"Frog" and Papa Jo
April 28, 2008 9:58 PM   Subscribe

Here's a wonderful, brief clip of the great tenor saxophonist Ben Webster (wiki) and the great drummer Papa Jo Jones (wiki). Both men were marvels: here's a little illustration from 1957 of what made Jones so great, and here's Ben (accompanied by pianist Teddy Wilson[wiki]) late in life, milking the ballad "Old Folks" for so much feeling that one literally sees tears running down his face.

But wait, there's more: this 5:00 minute clip of a 1964 solo by Jones is truly, truly remarkable, and this 6:00 minute clip of Webster in the UK w/a quartet of local musicians, is really nice.

Enjoy.
posted by ornate insect (15 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's some nice growling, courtesy of Mr. Webster. Note how Papa Jo kept a 2nd floor tom to his left, just behind the hi-hat. I think he might've been the first drummer to do that. It's never been terribly common, but there have been several drummers of note who've done that as well.

There was a drummer thread awhile back on MeFi, in which I recounted (in a comment) my own little personal experience with the great Papa Jo. It's kinda long, so I won't reprint it here, but rather just link to it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:20 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


thanks flapjax, looks like it's just you and I trading fours. oh well.

here's Ben w/Duke and some amazing lindy hoppers

and here's Ben again

And speaking of classic tenors, I should probably do a post on Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and Don Byas at some point. But my next music post is probably going to be on Roland Kirk. Cheers.
posted by ornate insect at 10:26 PM on April 28, 2008


Also note how Pap Jo played w/his hands for much of the first solo clip.
posted by ornate insect at 10:27 PM on April 28, 2008


I've loved Ben Webster for a while now, thanks for the videos. My favourite recording of his is 'My Romance', but the only youtube I could find of it is this rehearsal with pretty average quality. Still nice, though.
posted by twirlypen at 10:41 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Another great tenor player, Zoot Sims plays My Old Flame
posted by ornate insect at 10:51 PM on April 28, 2008


Man, he looked like he was having fun. Those are the performances I love best.
posted by katillathehun at 11:26 PM on April 28, 2008


...my next music post is probably going to be on Roland Kirk.

There may well be enough more to do a new Rahsaan post, ornate insect, but be sure you don't step into double territory!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:29 PM on April 28, 2008


Webster's tone quality was like something from an alternate universe, so unique and gorgeous; thank you for this
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:31 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man, it is so great to see these wonderful musicians whose sound I've loved for many years. Thanks, YouTube and ornate insect!

I can't listen to "C-Jam Blues" without thinking of that joke about the jazz musician in hell.
posted by languagehat at 6:12 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nice post!
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:04 AM on April 29, 2008


Jesus God could Papa Jo play. These clips are fucking brilliant. I love him on brushes best of all, though.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:23 AM on April 29, 2008


Great story, flapjax, by the way. Thanks. I'm a rock drummer mostly but I do like me some jazz and I do try to play it from time to time. That said, well, that's Papa Jo, there. And that's all there is to say about that.

Grady Tate plays some fine brushes too, actually.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:30 AM on April 29, 2008


British saxophonist Dick Charlesworth, who died this month, had a cantankerous old parrot called "Webster", named after who you'd think. When I was a kid, my family used to go on holiday to a small village in Spain where Charlesworth and his wife owned a really good restaurant/bar, with jazz constantly playing and Webster squawking in the corner.
posted by w0mbat at 9:46 PM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't listen to "C-Jam Blues" without thinking of that joke about the jazz musician in hell.
posted by languagehat at 9:12 AM on April 29 [1 favorite +] [!]

I'll bite - Google turned up nothing, and I don't know it. ???
posted by IAmBroom at 7:59 AM on April 30, 2008


Heh. I was wondering if anyone would bite. The reason Google doesn't know it is probably that it doesn't really work in writing, since it depends on vocalizing the riff. But I'll give it a try.

So this jazz musician dies and (as he rather expected) winds up in hell, being met by Satan himself. Satan greets him pleasantly and hands him a tenor sax—a really nice one, far better than the battered old pawnshop sax he'd been making do with for years—and leads him down a hallway, saying "I know you'll want to join the other guys in the jam session." With some trepidation, the musician asks, "Who else is there?" "Oh, everybody—Jelly Roll, Hawk, Basie, Bird..." The musician is getting excited, especially since he's starting to hear a killer version of "C-Jam Blues" filtering out from behind a door. "Man, this is hell? Glad I made it!" Satan smiles, opens the door, and ushers him into a huge room with great acoustics. He finds a place as the opening riff thunders around him:
DA-DA... DA-DA, DA-DA, DAAA DA! DA-DA... DA-DA, DA-DA, DAAA DA!
He places the sax to his lips and blows; the sound is gorgeous. He joins in:
DA-DA... DA-DA, DA-DA, DAAA DA! DA-DA... DA-DA, DA-DA, DAAA DA!
What a groove! He puts his whole heart and soul into it:
DA-DA... DA-DA, DA-DA, DAAA DA! DA-DA... DA-DA, DA-DA, DAAA DA!
DA-DA... DA-DA, DA-DA, DAAA DA! DA-DA... DA-DA, DA-DA, DAAA DA!
Several hours later, with the remaining shreds of his sanity he realizes that this indeed is hell, and he has an eternity of it ahead.
DA-DA... DA-DA, DA-DA, DAAA DA!
DA-DA... DA-DA, DA-DA, DAAA DA!
DA-DA... DA-DA, DA-DA, DAAA DA!
DA-DA... DA-DA, DA-DA, DAAA DA!
posted by languagehat at 10:39 AM on April 30, 2008


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