The 1920s drumming Heroes we’ve met so far, whilst all Americans, represent a quite diverse demographic. Some, such as Zutty Singleton and Baby Dodds, grew up in working-class black neighbourhoods in the South, their grandparents likely to have been born as slaves. Others, like Vic Berton, were raised in the North in comfortable, even opulent, … Continue reading Library #5: Where Are All The Heroines?
The great New Orleans bass player George 'Pops' Foster (1892-1969) played with almost every great black jazz artist in the 'twenties at some point or other, including King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Kid Ory, 'Red' Allen, Sidney Bechet, Luis Russell and many others.He also left an autobiography rich in detail and humour, a … Continue reading Library #2: ‘The Bassist’s Perspective’: Pops Foster on Drums in the ‘Twenties
‘Drums In The ‘Twenties’ Transcript of Warren 'Baby' Dodds interviewed by Frederic Ramsey Jr. for Folkways Records in 1946 BABY DODDS: “…I should say, I’ve been through - actually from drum pad… to solos. Now that’s all the way, that takes every bit of it. From drum pad is where you start; no drum, no … Continue reading Library #1: ‘Drums In The ‘Twenties’ : The Dodds Interview
“We were a pretty wild bunch in those days, myself in particular” – Sonny Greer KEY RECORDINGS: With DUKE ELLINGTON AND HIS KENTUCKY CLUB ORCH. / WASHINGTONIANS, 1924-30 Some of the great drummers of the ‘twenties gained their reputations as journeymen, able to slot seamlessly into a wide variety of musical ensembles and consequently to … Continue reading Heroes #6: William ‘Sonny’ Greer, 1895-1982
“Away down in Chicago / There is a name, that’s bound to gain fame / He is a brown, known over town / He’s Jasper Taylor, Jasper Taylor” – Julia Davis, ‘Jasper Taylor Blues’ KEY RECORDINGS: With [W.C.] HANDY’S ORCHESTRA OF MEMPHIS (1917) With JELLY ROLL MORTON & HIS ORCHESTRA (1923) With JIMMIE O’BRYANT / … Continue reading Heroes #4: Jasper Taylor, 1894-1964
"The ‘trap drummer [...] the most important man of all” – London Daily News, 1919 KEY RECORDINGS: With THE ORIGINAL DIXIELAND JASS/JAZZ BAND (ODJB) 1917-24. When I first started making a list of ‘Twenties jazz drummers to write about, I inevitably first thought of my current favourites – lesser-known musicians whose work I’ve been researching … Continue reading Heroes #3: Tony Sbarbaro, 1897-1969
"Zutty and I played together pretty nearly all our lives.” - Louis Armstrong KEY RECORDINGS: With FATE MARABLE’S SOCIETY SYNCOPATORS, 1924 With CHARLES CREATH’S JAZZ-O-MANIACS, 1924-7 With JELLY ROLL MORTON’S RED HOT PEPPERS and MORTON’S TRIO, 1927-8 With LOUIS ARMSTRONG’S [second] HOT FIVE, 1928-9 By popular consensus, Zutty (pronounced ‘Zooty’ - a Creole term meaning … Continue reading Heroes #2: Arthur ‘Zutty’ Singleton, 1898-1975