Saturday, June 4, 2011

Objects of my affection: Bill Coleman and Garnet Clark

I forget Bill Coleman occasionally, in a way I never do fellow swing trumpeters Frank Newton or Henry 'Red' Allen. I don't know why, because I love his long, leaping phrases and witty vibrato. I'm not the only one, however, and I suspect Coleman felt neglected. His reminiscences about his time in the Luis Russell Orchestra reflect a certain bitterness regarding its New Orleans clique. Coleman's stay in Paris must have gone some way to alleviating his sensitivity - there he was a celebrated international star, not simply another trumpeter.

Garnet Clark's experience there is a sadder tale. An enormously promising pianist whose life ended in a mental institution, Clark played with creativity and swing. I've mused before on this blog regarding the number of musicians who experience mental instability - he's certainly in good company!

Here are two classy performances by Garnet Clark and his Hot Club Four, featuring Bill Coleman on trumpet and vocals, George Johnson on reeds, June Cole on bass and the iconic Django Reinhardt on guitar:


Michael Steinman (JAZZ LIVES) said...

Coleman always seemed to float in his best Thirties and early Forties work -- as if playing the trumpet was the easiest thing in the world to do, requiring no effort at all. And we know that isn't true! Remind yourself of JAPANESE SANDMAN and SWEET SUE and the less-well-known sides with Eddy Howard and Chick Bullock in 1940-1. And did I mention his tone, a gleaming thing that no other trumpeter has come close to? Bob Barnard reminds me of BC . . . no fear at all!

rhythmoftheday said...

Remind myself about who?

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