30 October 2015

Post 287: LASSE COLLIN'S GREAT CONTRIBUTION

Scattered around the Globe there are many individuals who have voluntarily and generously given hundreds of hours of their time to help support and propagate traditional jazz.

I can not list them all. But I personally am specially grateful to the anonymous person (?Scott Alexander) who created the highly-informative 'Red Hot Jazz' website:
CLICK HERE. (Unfortunately, I am told that nothing new has appeared on this site for several years, even though it is a 'work in progress'. It is possible that the creator has died, though obviously we must hope this is not the case.)
And I am grateful to the people who run the CD-publishing company Document Records. They have enabled us to hear so much of the almost-forgotten music of the 1920s and 1930s:
Then there is the great Dick Baker, about whom I have written before. For years he has been tirelessly researching the old tunes, trying to establish who composed what and to tidy up hundreds of confusions:
And I have a huge admiration for John Birchall, who has spent years building up a massive library of tunes our bands play, all in Band-in-a-Box form:
CLICK HERE.
There are also many great video-makers, who have done us huge favours by making the best music available on YouTube. I follow several of them, and have long been impressed especially by the work of the video-maker codenamed digitalalexa:
and the video-maker codenamed RaoulDuke504:
But today, especially on behalf of all of us who try to play the music, I want to praise Lasse Collin - a man who - month after month for many years - has been creating HUNDREDS of Lead Sheets from which we may learn the tunes.

It is virtually impossible to find or buy the sheet music for the wonderful tunes the bands played in the first half of the Twentieth Century. Lasse Collin has been working them out by ear to the best of his ability and publishing his findings (usually complete with lyrics where possible) - free to everyone - on his web-site.

Lasse says:
New Orleans jazz is played by heart and ear. You fake some good old tunes and improvise on the melodies and the chords they are built on. Most of the tunes were forgotten a long time ago;, nobody asked for them. ...... To preserve these tunes is more of a cultural achievement. Often you have to transcribe them from old recordings, because there has not been any sheet music available for many decades, if ever.


Lasse adds (with undue modesty) that his transcriptions 
are mostly an interpretation of the song and don't claim to be quite right, simply just "good enough for jazz". The upper section with the chords is for C-instruments (banjo, guitar, piano, bass), the lower with the melody is for instruments tuned in Bb (trumpet, clarinet, soprano- and tenor sax, trombone). Have a look at the tune, memorize it, put in your soul, and play it hot!

Here is an example of what he offers on his site.

You can also click on examples of Lasse's bands playing most of the tunes. Pretty good, eh?  And extremely useful to all of us who try to play the music. Well done, Lasse. We are all indebted to you! To explore Lasse's wonderful site for yourself,