“Wild Cat Blues” – Clarence Williams’ Blue Five (1923)

Okeh; New York, July 30, 1923: Thomas Morris-c/John Mayfield-tb/Sidney Bechet-ss/Clarence Williams-p/Buddy Christian-bj.

 

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Sidney Bechet; New York, 1947: Photo source.

Sidney Bechet–the man behind that visceral, growling, vibrato sound of the soprano sax.

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Sidney Bechet; 1939: Photo/film clip from the Guardian.

 

 

“Original Charleston Strut” – Thomas Morris Past Jazz Masters (1923)

Okeh; New York, February, 1923: Thomas Morris-Bubber Miley-c/Charlie Irvis-tb/unknown-ts-p-bj-d.

I’m not sure if Thomas Morris envisioned people doing the Charleston dance to this Charleston “strut” since this tune was recorded several months prior to the “Charleston” dance craze of late 1923. In other words, I’m not sure if the dance was even popular prior to the Broadway hit which exposed it.

And now that I’m thinking about it, is the act of strutting the same as the act of dancing anyway? I wouldn’t think so, but maybe it’s just semantics.

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“A primitive but often effective cornet soloist, Thomas Morris (the uncle of pianist Marlowe Morris) made quite a few records during the 1923-27 period although his style was considered quite dated after the rise of Louis ArmstrongMorris was based in New York from the beginning of the 1920s. He recorded with his Past Jazz Masters (eight titles during 1923) and his Hot Babies (ten songs plus nine alternate takes that comprise the best work of his career), Clarence WilliamsCharlie Johnson (1927), Fats Waller (1927) and many blues singers. However, Morris slipped away into obscurity in the 1930s. He worked as a red cap at Grand Central Station in the late 1930s and then became religious, re-emerging as Brother Pierre in Father Divine’s religious sect shortly before he passed away.” —Artist Biography by Scott Yanow

Photo of Thomas Morris and quote source.