One of the best things about doing this blog, apart from getting nice comments from you my dear readers of course, is getting reactions from people directly involved with the music I post here. So far nobody has complained or asked me to put down music but supported my efforts.
Last Wednesday I got one such mail from Pivo Deinert, nephew of Werner Deinert. He found the video of Jimmy Jimson and the Werner Deinert orchestra that I had posted on YouTube. He informed me that his uncle had died on Tuesday. He was 78 years old. Pivo Deinert is a musician himself and though not into jazz, pretty much grew up accompanied by the music of his uncle. Sadly he didn´t own any of his records apart from a compilation LP and the MP3 I made from Jimmy Jimson´s Lavender Coffin.
Actually I do only have this record but I wanted to help. One reason why I couldn´t make the deadline last Thursday was that I still didn´t know how to record the 78 rpm records that I wanted to post. I also wanted to go even further back in time than the 50´s rock´n´roll records that I posted last time. I found these six records from 1949 together in a thrift store two years ago and they were pretty cheap, around 2 Euros each. Normally I don´t buy 78 rpm records but these looked too cool. I didn´t know anything about the music though and honestly I still don´t know anything about swing music.
When I posted the flip side of this record, a cover version of Lionel Hampton´s Lavender Coffin by Jimmy Jimson backed by Werner Deinert and his orchestra in September 2008 I took the sound file of the video and turned that into a MP3. Naturally that didn´t sound too good. I still don´t have a record player that plays 78 rpm records that connects to my mixer, amplifier or computer but now I finally found a really simple, even primitive , way of recording them. I put a microphone directly in front of the speaker.
I know that´s still not a satisfying way to record them and to do these forgotten songs some real justice I hope to record them in a better quality some time but the MP3´s that I made with the microphone actually do sound pretty decent. There is a lot of background noise, but that´s how they sound when played on the record player.
So here are the two sides of the Werner Deinert record. Side A ist a Jimmy Jimson, probably a black G.I. stationed in Berlin at the time, backed by the Werner Deinert Orchestra.
(Photo from a article about 6000 black G.I.´s stationed in Wildflecken, Bavaria and the German Frauleins that befriended them, Neue Illustrierte , July 1951)
Werner Deinert´s son discovered my video of the song on YouTube and showed it to his father but he didn´t seem to remember and shrugged it off: “Yea, that was one of those recording sessions”. Pivo wrote that his uncle used to talk about the difficult recording techniques in those days. To regulate the amount of reverb while recording in a church, they lifted the long drop curtain to get more reverb when they played the solo parts.
Mohrchens Boogie, written by Werner Deinert, is a nice swinging instrumental song.
As I wrote two years ago:
Lavender Coffin is the swing classic written in 1949 by Shirley Albert and made famous by Lionel Hampton. This version was released on the local Berlin label Metrophon. I`m not a swing expert so I don`t know much more except that this ROCKS!
Even more than the Hampton version!
When it comes to finding records I´m actually quite lazy. Most of my record hunting (or rather fishing) I do in my neighborhood. Once a week I make a quick round through the stores to see if they have new stuff. It usually only takes a couple of minutes in every store to check and sometimes month go by without any cool records coming in. My street, which is a side street that goes off some bigger street where a lot of people come to shop and promenade, used to have two thrift stores. Only few people find their way there. It´s my little secret digging spot. That´s why I consider the records that show up there to be “my records”.
One time I came into the store and there was a brand new box full of 45´s. Only SOMEBODY ELSES FINGERS WERE ALREADY IN IT!!! I was furious. Who was that asshole? How dare he comes snooping around in MY STORE?! And why couldn´t I have come 30 minutes later so that I wouldn´t have to see him pull out a Bill Black Combo 45 and a Jack Hammer 45, both with picture sleeves and in very nice condition? But I was even more angry with myself because I don´t need any more records really. Why should I get envious over a bunch of stuff that 30 minutes before I didn´t even know was there?
Well, then it was my turn. What a surprize! For some reason the guy left this record in the box. I paid 2 Euros for it and was very much at peace with the world again.
Lucky Thompson ( 1924 – 200) was an African-American Jazz tenor and soprano saxophonist. He had a long career playing Swing with Lionel Hampton, Lucky Millinder and Count Basie, worked in Rhythm & Blues and later Bop and Hard Bop with Kenny Clarke, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Milt Jackson. Thompson lived in Paris from 1957 to 1961.
In 1962 Thompson came back to New York, where he signed with Prestige and cut some solid albums . Not long after his return, Thompson´s wife died and the ghosts of his former business disputes reemerged. He lived for a time in Lausanne, Switzerland, but returned to the U.S. in the early 70´s to teach music at Dartmouth. His last recordings were Goodbye Yesterday (1972) and I Offer You (1973), made for the Groove Merchant label. From that point he descended slowly into despair, homelessness and dementia. Thompson lived for a while on a Canadian island, moved down to Savannah, Georgia, and eventually found himself on the streets of Seattle. Several musicians over the years reported finding a dissolute, half-coherent Thompson wandering the city. He finally found a place at the Columbia City Assisted Living Center, where he lived from 1994 until his death.
After a rollercoaster lifetime, Eli ´Lucky´ Thompson died from complications of Alzheimer´s disease on July 30, 2005, at the age of 81. Survivors include his son, Darryl.
Jack Sels ( 1922- 1970) was a Belgian Jazz Saxophonist and a pioneer of modern Jazz in Belgium. He played in various groups from the mid-40´s to the mid-60´s but left only few records. Like Thompson he struggled as an artist:
In ’63, financial difficulties forced him to work at the Antwerp harbour to unload boats. The last three years of his life, his health unfortunately declined, making it very difficult for him to play.
He died on March 21, 1970, from a heart attack, in his Antwerp home.
Jack Sels was only 48 when he died. Lucky Thompson got to be 81 but was homeless and broke. They certainly lived the lives of true jazz musicians. Both must have met during Thompson´s time in Paris. Musically they matched real well. I don´t know a thing about jazz but this is cool. Like a more cheerful Modern Jazz Quartet. Like, real European beatnik jazz…
bongos: Prince Ghana M´Bow, vibraphone: Sadi, bass: Benoit Quersin, piano: Jean Fanis, drums: Rudy Frankel, trumpet: Ado Broodboom
Recorded in Cologne, February 2, 1959
Madison Time is basically the same song as The Madison with changed lyrics and calls by Eddie Morrison. Maybe a little more refined and less aggressive. Ray Bryant`s Madison Time was one of the few Jazz records that hit the top of the Pop charts. But just like Al Brown`s version this still has a black touch. It´s basically Jazz music done by a accomplished Jazz musician.
Here you can see the song and the dance performed in the film Hairspray (1988) by John Waters:
I just found out that the wonderful I´m Learning To Share blog posted Ray Bryant´s American picture sleeve release of Madison Time two years ago here. His research was a little deeper than mine so I´d like t share his link to a very informative article about How the Madison and the Twist “Crossed Over”.
Part one of Madison Time has all the snappy dance instructions and part two is the instrumental. Very handy for teachers…
These sides credit a Kuhn so again I believe it was Paul Kuhn who was playing in Jonny Teupens group. This is easy listening instrumental Jazz music with a Madison beat. Music to make some light Half Turns and Boss Turns to on Sunday mornings..