Jabbo Smith day in Milwaukee

From Chris Albertson's liner notes for Hot Jazz In The Twenties (Biograph BCD 151 & 152):

"In 1961, when I was working for Riverside Records, someone in Milwaukee sent us two reels of tape containing a recent live performance by Jabbo Smith. We were amazed, because -for reasons to which I can find no logic- we assumed that Jabbo had long been dead. In an era of stereo LPs, FM, jet aircraft, post-bop, and nuclear power, Jabbo's 78 rpm discs seemed downright historical, and he -though actually still in his fifties- was, in our minds, "legendary". The truth was that Jabbo had worked and appeared as a sideman on relatively obscure recording sessions during the Thirties, and remained active into the Fifties. The 1961 tapes captured a "comeback" concert sponsored by the Milwaukee Jazz Society, but it failed to get Jabbo into the national spotlight. They were crudely recorded, but Jabbo's work was still impressive. Bil Grauer, the force behind Riverside, was delighted and wanted to see Jabbo continue his career on the label, but that project somehow fell through, so Jabbo Smith remained a local Wisconsin attraction for another 20 years, or so."

To my knowledge, those tapes were never published but other "hidden treasures" from that same year did finally see the light of day: the June 3 and October 15, 1961 recording sessions promoted by guitarist Marty Grosz (Jazz Art TR520699 & TR520700).

Being a Milwaukee resident for several decades, Jabbo Smith got quite a few hommages in his adoptive hometown. In June 1977, he was honored as "a living jazz immortal" at the 4th annual Unlimited Jazz Ltd. Festival on the Memorial Center promenade. The music was provided by some local jazz musicians, and Jabbo refused to play. "How's the lip?," someone asked. "You know," Jabbo shrugged, smiling.

This article was published in the Milwaukee Sentinel on June 27, 1977:

2 comentarios:

  1. The rumors of Jabbo's death are documented, after a fashion, in the liner notes to the 1961 Ida Cox Riverside session, which (of course) our friend and role model Chris Albertson produced: from memory, I hear Roy Eldridge, Sammy Price, and Jo Jones arguing about whether Jabbo was dead or in Milwaukee. To jump forward, I saw Jabbo -- as a very shadowy presence -- at the Newport in New York "Hall of Fame" concert, which was packed with all the stars in the jazz firmament: Bobby Hackett, Vic Dickenson, Barney Bigard, Earl Hines, Teddy Wilson, Milt Hinton, Red Norvo, Jo Jones (with Oliver Jackson as a second-string support) . . . Jabbo was supposed to join Bobby, Vic, Teddy, Milt, and Jo on a slow blues -- he lurked around in back of them but no sound came out of his horn. Whether he held it up to his lips I don't even remember, although I remember the glorious music that was made while he was silent. John Hammond was the master of ceremonies . . . thirty-five years ago and everyone on that bill has died. Alas. Thanks for the delightful information! Michael Steinman

  2. Agustin:he tenido oportunidad de escuchar los"tesoros escondidos" y la conclusion que sacas es que contrariamente a lo que afirman demasiadas biografias,Jabbo no habia abandonado totalmente la musica para dedicarse a otros afanes mas lucrativos.Las grabaciones del 61 no lo muestran como lo que era en aquellas grabaciones de VOCALION de 33 años antes que prentendian competir con LOUIS ARMSTRONG pero tocaba bien.No es lo mismo lo que ocurre 15 o 20 años despues con la comedia musical ONE MORE TIME que fue un pretendido"redescubrimiento"de JABBO a quien muchos suponian muerto.Steimann seguramente se refiere a esta ultima epoca.Saludos .