Sunday, 25 February 2018

Tiny Parham born 25 February 1900

Hartzell Strathdene "Tiny" Parham (February 25, 1900 – April 4, 1943) was a Canadian-born American jazz bandleader and pianist of African-American descent. Some musicians are only known to specialized record collectors and music historians. Tiny Parham is one of those, now almost forgotten bandleaders from the 1920s that never became known to the public.

Parham was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada but grew up in Kansas City. He worked as a pianist at The Eblon Theatre being mentored by the ragtime pianist and composer James Scott. Parham developed as a skilled versatile bandleader, who toured through Mexico, Canada, Hawaii and Cuba and later with territory bands in the South-western United States before moving to Chicago in 1926. Here he played in venues like the Merry Garden Ballroom, The Lincoln Tavern and the Savoy Ballroom, great names in jazz. 

He is best remembered for the recordings he made in Chicago between 1927 and 1930 for Victor Records, as an accompanist for Johnny Dodds and several female blues singers as well as with his own band.  Most of the musicians Parham played with are not well known in their own right, though cornetist Punch Miller, banjoist Papa Charlie Jackson, saxophone player Junie Cobb and bassist Milt Hinton are exceptions. 

His entire recorded output for Victor is highly collected and appreciated as prime examples of late 1920s jazz. His style of jazz was comparable to the sophisticated style of Jelly Roll Morton. Parham favoured the violin and a number of his records have surprisingly sophisticated violin solos, along with the typical upfront tuba, horns and reeds. Parham wrote most, if not all, of his own material.
Parham's arrangements were often atmospheric, and such numbers as "The Head-Hunter's Dream," "Jogo Rhythm," "Blue Melody Blues," "Blue Island Blues," "Washboard Wiggles," and "Dixieland Doin's" were particularly memorable.

In 1930, like Jelly Roll Morton, Henry "Red" Allen, and King Oliver, Victor chose not to renew Parham's contact. After 1930, Parham found work in theatre houses, especially as an organist. He also played in a Chicago roller-skating rink in 1939 and 1940, which was the year he made his last three recordings.  
Parham died during a show on April 4, 1943 while in a dressing room at the Kilbourn Hotel in Milwaukee.

The cartoonist R. Crumb included a drawing of Parham in his classic 1982 collection of trading cards and later book "Early Jazz Greats". Parham was the only non-American born so included. The book also includes a bonus cd which has a Parham track. 
(Info compiled and edited from various sources, mainly from Wikipedia & Keep It Swinging Blog)


boppinbob said...

His entire recorded output fits on two compact discs, which you’ll find here:

1. The Head Hunter's Dream
2. Stuttering Blues
3. Clarice
4. Snake Eyes
5. Cuckoo Blues
6. Jogo Rhythm
7. Voodoo
8. Skag-A-Lag
9. Stompin' On Down
10. Blue Melody Blues
11. Tiny's Stomp (Oriental Blues)
12. Subway Sobs
13. That Kind Of Love
14. Blue Island Blues
15. Jungle Crawl
16. Lucky ''3-6-9''
17. Echo Blues
18. Alexander, Where's That Band
19. Voodoo
20. Tiny's Stomp (Oriental Blues)
21. Jim Jacksons Kansas City Blues
22. Washboard Wiggles
23. Pigs' Feet And Slaw
24. Bombay
25. Fat Man Blues
26. Golden Lily
27. Steel String Blues
28. Sud Buster's Dream
29. Dixieland Doin's
30. Cathedral Blues
31. Black Cat Moan
32. Doin' The Jug-Jug
33. Rock Bottom
34. Back To The Jungle
35. Nervous Tension
36. Memphis Mamie
37. Now That I've Found You
38. My Dreams
39. Down Yonder
40. Blue Moon Blues
41. Squeeze Me
42. After All I've Done For You
43. Cathedral Blues
44. Fat Man Blues
45. Frogtown Blues
46. Golden Lily
47. Moving Day
48. My Dreams
49. Spo De 0 Dee
50. Sud Busters Dream

A big thank you to Augusto @ Don’t Knock The Rock blog for active link

Mike Anderson said...

Bob, haven't been viewing for a while and really want to thank you for the Jimmy Wakely, what a nice collection of hard to find stuff!

Also a request: any chance you could report the Speedy West?

Take care and thanks again for your great blog!

Mike Anderson said...

Hi again, please ignore that request, seems I have all those songs on other collections of Speedy. :)

Pudge said...

Thanks Bob & Augusto For this great jazz.