Thursday October 14, 2021



(or Is Bing really jazz?)

Louis Armstrong - When you're smiling

Bix Beiderbecke with Hoagy Carmichael - Barnicle Bill the Sailor

Jelly Roll Morton - Hyena Stomp and Billy Goat Stomp

Bing Crosby - You are my sunshine

Louis Armstrong - I can't give you anything but love

George Melly with John Chiltern's Feetwarmers - Happy feet

Nat King Cole - On the sunny side of the street

Spats Langham's Hot Fingers - Hard hearted Hannah

“Pete Kelly” & his big Seven - Smile

Jim Fryer & Jeff Barnhart - The joint is jumping

Mike Goetz & Keith Nichols piano duet - Cash for your trash

Oliver Jones, Herb Ellis & Red Mitchell - I want to be happy

The Dry Throat Fellows - Do something, Pickin' on your baby, The Minor Drag

Fats Waller - Your not the only oyster in the stew, Money, Let's pretend there's a moon, Honeysuckle Rose, Lu Lu's back in Town, My very good friend the milkman


Bing is not jazz, but never mind. The music on the Morton sides is great, the sound effects are awful. We heard Oliver Jones -piano, from Canada, at the Cork Jazz Festival many years ago. Tony Davies brought the Dry Throat Fellows over from France for a festival. I love the words of Hard Hearted Hannah. Smile is from the film 'Pete Kelly's Blues'.

"BING IS NOT JAZZ" - a different view!

After almost eight years of living in Gloucestershire I am in the process of moving back to Cumbria, the chief attraction being the friends still playing Jazz !

But before that process succeeds , I am coming to Kendal Jazz Club on Wednesday 13th to 'stand in' on double bass for Gerry Clayton with the High Society Band !

Due to a lack of opportunities to perform in this part of England, I too have presented 'Jazz Appreciation' to U3A members (or u3a as it is now !) so I was interested to read Clive Edwards' comments and his list of a recent selection of Jazz recordings.

My experience from being a 'Jazz Appreciation' presenter has brought me to the conclusion that it's very difficult for anyone younger than 75 to have been influenced by Jazz , or Jazz 'interpretation' in 'popular ' music during the 1950s and early 1960s. But many participants often recall that their Parents enjoyed that music, so they've heard the names 'Bing Crosby' and' Louis Armstrong' .

Before I was even of 'teen' age, I saw the film of 'High Society' at the cinema, and was profoundly impressed by Bing and Louis long before I heard, or even knew about the recordings of the Paul Whiteman Orchestra (with Bing & the Rhythm Boys) or King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band (with Louis on second cornet)

Often the fact that someone has at least heard of Bing and/or Louis has been a 'key' to exploring those recordings, so I have to say that I feel that Clive's comment "Bing is not Jazz- but never mind" is not deserved , since I believe Bing was an 'Ambassador' for Jazz through his life-long associations and recordings with Louis (regardless of racial intolerance in American life), even being 'bold ' enough to sing and 'scat' St. Louis Blues on record with Duke Ellington and his Orchestra in 1932 !

I have no wish to offend Clive, or encourage a deluge of comment from others, but if it's true to say that "Bing is not Jazz", then I challenge anyone to explain why Bing's contribution to Jazz should be seen as insufficient , or inappropriate, to earn him an 'appropriate' place in the 'archives' of Jazz as well as 20th Century popular music !

Finally, on the subject of continuing with Jazz Appreciation during 'lockdown', I have made the incredible discovery that all the music in my life's collection of Jazz records, cassettes, and CD's can, nowadays, be found entirely on 'YouTube' ; but I will be taking them all to my new home to remind of all the years of searching, buying, and listening, before computers were invented !

Roy Cansdale

14/10/21 -

I read Roy Candsdale's piece with interest and have to agree with him. In the early years of ‘Just Jazz’ there were many heated articles about the same subject. However, the majority of views plumbed for Bing to be included amongst the ‘jazz influencers’. He may not have had a ‘jazz voice’, but it was more about, structure, content and timing, which was very much jazz based – the fact that Bing was playing drums in bands before he took the ‘Road to Whiteman’, may have something to do with that. I suspect this argument will continue for a few more years, however, maybe via YouTube, Spotify etc, the younger jazz ear will appreciate his contribution to the early jazz era!

Pete Lay

14/10/21 -

My understanding was that Bing started his life as a jazz singer but like many more went over to films when he realised that he was going to make no money.
There are lists of 'em over the years.

Howard Murray

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