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Wailin'
08-04-2003, 02:46 PM
Maybe it's just me but I just finished watching a video of alto sax performers. I always thought Parker superceded all other players in virtuosity. James Dorsey, at least in the peice was playing seem to be playing much faster than Parker. Does anyone know if Parker had any contact with Dorsey?

Mike Ruhl
08-04-2003, 03:02 PM
I've been reading the book version of the Ken Burns "Jazz" videography. There's an account of Parker going to hear the Jimmy Dorsey band, in which it's stated that Bird loved Dorsey's sound and style. All the players of that era were very much in tune with what each other was doing.

alsdiego
08-05-2003, 09:38 PM
In one of the Parker biographies, it was said that Bird was a big fan of Jimmy Dorsey. Also, that after one of Bird's performances, Jimmy met him backstage and gave him his (Dorsey's) brand new Selmer, saying in effect, "You can use this more than I can." Alas, as the story goes, Bird immediately pawned the horn for dope.

John Robinson
08-06-2003, 02:28 PM
According to stories published in several places Bird died while watching the Dorsey Bros. TV show. I wouldn't conclude, however that JD was a "killer" altoist...although in another sense, he surely was!

paulwl
08-06-2003, 03:03 PM
Begging your pardon for digressing from Bird a minute...:wink: JD was a helluva musician all around. Besides being a technician par excellence, he was a highly sought after section leader, a first rate jazz clarinetist, and along with Carter & Hodges, he was one of the first jazz alto players to make any intelligent contribution. And there really were not many more until Bird came along.

J.Reb
12-07-2003, 02:13 PM
I agree with paulwl. JD remains the best big band alto solist I have heard. I encourage you guys to listen to his 1939 recording of Contrasts. According to Milt Yaner, JD first alto, that was his best recording.

wclight
09-15-2006, 03:35 AM
Hey Reb,
I played with Milt Yaner on the last tour of the Si Zentner Orchestra in the mid 60's. I lost track of Milt and I have been desperately trying to find him. I was 17 when I joined Si's band and Milt became like a Dutch (perhaps Yiddish) uncle for me. I recently published a book called "The Stories" and there is information about Milt in there, plus a drawing I did of him while he was sleeping on the band bus. If you know how to get in touch with him, tell him Bill Light (the bass player) is looking for him. He's a great guy, and I would like to send him a copy of the book.

paulwl
09-15-2006, 03:48 AM
If Yaner is still out there - and I do mean IF!! - he'd be in his nineties!

I'd want to ask him about playing in the Isham Jones band...for me one of the greatest of all time.

SAXISMYAXE
09-15-2006, 07:07 AM
To elaborate on what Paul has said regarding Jimmy Dorsey:

Whether one likes his repertoire/style or not, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey were both two of the most sought after musicians for both studio, orchestra and small combo gigs from the 20's until well into the 1940's. Both were considered prodigies and technically superior masters of their chosen instruments (Trombone and trumpet for Tommy; Clarinet, Sax, and occasionally in the early years trumpet/coronet for Jimmy).

Jimmy contributed to many of the best and most well known early Jazz recordings of:
Jean Goldkette, Frankie Traumbauer (including his famous recording of "Singin' the Blues"), Bix Beiderbecke, the California Ramblers, Red Nichols' Five Pennies and Paul Whiteman among many others. He was one of the busiest and highest paid horn men during the depression, led successful bands both with and without his brother Tommy, and enjoyed a brief renaissance in his popularity with his last hit "So Rare" just before he sadly died of Cancer in 1957. His chops remained superb up until his last days.

I'd certainly support the argument that Charlie Parker was far advanced in his musical genius, and Johnny Hodges was more influential in terms of phrasing and stylistically; but technically, at the very least, Jimmy Dorsey was a major influence on many saxophonist both alto and otherwise, that came after him.

baylistenor
09-15-2006, 07:56 AM
And he wrote a saxophone method book that is still being used!

Oodles of Noodles!:D

paulwl
09-15-2006, 01:38 PM
Sadly, Milt Yaner passed in 1985, age 74. He was living in Nevada at the time (I guess working in Vegas).

jrvinson45
09-16-2006, 04:35 PM
It was watching the Dorseys on their TV show in the mid '50s that made me want to play saxophone. To my mind, Jimmy Dorsey was awesome. He had one of the purest sounds I've ever heard and the technique to go with it. When I started buying records (or having my parents buy me records) with saxophonists, I can remember my dad referring to my "Harlem Nocturne" by Earl Bostic and commenting that he was "no Jimmy Dorsey." Of course his idea of good saxophonists included JD and Bill Page of Lawerence Welk's orchestra. I was never a Welk fan until he introduced the guy with the toupee from New Orleans, Pete Fountain. If it weren't for Ramsey Lewis' "Jazz Legends" on PBS, TV wouldn't have much to offer at all for anyone wanting to see today's performers. I only wish more of the Dorsey recordings were of a better quality. "So Rare" is pretty good, but most of my examples of JD are definitely dated-sounding.

paulwl
09-16-2006, 06:51 PM
I only wish more of the Dorsey recordings were of a better quality. "So Rare" is pretty good, but most of my examples of JD are definitely dated-sounding.The big hit material is mostly what's available today, and that was mostly conservative pop stuff with vocals emphasized. But JD had a very good band and they made a variety of material, much of it excellent.

My favorite period for the band is 1935-37, now just out of living memory, unfortunately, so that stuff isn't readily available on CD.

jrvinson45
09-18-2006, 10:45 PM
The big hit material is mostly what's available today, and that was mostly conservative pop stuff with vocals emphasized. But JD had a very good band and they made a variety of material, much of it excellent.

Paul,
My favorite period for the band is 1935-37, now just out of living memory, unfortunately, so that stuff isn't readily available on CD.[/
35-37 is beyond my time; however, I did get to hear the Dorseys and Woody Herman and Benny Goodman before the era completely died. I saw Benny Goodman just before he took his orchestra to Moscow on tour, and he had Zoot playing tenor on solos and as I recall a fairly young Phil Woods on alto. The very next year I saw Maynard for the first time in concert but the music was changing and the Kenton Neophonic sound was coming around... I still couldn't get over the older stuff because it swung, and was dance-able... I don't think we're better off with it moving into what you so aptly called "living memory." Here's to ya, buddy.:wave:

Doghouse Riley
09-18-2006, 11:01 PM
I've just found this, there seems to be so few videos available, but the quality of the music I think would be hard to match today. I'd have rather not seen the two kids that came on and more of the band.
I think the singer may be Helen Forest.

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=3030481494662975423&q=jimmy+dorsey

paulwl
09-19-2006, 12:16 AM
I've just found this, there seems to be so few videos available, but the quality of the music I think would be hard to match today. I'd have rather not seen the two kids that came on and more of the band.
I think the singer may be Helen Forest.

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=3030481494662975423&q=jimmy+dorseyFirst name right: Helen O'Connell.

An observation: over there you guys seem a little more tolerant of swing music than we are in the states. Maybe one reason is that most of it's in the public domain for you, so at least it gets exposure.

jrvinson45
09-19-2006, 08:43 PM
Doghouse,
Thanks for the video clip. I have a DVD that I found in the bargain bin at Walgreens Drugs called "The Fabulous Dorseys". It is a fairly revisionist biography of the Dorsey Brothers with the Dorseys playing themselves in the adult phase of their lives. It gets kind of shmaltzy when they show the oft-feuding Dorsey brothers getting back together at the end of the movie, but it's good for the tunes and good peripheral cast including Paul Whiteman, Charlie Barnett, and Art Tatum. I paid $2.99 for it, but there are a couple on ebay for a little more. In the portion where the Dorseys are kids, it appears that the horn Jimmy is playing (or "lip" synching with) is a C Melody. Since this thread seems to be bending a little to swing music in general, I thought I'd share a description I read on a record review site. The comment was: "Zoot Sims swings like a wrecking ball." Yeah. I love it.8-)

Crumit
09-20-2006, 03:47 AM
I have a CD of Seger Ellis (vocalist) recordings, and in some of them, Jimmy Dorsey was in the studio band (usually with Tommy Dorsey, too). The tracks with Jimmy Dorsey really pop. He had a terrific sound--a beautiful tone on some really great jazzy solos. And most of these recordings were done in 1928!

Charlie Parker had great taste. He liked Hank Williams, too!

paulwl
09-20-2006, 02:21 PM
Check out his solo show pieces from 1929: http://redhotjazz.com/jimmy.html
and 1932: http://redhotjazz.com/dorseydorsey.html

Crumit
09-20-2006, 10:22 PM
Wow, those are great recordings. Thanks for the pointer!

baylistenor
09-21-2006, 08:45 AM
Check out his solo show pieces from 1929: http://redhotjazz.com/jimmy.html
and 1932: http://redhotjazz.com/dorseydorsey.html


Thanks I had never heard oodles and beebe played by him , very nimble!