers.

    Sometimes there is more information in the reviews than the sparse details given by Amazon. Fortunately quite a few of those who enjoy this music seem willing to give useful reviews too.

    I’ll watch out for the Timeless label.

  4. dearieme July 9, 2012 at 10:10 Permalink

    You also have to distinguish them from McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, a black band of the same era.

  5. dearieme July 9, 2012 at 10:43 Permalink

    Here’s the Timeless list from which I’ve bought a lot (but pre-internet shopping).

    I see the The Original Memphis Five, Napoleon’s Emperors, The Cotton Pickers, 1928-29 at the bottom, with no price given. I also saw it at Amazon at a hefty price. I don’t know what’s going on: perhaps it’s almost sold out? What a pity – it’s very fine.

  6. wiggiatlarge July 9, 2012 at 12:42 Permalink

    Like the items, but Bechet the “only” master of the sOprano sax, Coltrane, Lacy?.

  7. wiggiatlarge July 9, 2012 at 13:21 Permalink

    Sorry excuse the typo above, try this.

  8. dearieme July 9, 2012 at 13:40 Permalink

    I meant in proper Jazz, wiggi, not in its decadent descendants. I’m with Larkin on this.

  9. wiggiatlarge July 9, 2012 at 15:46 Permalink

    Decadent or otherwise it reminded me of seeing Tubby Hayes playing soprano, still the best multi instrumentalist this countries had, I could do a short piece on him as I have family members who are professional jazz musicians and many stories of him and his sad demise have been told but if it’s to decadent for you I wont bother ?

  10. James Higham July 9, 2012 at 16:11 Permalink

    Do I detect a divergence of eras here?

  11. A K Haart July 9, 2012 at 16:46 Permalink

    dearieme – thanks for the link – I’ve bookmarked it. I think you are right about the price – almost sold out which is why there is no price at timeless. There may be a secondhand market though.

  12. wiggiatlarge July 9, 2012 at 16:58 Permalink

    James it’s a conspiracy I have just received in the post the program of coming events at the local playhouse, first page I open behold it’s Acker Bilk who I thought was dead, met him via the family connection years ago lovely fella and a bloody good clarinetist whatever the period, much maligned by the aficionados as a populist, but I still wont be going.

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