Mardi Soir Sessions Vol VI
Rumble in the Jungle

Rumble in the Jungle - Los Hermanos Brothers

Here a link to download: http://www.mediafire.com/file/52um8xwx8vdo8lm/Rumble%20in%20the%20Jungle.mp3

Tracklist: Mardi Soir Sessions (Vol.6):
“Rumble in the Jungle”

1. The Mills Brothers - Congo fever (jungle fever)
2. Artie Shaw - Dr Livingstone, I presume 
3. Edgar Hayes & his orchestra - Old King Cole 
4. Duke Ellington - Black beauty
5. Joe Venutti - Heatwave 
6. Charles Lavere & his Chicagoans - Ubangi man
7. Leon Rene's Orchestra - I'm Mr African 
8. Clarence Williams & his orchestra - Jungle Crawl 
9. Marlene Dietrich - Hot Voodoo 
10. Machito - Nague
11. Erskine Hawkins - Satan does the Rhumba
12. Art Blakey - Sacrifice 
13. Horace Silver - message from Kenya 
14. Machito - Kenya 
15. Yma Sumac - Jungla 
16. Joe "Fingers" Carr - Istanbul
17. Duke Ellington - The Mooche
18. Cyril Diaz & his orchestra - Voodoo 

During his Cotton Club days Ellington developed his "Jungle Style", a popular musical innovation of the 1920s. When the trumpet player Bubber Miley joined Ellington's band, he brought with him his unique plunger mute style of playing. This "growling" came to be called the "Jungle Sound", and it was largely responsible for Ellington's early success... Carried away by the compelling profoundness of the swing jazz impressions of jungle sounds, we find ourself flowing down the Congo River to the abysmal depths of its hidden origins, then braving the dangers of unpenetrable Amazon Rainforest, looking for lost treasures, hidden deep in the jungle.

The following text is the continuation of the text featured with "Stirin' the Hotpot". 

Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned the 1920s and 1930s. At the time, it was known as the "New Negro Movement", named after the 1925 anthology by Alain Locke. Though it was centered in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, many French-speaking black writers from African and Caribbean colonies who lived in Paris were also influenced by the Harlem Renaissance. In the nineteenth century, the Harlem district had been built as an exclusive suburb for the white middle and upper middle classes, with stately houses, grand avenues and amenities such as the Polo Grounds and an opera house. During the enormous influx of European immigrants in the late nineteenth century, the once exclusive district was abandoned by the native white middle-class. Harlem became an African-American neighborhood in the early 1900s. In 1910, a large block along 135th Street and Fifth Avenue was bought by various African-American realtors and a church group. Many more African Americans arrived during the First World War. Due to the war, the migration of laborers from Europe virtually ceased, while the war effort resulted in a massive demand for unskilled industrial labor. The Great Migration brought hundreds of thousands of African Americans to cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and New York City.

We couldn't embed the following video, but feel free to follow the link: http://youtu.be/U2p_5XoP1Fg

The first stage of the Harlem Renaissance started in the late 1910s. 1917 saw the premiere of Three Plays for a Negro Theatre. These plays, written by white playwright Ridgely Torrence, featured Negro actors conveying complex human emotions and yearnings. They rejected the stereotypes of the blackface and minstrel show traditions. James Weldon Johnson in 1917 called the premieres of these plays "the most important single event in the entire history of the Negro in the American Theater." Another landmark came in 1919, when Claude McKay published his militant sonnet "If We Must Die". Although the poem never alluded to race, to Negro readers it sounded a note of defiance in the face of racism and the nationwide race riots and lynchings then taking place. By the end of the First World War, the fiction of James Weldon Johnson and the poetry of Claude McKay were describing the reality of contemporary Negro life in America.

Most of the African-American literary movement arose from a generation that had lived through the gains and losses of Reconstruction after the American Civil War. Sometimes their parents or grandparents had been slaves. Their ancestors had sometimes benefited by paternal investment in social capital, including better-than-average education. Many in the Harlem Renaissance were part of the Great Migration out of the South into the Negro neighborhoods of the North and Midwest. African Americans sought a better standard of living and relief from the institutionalized racism in the South. Others were people of African descent from racially stratified communities in the Caribbean who came to the United States hoping for a better life. 

Characterizing the Harlem Renaissance was an overt racial pride that came to be represented in the idea of the New Negro, who through intellect and production of literature, art, and music could challenge the pervading racism and stereotypes to promote progressive or socialist politics, and racial and social integration. The creation of art and literature would serve to "uplift" the race. 

The Renaissance was more than a literary or artistic movement, it possessed a certain sociological development—particularly through a new racial consciousness—through racial integration, as seen the Back to Africa movement led by Marcus Garvey. W. E. B. Du Bois' notion of "twoness", introduced in The Souls of Black Folk (1903), explored a divided awareness of one's identity that was a unique critique of the social ramifications of racial consciousness.

Marcus Garvey

A new way of playing the piano called the Harlem Stride Style was created during the Harlem Renaissance, and helped blur the lines between the poor Negros and socially elite Negros. The traditional jazz band was composed primarily of brass instruments and was considered a symbol of the south, but the piano was considered an instrument of the wealthy. With this instrumental modification to the existing genre, the wealthy blacks now had more access to jazz music. Its popularity soon spread throughout the country and was consequently at an “all time high.” Innovation and liveliness were important characteristics of performers in the beginnings of jazz. Jazz musicians at the time like Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, and Willie "The Lion" Smith were very talented and competitive, and were considered to have laid the foundation for future musicians of their genre.

While the Savoy Ballroom on Lenox Avenue was a renowned venue for swing dancing and jazz, immortalized in the popular song "Stompin' At The Savoy", the Apollo Theater has been the most lasting physical legacy of the Harlem Renaissance. Opened on 125th Street on January 26, 1914, in a former burlesque house, it has remained one of the symbols of African-Americans way of life. As one of the most famous clubs for popular music in the United States, it was the first place where many figures from the Harlem Renaissance found a venue for their talents and a start to their careers. The careers of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan (among many others) were launched at the Apollo. 

The Harlem Renaissance appealed to a mixed audience. The literature appealed to the African-American middle class and to whites. African American musicians and other performers also played to mixed audiences. Harlem's cabarets and clubs attracted both Harlem residents and white New Yorkers seeking out Harlem nightlife. Harlem's famous Cotton Club, where Duke Ellington performed, carried this to an extreme, by providing black entertainment for exclusively white audiences. Ultimately, the more successful black musicians and entertainers who appealed to a mainstream audience moved their performances downtown. 

Duke at the Cotton Club

The Mills Brothers 

The Mills Brothers, sometimes billed as The Four Mills Brothers, were an American jazz and pop vocal quartet. They began singing in the choir of the Cyrene African Methodist Episcopal Church and in the Park Avenue Baptist Church in Piqua. After their lessons at the Spring Street Grammar School, they would gather in front of their father's barbershop on Public Square or at the corner of Greene and Main to sing and play the kazoo to passersby. They entertained on the Midwest theater circuit, at house parties, tent shows, music halls and supper clubs throughout the area and became well known for their close harmonies, mastery of scat singing, and their ability to imitate musical instruments with their voices. In 1928, after playing May's Opera House in Piqua between Rin Tin Tin features, the brothers accompanied the Harold Greenameyer Band to Cincinnati for an audition with radio station WLW. The band was not hired, but the Mills brothers were. With the help of Seger Ellis, WLW Cincinnati DJ and a music legend of the '20s, they quickly became local radio stars and got their major break when Duke Ellington and his Orchestra played a date in Cincinnati. When the youngsters sang for Duke, he called Tommy Rockwell at Okeh Records, who signed them and brought the group to New York.
The Mills Brothers

Fats Waller

“Fats” Waller was an African-American jazz pianist, organist, composer and comedic entertainer. Among his songs are "Squeeze Me" 1919, "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now", "Ain't Misbehavin'" 1929, "Blue Turning Grey Over You" 1930, "Honeysuckle Rose" 1929, piano cutting piece, "Handful of Keys", "I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling" 1929, and "Jitterbug Waltz" 1942.
He was born Thomas Wright Waller in New York City to a Baptist minister father. The Waller family migrated to Harlem from Virginia. Fats' grandfather, Adolph Waller was an accomplished violinist. Waller started his musical career at an early age. He studied classical piano and organ as a child, taught largely by the music director of his Baptist church, who insisted he also learn the organ works of J. S. Bach. As a young adult, Waller took regular piano lessons from legendary Harlem stride pianist James P. Johnson. He also benefited from legendary stride pianist Willie "The Lion" Smith, who gave Fats the nickname "Filthy".
He was an excellent pianist - now usually considered one of the very best who ever played in the stride style. Many believe that his songwriting and his lovable, roguish stage personality often overshadowed his playing. Before his solo career, he played with many performers, from Erskine Tate to Bessie Smith, but his greatest success came with his own five- or six-piece combo, "Fats Waller and his Rhythm".

Fats Waller and Ada Brown in Stormy Weather

Fats Waller was such an impressive and talented pianist that he came to the attention of the rich and famous - sometimes whether he wanted to or not. Fats Waller was in Chicago in 1926 and, upon leaving the building where he was performing, Waller was kidnapped by four men, who bundled him into a car and drove off. The car later pulled up outside the Hawthorne Inn, owned by infamous gangster Al Capone. Fats was ordered inside the building, to find a party in full swing. With a gun against his back, Waller was pushed towards a piano, whereupon the gangsters demanded he start playing. A terrified Waller suddenly realised he was the "surprise guest" at Al Capone's birthday party. Soon comforted by the fact that he wouldn't die, Waller played, according to rumor, for three days. When he left the Hawthorne Inn, he was very drunk, extremely tired, and had earned thousands of dollars in cash given to him by Capone himself and by party-goers as tips.

 Fats Waller

Though Waller could read and write music well (from his classical keyboard studies as a child) and would even, on occasion, perform organ works of Bach for small groups, his brilliant improvisations have had to be transcribed from old recordings and radio broadcasts. The pianist and keyboard professor Paul Posnak has recently produced transcriptions of 16 of Waller's greatest solos, published by Hal Leonard, and himself performs these in concerts worldwide. In 1978 a broadway musical entitled Ain't Misbehavin' was produced. Performed by five African American actors, it showcased the works of Waller in the style of a musical revue and included such songs as "Honeysuckle Rose", "The Joint is Jumpin'", and "Ain't Misbehavin'". The show opened at the Longacre Theatre and ran for over 1600 performances.

Count Basie

Count Basie was among the most important bandleaders of the swing era. With the exception of a brief period in the early '50s, he led a big band from 1935 until his death almost 50 years later, and the band continued to perform after he died. Basie's orchestra was characterized by a light, swinging rhythm section that he led from the piano, lively ensemble work, and generous soloing. Basie was not a composer like Duke Ellington or an important soloist like Benny Goodman. His instrument was his band, which was considered the epitome of swing and became broadly influential on jazz.  

Both of Basie's parents were musicians; his father, Harvie Basie, played the mellophone, and his mother, Lillian (Childs) Basie, was a pianist who gave her son his earliest lessons. Basie also learned from Harlem stride pianists, particularly Fats Waller. Around 1924, he went to Harlem, a hotbed of jazz, living down the block from the Alhambra Theater. Early after his arrival, he bumped into childhood friend Sonny Greer, who was by then the drummer for the Washingtonians, Duke Ellington's early band. Soon, Basie met many of the Harlem musicians who were making the scene, including Willie "the Lion" Smith and James P. Johnson. His first professional work came accompanying vaudeville performers, and he was part of a troupe that broke up in Kansas City in 1927, leaving him stranded there.

Basie got his big break when one of his broadcasts was heard by journalist and record producer John Hammond, who touted him to agents and record companies. As a result, the band was able to leave Kansas City in the fall of 1936 and take up an engagement at the Grand Terrace in Chicago, followed by a date in Buffalo, NY, before coming into Roseland in New York City in December. It made its recording debut on Decca Records in January 1937. Undergoing expansion and personnel changes, it returned to Chicago, then to the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Boston. Meanwhile, its recording of "One O'Clock Jump" became its first chart entry in September 1937. The tune became the band's theme song and it was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

By now, Basie's sound was characterized by a "jumping" beat and the contrapuntal accents of his own piano. His personnel around 1937 included: Lester Young on tenor sax, Freddie Green on guitar, Jo Jones on drums and Harry Edison on trumpet. Lester Young, known as "Prez" by the band, came up with nicknames for all the other band members. Basie became known as "Holy Man", "Holy Main", and just plain "Holy".
When they arrived in New York, they made the Woodside Hotel their base (where they often rehearsed in the basement). Soon, they were booked at the Roseland Ballroom for the Christmas show. Basie recalled a review, which in his words was something like, "We caught the great Count Basie band which is supposed to be so hot he was going to come in here and set the Roseland on fire. Well, the Roseland is still standing". Compared to the reigning band of Fletcher Henderson, Basie's band lacked polish and presentation. Hammond advised and encouraged them, and they soon came up with some adjustments, including softer playing, more solos, more standards, and saving their hottest numbers for later in the show to give the audience a chance to warm up.
Next, Basie played at the Savoy, which was noted more for jitterbugging, while the Roseland was more of a place for fox-trots and congas. In early 1938, the Savoy was the meeting ground for a "battle of the bands" with Chick Webb's group. Basie had Holiday and Webb countered with Ella Fitzgerald. As Metronome magazine proclaimed, "Basie's Brilliant Band Conquers Chick's", then it went on in detail,
"Throughout the fight, which never let down in its intensity during the whole fray, Chick took the aggressive, with the Count playing along easily and, on the whole, more musically scientifically. Undismayed by Chick's forceful drum beating, which sent the audience into shouts of encouragement and appreciation and casual beads of perspiration to drop from Chick's brow onto the brass cymbals, the Count maintained an attitude of poise and self-assurance. He constantly parried Chick's thundering haymakers with tantalizing runs and arpeggios which teased more and more force from his adversary".
The publicity over the battle, before and after, gave the Basie band a big boost and they gained wider recognition, as evidenced by Benny Goodman's recording of One O'Clock Jump shortly thereafter.
The big band era appeared to have ended after the war, and Basie disbanded the group. For a while, he performed in combos, sometimes stretched to an orchestra. He reformed his group as a 16-piece orchestra in 1952. Basie credits Billy Eckstine, a top male vocalist of the time, for prompting his return to Big Band and Norman Granz for getting him into the Birdland club and promoting the new band through recordings. In 1954, the band made its first European tour.
In the summer of 1960, Basie and Duke Ellington combined forces for the recording First Time! The Count Meets the Duke, each providing four numbers from their play books.

Lionel Hampton

Lionel Hampton was the first jazz vibraphonist and was one of the jazz giants beginning in the mid-'30s. He has achieved the difficult feat of being musically open-minded (even recording "Giant Steps") without changing his basic swing style. Hamp started out as a drummer, playing with the Chicago Defender Newsboys' Band as a youth. His original idol was Jimmy Bertrand, a '20s drummer who occasionally played xylophone. Hampton played on the West Coast  before joining Les Hite's band, which for a period accompanied Louis Armstrong. At a recording session in 1930, a vibraphone happened to be in the studio, and Armstrong asked Hampton (who had practiced on one previously) if he could play a little bit behind him and on "Memories of You" and "Shine"; Hamp became the first jazz improviser to record on vibes.  

 Lionel Hampton

It would be another six years before he found fame. Lionel Hampton, after leaving Hite, had his own band in Los Angeles' Paradise Cafe, until one night in 1936 when Benny Goodman came into the club and discovered him. Soon, Hampton recorded with Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, and Gene Krupa as the Benny Goodman Quartet, and six weeks later he officially joined. Hampton became one of the stars of his organization, appearing in films with Goodman, at the famous 1938 Carnegie Hall concert, and nightly on the radio. In 1937, he started recording regularly as a leader for Victor with specially assembled all-star groups that formed a who's who of swing.
Lionel Hampton - Flying Home (1957)