Friday, November 26, 2010

The University Six (aka the Goofus Five)

The University Six (also known as the Goofus Five) was one of the earliest bands-within-a-band, being drawn from the ranks of the California Ramblers. Their lineups were chock-full of musicians too often damned with faint praise. Consider some of these musicians:

Adrian Rollini - usually a footnote in jazz history books, mentioned in passing as one of history's only famous bass sax players. In fact, he was a remarkably consistent performer who inspired a dazzling variety of jazz greats, while seeming to invent a swinging saxophone style out of nothing (as discussed by Richard Sudhalter in his incredible book 'Lost Chords'). I believe his playing was far ahead of Coleman Hawkins' in the early 1920s, therefore making him the first great jazz saxophonist after Sidney Bechet.

Chelsea Quealey and Bobby Davis - barely mentioned at all in most jazz history books, and usually treated like the poor man's Bix and Trumbauer if they are. Here both demonstrate drive and creativity. Davis particularly impresses me during his alto solo.

Tommy Dorsey - accorded respect as a commercial big band leader and 'the trombonist who influenced Frank Sinatra', but mistreated by jazz fans who don't realise he could play 'true' jazz at times. Marked down for not being Jack Teagarden or J.C. Higginbotham, when he should be appreciated for being Tommy Dorsey.

The audio is accompanied by a gloriously idiosyncratic collection of photos. What an interesting development we are seeing through YouTube - old music given the video clip treatment. The interplay between the music and the images adds to and alters the artistic result. Thanks to YouTuber Atticus70.

No comments:

Post a Comment