Sunday, April 4, 2010
I specifically did not mention any of the music of Clarence Williams in my last post, and similarly chose not to include the fabulous work of jazz tubist Cyrus St. Clair either. The pianist Clarence Williams is not a particularly well-known individual outside of the early jazz community and this is a shame, given that he contributed immensely to the development of musicians like James P. Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, Sidney Bechet (who, rather strangely, played sarrusophone in one of Williams' many bands), and others.
Anyway, Williams was perpetually reinventing his band with various incarnations on the same theme of "Clarence Williams and..." with the accompanying group being everything from the Blue Five, the Washboard Four, his Jug Band, or (my favorite) his Bottomland Orchestra. I intend to use the name Bottomland Orchestra when I form my own tuba-centric band. Williams was apparently a fan of the tuba, as it was nearly always included in the instrumentation. This was due, no doubt, to the unprecedented jazz tuba chops of Cyrus St. Clair. Some of Williams' best tunes for tuba include Candy Lips (a no-brainer), Red River Blues, and Black Snake Blues. Following those links will take you to discographies where you can listen to the tunes and discover your own favorites.
Also, Candy Lips would have been a good name for our 'all-girl' tuba quartet from last year.