3 July 2017

Post 523: 'CREOLE JAZZ' OR 'CREOLE SONG'?

It was one of those pub lunchtime informal jazz sessions. An elderly customer asked us whether we could play 'Creole Jazz'.

The other band members said they did not know it.
I said I had a vague memory of it, so I hummed what I thought was the tune. But the gentleman replied, 'No, it's not that. It's something Acker Bilk recorded'.

Back home, I consulted YouTube and chord books. I soon discovered how I had been mistaken.

The song I had hummed can be heard in this Kid Ory (1944) YouTube video, in which it is the first tune to be played:
Although the video as a whole is called 'Creole Jazz', this particular tune is definitely entitled 'Creole Song'. It is so 'Creole' that it has words in Creole Patois (Madame fait do,..etc.) and Kid Ory can be heard singing them. Mutt Carey is on trumpet.

I found that the great Lasse Collin on his site had produced a leadsheet for this number.
As you can see, Lasse attributes the song to Kid Ory; and, fair enough, it was certainly Ory who introduced it to our repertoire. Some believe, however, that the song was already familiar in New Orleans when Ory was a young man there.

But, to get back to the pub customer and his request, I sought out the Acker Bilk recording of 'Creole Jazz'. This is also available on YouTube:
CLICK HERE.
I was instantly reminded that this recording had been popular at about the time when Kennedy was the President of the USA and MacMillan was our Prime Minister here in the UK. Acker played the lively tune as a brisk clarinet feature, with only his rhythm section in support.

This tune is quite different from the Ory song. It was composed very much later by Claude Luter, the Paris-based musician who was a friend of Sidney Bechet.

This was the tune our customer had requested. Fortunately, the great Lasse Collin had done the trick again! He had produced this leadsheet for it.
I shared this with my colleagues, though I must admit we transposed it to Concert Bb to make it a little easier for us old chaps to learn and play.

And then, at our next visit to the pub, we surprised the elderly gentleman by playing it for him.

Another satisfied customer!

And if you haven't already come across the wonderful website of Lasse Collin - in which he supplies hundreds of leadsheets and is constantly adding more, please may I recommend it to you?
http://cjam.lassecollin.se/
Lasse Collin is generously providing an invaluable service to the whole world of traditional jazz.