Last month, we had a fantastic time playing prohibition era blues tunes with Taylor O'Donnell. August basically flew by and now we are back to it again! THIS Tuesday, 8/25 Soggy Po Boys will host Kendall Moore who will be playing some of his favorite selections from the pioneers of jazz trombone. The set will focus on the music of Kid Ory, Jack Teagarden, Miff Mole and more.
Here is an interview with Kendall that gives a little perspective on who these trombone greats were and what they did for the music!
When I started checking out jazz music, Kid Ory was one of the first trombone players I heard of along with Curtis Fuller.
I heard Curtis on Blue Train, which was probably the second jazz record I ever owned.
Kid Ory was mentioned in every Louis Armstrong bio I checked out. It took me a while to reach back and actually listen to Kid.
So who were you're first trombone heroes? When did you get into jazz boning?
My first trombone heroes were J.J. Johnson and Wayne Henderson from the Jazz Crusaders. I think the first time that I listened to them was in highschool- the JJ record came from my private lesson teacher at the time, and my Uncle Eugene gave me the Jazz Crusaders record when he realized I was really getting into jazz. They were the first two trombone players I ever explicitly checked out just appreciating the instrument. I find
myself revisiting old recordings of them to this day! It's funny you would say that it took you a bit to reach back. I think the same happened for me. When I was in college, I saw a masterclass and performance by Wycliffe Gordon, and he talked a lot about Kid Ory among many other trombone players, and he said something to the effect of "to move forward in music you have to reach back to the original innovators". Once I started looking into early jazz, dixieland, swing era, and on, I realized how true that statement was.
How did Kid Ory set the stage for trombone players to follow, and what was his contribution to early jazz?
Kid Ory's trombone playing in the "frontline" set the standard for how to accompany and created a role for group improvisation like in early jazz music. The way that he outlined the harmony and using glisses and growls at key points in the melodies helped tie the improvisations together and supported the other players in the group improvisation.
Kid Claimed his background with the banjo helped him create the tailgate style. Do you have any thoughts on what that relationship is or how that may be true?
That's interesting- maybe it had something to do with knowing the most important notes in the harmony that a banjo player/guitar/piano would play. When you hear recordings of him [Kid Ory] play, you can definitely tell where he is in the song!
Jack Teagarden is eventually playing a lot of overlapping repertoire and in similar style/band as Kid Ory. How is his approach to the music different? What did his playing do for the future of trombone playing?
Jack Teagarden took the groundwork that was laid by Kid Ory and other early jazz trombonists and moved jazz trombone playing much closer to what we hear from a lot of the more lauded greats (JJ Johnson, Curtis Fuller, Frank Rosolino, Carl Fontana and others). His playing was, in my opinion, a lot like what Louis Armstrong did for the trombone. Teagarden's tone was a lot smoother and his technique on the instrument was extremely refined- people are still trying to do the stuff Teagarden did today. Instead of supporting other soloists in the front line in the Kid Ory fashion, Teagarden started playing counter melodies. He was taking more extended solos and melody features in front of the band, and outlining chord changes. At first listen, it seems that Teagarden is a whole different animal, but he is still steeped in the tradition the music that came before him and what he could do would not be considered innovation without people like Kid Ory.
Thanks for interviewing me! I am looking forward to the show next Tuesday night at Sonny's!