Tonight is another special edition of Music Appreciation, Folks have been submitting their tunes all week, and we have a wonderful smorgasbord to listen to tonight.
Our set list for the evening is:
Air a Danser - Hosted by Heather W.
Take it with me - Hosted by Abby
Twinkle Twinkle - Hosted by Rick
It don't mean a thing - Hosted by Heather G
Kodo - Hosted by Bronwen
Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves - Hosted by Kathryn
A ‘brief and totally incomplete but I’m really just trying to give you an idea of where it all started’ history of the electric guitar.
Most of us here will have varied opinions of electric guitar, that’s to be expected, the electric guitar is hard to escape in these modern times, and come in so many shapes colours, sounds and . But it comes from more humbled roots,
Horns and strings and drums and banjos can easily overshadow the humble acoustic guitar, especially when soloing, so the role of the guitar was as an almost entirely rhythmic instrument. Sure folks could rip a solo here and there, but it was hard to be heard. And so as through out history the brains of the nerd nation went to work on solving this problem.
One solution was to build a bigger more resonant instrument. When you go into a music store these days the most common size and shape of guitar on offer will be the dreadnought.
The very first Dreadnought guitars (named for a class of World War I era British battleships, "Dreadnought") didnt appear until 1916 and were manufactured by Martin for the Oliver Ditson Company, a publishing firm based in Boston. The Ditson Dreadnoughts were quite different in appearance from their modern offspring: The bodies were elongated to accommodate a wide, 12–fret custom guitar neck (12 frets clear of the body) with a slotted peghead.
Another “make the acoustic guitar louder” approach was to change the flat top to a carved arched top like a violin or cello. Orville Gibson was working on these as early as the 1890’s.
But even then you are limited, a great acoustic guitar will still have a hard time trading 4s on the bandstand with a horn section.
So lets get electric!
To start why don’t we listen to what some consider the first recording made with an electric guitar.
First up we have Eddie Durham playing with Lester Young and the Kansas City Six September 27 1938 -
This is the 2nd take, of the two that are available to us.
Buck Clayton - trumpet, Lester Young - Clarinet, Tenor Sax, Eddie Durham - Electric Guitar Freddie Green - Guitar, vocals, Walter Page - Bass, Jo Jones - Drums
So earlier I said “some consider” that last one the first recording of electric guitar because if you make a claim like that, someone will dig through the archive and prove you wrong, Which is awesome. Follow that ribbon into history. So if we start with a well known “first ever” like above, we can find others.
Here’s a Big Bill Broonzy recording from March 1st 1938 featuring George Barnes on Electric Guitar. Barnes was born in South Chicago Heights, Illinois in 1921. His father was a guitarist and taught Barnes acoustic guitar at the age of nine. A year later, in 1931, Barnes's brother made a pickup and amplifier for him. Barnes said he was the first person to play electric guitar. So let’s take a listen to this track and see where it takes us.
Ok, well now, that we know how this all works, neither of those are actually the ‘first’ they sometimes claim. there are recordings of electrified steel guitars pre 1938 So now we head into the world of what we know know as western swing but would have just been called dance music.
Milton Brown hired Bob Dunn to play and record steel guitar with his group “Milton Brown and his musical Brownies”
This recording is from jan 27 1935 when Milton Brown and his band the Musical Brownies recorded forty-nine songs in a single three-day session.
Milton's band is widely credited as being one of the originators of the Western Swing style.These were recorded in 1935 one in 1936 when Western Swing had lot of that rural country blues feel to the songs.When swing hit it's peek in the mid to late 1940s that rural blues feel was long gone.Most of the western swing bands by then were a much slicker sounding.Milton Brown died in automobile accident in 1936 cutting short what could have been a stellar career.
I’m not entirely convinced about the directions given to the fiddle player. But I also think that it’s a nod to the Hawaiian origins of the electric steel guitar.
Before we listen to the last piece, which, you probably know is going to be pre milton brown by now. Lets look at the first patent for an electric guitar, if you get a chance go check out the full patent because it covers more than just electrifying guitars.
naval officer George Breed, is to electric guitar as Leonardo da Vinci’s is to the helicopter.
In 1890, Breed submitted a patent for a one-of-a-kind design, utilizing the two basic elements that would eventually make their way into Stratocasters and Les Pauls (modern electric guitars) —a magnetic pickup and wire strings. Unfortunately for Breed, his design also included some very impractical circuitry and required battery operation, “resulting in a small but extremely heavy guitar with an unconventional playing technique,” writes the International Repertory of Music Literature, “that produced an exceptionally unusual and unguitarlike, continuously sustained sound.”
the design went nowhere. That is, until George Beauchamp, a “musician and tinkerer” from Texas, came up with a design for an electric guitar pickup that worked beautifully. The first “Frying Pan Hawaiian” lap steel guitar.
And so let’s hear what an electric frying pan sounds like,
Here is Eddie Bush’s Biltmore Trio from 1934 performing Talkin’ to myself
Here is a really great place to find archival recordings that might be hard to find elsewhere.
Next week will be a by Submission Music Appreciation, So if you’ve got something you want to us to appreciate please send me the info/links and prep a brief intro.
Tonight is another instalment of true Hurdy Gurdy Nerdy
One of the great feats of musical engineering, the accordion is in reality a ridiculously beautiful instrument, both in its often over the top chrome and glitter exterior reminiscent of a 1950’s Chevrolet Bel Aire, and it’s versatility of sound.
The First patent for an Accordion was filed by Cyril Demian of Vienna, in 1829, although it was a modification of an earlier 1822 instrument called the Handäoline, a small 5 keyed, manual bellowed instrument created by Berliner C. Fredrich L. Buschmann in 1822. (Actual patent drawing below!!!)
Over the years many variations on this instrument have been made, and we’re going to hear some of the variations on modern accordion types.
But before we dive into the tracks, let’s look at how most modern accordions are made, cause it’s pretty nutty. Please forgive the Grainy Video, and the appropriately 1990’s discovery channel background music
For our first tune to appreciate we have Pearl Django, with the Conversation,
Seattle Based, With a performance history spanning more than 26 years, Pearl Django endures as one of the most highly regarded Hot Club style groups working today. Although the band’s roots are firmly in the music made famous by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, its extensive repertoire includes traditional jazz classics and original compositions. The band’s signature style is marked by pristine and dexterous string work, colors of Bal Musette, the steady pulse of rhythm guitar and an unmistakable swing that delights audiences of all musical sensibilities. Throughout the years, Pearl Django has cultivated a devoted and enthusiastic following and they continue to play to packed houses wherever they perform.
The accordionist here is David Lang, playing a Patosa Piano Accordion.
So now, here is a regional variation, The Cajun accordion, sometimes referred to as a Melodeon. Cajun accordion has it’s own distinct flavour of sound, these instruments are usually Single Row Diatonic, which means they have only the 7 notes of a diatonic (Do re mi fa so la ti do) scale, though multiple octaves can be present. Multiple accordions for different keys are necessary.
Many different accordions were developed in Europe throughout the 19th century, and exported worldwide. Accordions were brought to Acadiana in the 1890s and became popular by the early 1900s (decade), eventually becoming a staple of Cajun music.
Many of the German factories producing diatonic accordions for the United States market were destroyed during World War II. As a result, some Cajuns, began producing their own instruments, based on the popular one-row German accordions but with modifications to suit the nuances of the Cajun playing style. Since the end of World War II, there has been a surge in the number of Cajun accordion makers in Louisiana, as well as several in Texas
Marc Savoy, who we will hear in just a moment, is a musician, builder & player of Cajun Accordion. Which is totally an understatement. Marc, along with The Savoy Family band, have deep roots in Louisiana, cajun music and the history of its instruments, culture, and repertoire. They are from, and continue to keep these sounds alive.
This is Marc Savoy on accordion, Dewey Balfa on fiddle & D.L. Menard (The Cajun Hank Williams) on Guitar. The tune is Lake Arthur Stomp.
So often, the accordion is found singing with fellow sustain tone instruments, as we’ve heard in the last 2 tracks, the bowed string of the fiddle and bellow reeds of accordion are very sweet together, in the next one, we have a woodwind reed, Clarinet, next to the steel, leather & wax reeded accordion.
The time signature is really cool in this one, 9/8, but with multiple groupings of 2 & 3 instead of our western “slip jig” intuition counting of 3 groups of 3.
Guy Klucevsek is one of the world’s most versatile and highly-respected accordionists. I only heard about him this week when we watched a documentary on NY based accordion culture called “Accordions Rising” which I have linked in the resource page. You can watch it for free!
He has premiered over 50 solo accordion pieces, including his own, as well as those he has commissioned from other notable composers. He plays a piano style accordion, and has emailed back and forth with Wendy several times already, so if you like this track do send him an email, he’s seems like a really cool human.
This tune is called Grooved Shoulders. You can find it on iTunes, I'm not sure if you can get a digital copy elsewhere at this time.
And for our final feature of the evening, would I even be me if I didn’t sing the praises of Accordion in Western Swing.
This neat little number is from my archive, but can be found online on the 1976 release “the Best of Pee Wee King & Redd Stewart” as well as the 1990 Pee Wee King's Country Hoedown: 51 Unreleased Recordings on 2 CDs from Blood Shot Records
This recording was made circa 1952 for Standard Radio Transcription Services and is part of a series of recordings designed for sale or lease to radio stations around the country. The music heard here assumes sharper perspective when it is recalled that the early 1950s was the era of Hank Williams and his deep-dyed honky tonk sound, and of Bill Monroe and his bold experimentations with the emerging bluegrass sound.
Pee Wee King is the Accordionist here, to me this track speaks to many wonderful hours and the connection you build when you play music with the same folks for many years, or have many shared roots and understandings in your playing. This is a piece of music that is great for the listener, and I imagine grew from much joy in playing it. In searching for information for this track today, I found a new treasure trove of information on western swing that I definitely didn’t have time to dive into but am looking forward to exploring before the next Radio hour
This is Subdued Mood - Pee Wee King
What does 1919 have to say in 2021? Is there music for this time that we are traveling through? Are there artists that have created art that can speak to this insane journey?
We are going to start with a composition by someone who is most definitely not my favourite composer.
Piano-Rag-Music is a composition for piano solo by Russian-born composer, pianist, conductor Igor Stravinsky,
written in 1919. Stravinsky, who had, by that time, emigrated to France after his studies with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in Russia, was confronted with American jazz combos actively influential in Europe. Stravinsky interprets the ragtime in a rather cubist way,
Stravinsky wrote the piece for Arthur Rubinstein, who didn’t particularly like it and wouldn’t play it in his programs, which caused a wee bit of tension between him and Stravinsky.
And so, who now, shall perform this for us tonight? Rubinstein refuses,
So we will turn to 28 year old Magdalena Müllerperth, from Germany, a very talented and currently active musician who I'm sure will be happy to take the gig. This is off her 2019 release “Stravinsky & Hindemith: Works for Piano” and so we gather, in the concert halls of our own homes, to take in a piece of music written in 1919, performed in 2019, Composed as the world grappled with a pandemic, and now taken in at a mid point, a turning point in our own time of navigating these things.
I am curious to hear how you feel about this piece, I was surprised by my own reaction to it, coming from my grudging history of hearing Stravinsky “As Music Student”, to hearing Stravinsky as “Fellow traveller reflecting on the present situation of the world”
Should you wish to purchase this track you can find her music on iTunes,
Can I Sleep in your Barn Tonight Mister?
Charlie Poole - Of “moving day’ fame ( I will link to that ridiculousness here)
‘North Carolina music in the first half of the twentieth century reflected Americans' interest in a burgeoning new genre—country music. While what is now known as "country music" existed before the 1900s, "the form came into being as a commercial enterprise in the 1920s". Based on "traditional ballads and folk songs," country music featured often melancholy lyrics, a distinctive twang, and instruments such as the banjo to explore the problems and challenges of the day, including Prohibition, the effects of the Great Depression, and racial tensions.
Perhaps no country singer from this time period is better known than Charlie Poole. Poole, who along with the North Carolina Ramblers, was known as "one of the most popular string bands of the 1920s . . . had a great influence on the development of bluegrass music”. Poole helped to popularize the banjo and "created a unique playing style involving his thumb and two fingers". The son of poor millworkers, Poole was unable to buy a banjo and thus began playing on a banjo he made himself out of a gourd. His music still resonates with listeners today, as evidenced by the annual Charlie Poole festival in North Carolina.
Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers made their first record in 1925 and "Can I Sleep in Your Barn Tonight Mister" was one of the first releases (Rorrer). The record sold 102,451 copies at a time when the "average sales for a Columbia country music record . . . was about 5,000" https://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/barn/summary.html
And tonight we are going to support the wonderful Caleb Klauder & Reeb Wilms from the Pacific Northwest.
This wonderfully historic sounding duo have taken the deep dive into technology and are adapting to online lessons, live streams and merchandising during the last year.
This track is from their 2014 release “Oh Do You Remember”, that has been one of the 4 CDs on rotation in my car for the last 6 years. Their music ranges from back woods/singing into tin can oldtimey to western swing and honky tonk. Their albums usually feature a mix of old standards and new compositions that meld together seamlessly. This particular track is at the old time edge of the spectrum, so if you like a more slick, twin fiddle, steel guitar sound do check out their other recordings.
You can purchase their music directly from their website, it is easy to download/paypal check out, there are 7 albums to choose from, and you can listen to samples of them all, purchase full albums or tracks individually.
This next one is a popular song published in 1919 by Fred Fisher, who wrote the lyrics for the music written by Felix Bernard and Johnny S. Black.
Bandleader Ben Selvin recorded "Dardanella" for several record labels (including Victor and Paramount), and by some estimates, his recordings of the tune sold a combined total of more than five million copies. His main recording was made for Victor on November 20, 1919 under the name of Selvin's Novelty Orchestra. It was released a week later and began to sell really well in December 1919 to top the charts in January 1920.
Tonight I am going to feature a wonderful arrangement, "Dardanella"
by one of our very own
From the album All's Fair in Love and Jazz
Chris Davis - trumpet
Connor Stewart - clarinet
Josh Roberts - guitar
Jen Hodge - bass
Martí Elias - drums
You can purchase for download or CD at https://jenhodgebass.bandcamp.com/album/alls-fair-in-love-and-jazz
You could probably also send her an email and an etransfer if you’re looking for a hard copy and then she’d get all the dough. firstname.lastname@example.org
To end the night with a shimmy as promised, we are going to get “I wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate”
Published in 1919, Written by Armand J Piron, this is a fun little number that has been recorded by everyone under the sun, from Bob Wills to Connee Boswell to Betty Grable and beyond
For over a decade, before swing music became hip once again, trumpeter Eli Preminger has been bringing the joyous sound of New Orleans jazz to the Israeli crowd. As a soloist, bandleader and member of several ensembles such as Marsh Dondurma, Eli performed on some of the most prestigious stages in Israel and around the world, such as the Red Sea Jazz Festival, the Israel Festival, the Jewish Music Festival in Krakow and the Montreal Jazz Festival.
This particular recording features Tamar Korn, and correct me if I’m wrong a Loyd Arntzen verse variation.
and it is so fun, and man, it’ll totally make you shimmy like sister Kate.
I wish I could Shimmy Like my Sister Kate -
Eli & The Chocolate Factory
Hot jazz from Tel Aviv, featuring vocalist Tamar Korn from NY.
Join us on our FB page!
released May 17, 2019
Eli Preminger - trumpet
Amnon Ben Artsi - trombone
Tal Kuhn – bass
Rani Birenbaum – drums
Ilan Smilan – banjo
Jess Koren - saxophone
Tamar Korn - Vocals
If you would like to hear this one or purchase it follow the link below:
What do we do?
Join us to be inspired by music from around the world, no preparation, prerequisites, or practicing required. I’ll read a short composer bio, highlight some historically relevant material or interesting context, we’ll listen to a piece of music, and then take the time to reflect on what we heard, ask questions, and explore.