Posts in the Category: Biography

Clarence M. Jones Player Piano Rolls Part 2 – Jazz and Blues

Posted in - Biography & Clarence Jelly Johnson & Historical & Piano Roll on May 11th 2017 0 Comments

Clarence M. Jones was one of those rare musicians able to adapt both his playing and compositional styles to new musical trends.  As Jones’ piano roll recordings are the only known examples of his playing prior to 1923, these provide valuable insight into his adaptability and innovative ideas.  Moreover, they clearly demonstrate how …

Clarence M. Jones Player Piano Rolls Part 1 – Ragtime and Other Instrumental Music

Posted in - Biography & Clarence M. Jones & Historical & Piano Roll on May 11th 2017 0 Comments Clarence M. Jones - In Search of a Husband

Clearly, the development of Chicago style jazz and blues piano had its roots in ragtime, and with the itinerant, now forgotten early gospel pianists who incorporated syncopation into their playing.  With his immensely successful “Memphis Blues” of 1912, W.C. Handy formalized blues music as a distinct piano style. While still purely ragtime, Handy …

Clarence “Jelly” Johnson Player Piano Rolls Part 2 – Popular Songs

Posted in - Biography & Clarence Jelly Johnson & Historical & Piano Roll on April 27th 2017 0 Comments

“Hawaiian Nightingale.”  A very simple although lovely waltz by Vaughn DeLeath.  Hardly to be considered within any discussion of jazz/blues or hot music.  And yet, Clarence Johnson’s performance is a salient reminder that great talent produces great music. Johnson’s playing of this otherwise commonplace, sentimental tune is uniquely his own; containing his jazz …

Clarence “Jelly” Johnson Player Piano Rolls Part 1 – Jazz and Blues

Posted in - Biography & Clarence Jelly Johnson & Historical & Piano Roll on April 27th 2017 0 Comments

Although Clarence Johnson left us no piano solo disc recordings, no band recordings, and only about two dozen vocal accompaniment sides, he still remains one of the most influential artists in the history of Chicago South Side Piano.  Unlike Blythe, who was prolific in all forms of recordings, Johnson’s personal playing style is …

James “Jimmy” Blythe – Player Piano Rolls Part 2 – Popular Songs

Posted in - Biography & Historical & James Jimmy Blythe & Piano Roll on April 22nd 2017 0 Comments

This section will present Blythe’s piano roll recordings of popular songs, such as fox trots and waltzes of the day.  Frequently, these performances are highly jazz-tinged (even the waltzes) and exhibit Blythe’s characteristic keyboard trademarks.  On some, Blythe added hot South Side coda sections to otherwise commonplace tunes, and these are special for …

About Black Bob from Charlie West and Big Joe Duskin

Posted in - Biography & Historical on June 21st 2016 0 Comments Charley West and Black Bob

Black Bob sightings are rare birds, so I decided to publish two Black Bob testimoniancies from musicians like Charlie West and Big Joe Duskin.

Let’s start with an interview to Charlie West, first published on “Blues World #44” in 1972 by my friend Bob Eagle.

“I met Charlie West in a club …

The Hokum Boys

Posted in - Biography & Transcriptions on April 17th 2014 0 Comments Gamblers Blues

“Hokum”, as musical term, seems to have come into being (or onto record labels, at least) in the late ‘20s, with recordings by Tampa Red’s Hokum Jug Band, and “Hokum Blues” by the Dallas String Band. From 1929 to 1931 it was something of a craze, with name artists in their own right …

Blues Piano Ghost Notes : Piano Kid Edwards & Black Bob

Posted in - Biography on April 4th 2014 2 Comments

There are some ghost and some blues piano ghost notes in the history of blues music. Musicians of whom nothing or almost nothing is known, but who have left their legacies in just a few 78s. Hidden by their pseudonyms and behind their 88’s , they have scored some of the highest moments …

Buster Pickens

Posted in - Biography on March 15th 2014 0 Comments

Blind Lemon Jefferson famously sang that “the blues came to Texas loping like a mule” but a better metaphor might have been the freight train. It was the railroad that linked the far flung Texas towns where the bluesman, particularly the piano players, plied their trade. In one of the greatest train blues, …