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Monday, 29 July 2013

Don Redman born 29 July 1900

Donald Matthew Redman (July 29, 1900 – November 30, 1964) was an American jazz musician, arranger, and composer known as “The Little Giant of Jazz”, Redman was born in Piedmont, West Virginia. His father was a music teacher, his mother was a singer. Don began playing the trumpet at the age of 3, joined his first band at 6 and by age 12 he was proficient on all wind instruments ranging from trumpet to oboe as well as piano. He studied at Storer's College in Harper's Ferry and at the Boston Conservatory, then joined Billy Page's Broadway Syncopaters in New York City.

In 1922 Don Redman joined the Fletcher Henderson orchestra, mostly playing clarinet and saxophones. He soon began assisting in writing arrangements, and Redman did much to formulate the sound that was to become big band Swing. His importance in the formulation of arranged hot jazz can not be overstated; a chief trademark of Redman's arrangements was that he harmonized melody lines and pseudo-solos within separate sections; for example, clarinet, sax, or brass trios. He played these sections off each other, having one section punctuate the figures of another, or moving the melody around different orchestral sections and soloists. His use of this technique was sophisticated, highly innovative, and formed the basis of much big band jazz writing in the following decades.

In 1927 Jean Goldkette convinced Redman to join the Detroit,
ichigan-based band McKinney's Cotton Pickers as their Musical

Director and Leader. He was responsible for their great success and arranged about half of their music (splitting the arranging duties with John Nesbitt through 1931). Redman was occasionally featured as their vocalist, displaying his charming, humorous vocal style.
Redman then formed his own band in 1931 (featuring, for a time, Fletcher Henderson's younger brother Horace on piano), which got a residency at the famous Manhattan jazz club Connie's Inn. Redman's band got a recording contract with Brunswick Records and a series of radio broadcasts. Redman and his orchestra also provided music for the animated short I Heard, part of the Betty Boop series produced by Fleischer Studios and distributed by Paramount. Redman composed original music for the short, which was released on September 1, 1933.

Below is one of the first songs recorded by Don Redman and and his brand new Orchestra. He recorded 3 takes of 'Shakin' the Africann', first on Sep 24, 1931, released on Brunswick 01244, then 2 more on Oct 15, 1931, takes 'A' and 'B'. Both 'A' and 'B' were released on Brunswick 6211, this being the 'A' take.


The Brunswick records Redman made between 1931-1934 were some of the most complex pre-swing hot jazz arrangements. Not just relying on a driving rhythm or great solists, but an overall level of arranging sophistication that's unlike anyone else of the period.Notable musicians in Redman's band included Sidney De Paris, trumpet, Edward Inge, clarinet, and singer Harlan Lattimore, who was known as "The Colored Bing Crosby". On the side Redman also did arrangements for other band leaders and musicians, including Paul Whiteman, Isham Jones, and Bing Crosby.

In 1933, he made a Vitaphone short film for Warner Bros. (See Video below.) Redman recorded for Brunswick Records through 1934. He did a number of sides for ARC in 1936 (issued on their Vocalion, Perfect, Melotone, etc.) and in 1937, he pioneered a series of swing re-arrangements of old classic pop tunes for the Variety label. His use of a swinging vocal group (called "The Swing Choir") was very modern and even today, a bit usual, with Redman's sophisticated counter-point melodies. He signed with Bluebird in 1938 and recorded with them until 1940, when he disbanded and concentrated on freelance work writing arrangements. Some of his arrangements became hits for Jimmy Dorsey, Count Basie, and Harry James.

In 1946 he led an all-star orchestra that became the first band to visit postwar Europe, and eventually became Pearl Bailey's musical director. Don Redman had a musical television show on the CBS Television network for the 1949 season. In the early 1960s he played piano for the Georgia Minstrels Concert and soprano sax with Eubie Blake & Noble Sissle's band.

Don Redman died in New York City on November 30, 1964. (Info edited from Wikipedia)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

Go here for Don Redman's Living Era CD "Doin' What I Please"

01.Sugar Foot Stomp [02:55]
02.The Henderson Stomp [02:54]
03.Hot Mustard [02:42]
04.Whiteman Stomp [02:50]
05.Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You [03:26]
06.Miss Hannah [03:02]
07.Rocky Road [03:02]
08.Cherry [03:10]
09.Paducah [03:00]
10.That’s How I Feel Today [03:03]
11.Beau Koo Jack [03:05]
12.Save It Pretty Mama [03:24]
13.Shakin’ The African [02:52]
14.Chant Of The Weed [03:16]
15.How’m I Doin’ (Hey, Hey!) [02:55]
16.Hot And Anxious [02:51]
17.I Got Rhythm [03:10]
18.Doin’ What I Please [02:52]
19.Nagasaki [03:05]
20.Sophisticated Lady [02:48]
21.Got The Jitters [02:57]
22.Bugle Call Rag [02:44]
23.Swingin’ With The Fat Man [02:56]
24.Sweet Sue, Just You [02:25]
25.Sweet Leilani [02:35]