Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Clarence Profit born 26 June 1912

Clarence Profit (June 26, 1912 – October 22, 1944) was a jazz pianist and composer associated with swing. His premature death has led to him being somewhat obscure in jazz history books although he was rated quite high during his lifetime. He was born, and died, in New York City.
A very talented swing pianist, Clarence Profit passed away just before the bop era officially began so one does not know for sure how he would have adjusted his style during the next few years.  He came from a musical family, his father being Herman Profit who was a professional pianist and his cousin Sinclair Mills was also a pianist. 

Clarence began studying piano at the age of three and was a child prodigy, broadcasting while still at school. He then plays for the radio with saxophonist Edgar SAMPSON and works with his orchestra in several New York residences such as " Bamboo Inn ", " Renaissance " and " Alhambra ". 

 In 1930 and 1931 he was a member of " Teddy Bunn's Washboard Serenaders ".  In the early 1930s he visited his grandparents in Antigua and then spent two years in West India where he directed an octet.  He then played in Bermuda and St Kitts.  In November 1936 he returned to New York and formed a trio that played in the most famous clubs, including the " George's Tavern " (1937-39), the " Ritz Carlton " of Boston (1938), the " Yeah Man Club" And the " Café Society " (1939), the " Village Vanguard " (1940), the " Kelly's Stable " (1940-43), the " Performer's and Music Club " (1942) and again the " Village Vanguard " in 1944.

The Clarence Profit Trio (1937 – 1944) recorded only a dozen or so sides in 1939 and 1940 with his regular group (featuring either Billy Moore or Jimmy Shirley on guitar and bassist Ben Brown), displaying an advanced swing style and a bit of stride. It was an eclectic, versatile group which played well-rehearsed, somewhat
Profit with James VanDerZee
prim arrangements, featuring Profit’s elegant finely textured piano and guitarist Billy Moore’s curious amalgam of Hawaiian guitar and Django Reinhardt.
Their recordings were somewhat more commercially oriented than their club appearances. But at its best – the earlier recordings provide a glimpse of this pioneer trio (along with the Nat Cole Trio) became one of the earliest models for dozens of similar groups flourishing in the 40’s. Profit was co-composer with Edgar Sampson of "Lullaby In Rhythm."
Tragically, illness exacerbated by self-neglect took him out at the age of 32 in October 1944, abruptly terminating a standing engagement at the Village Vanguard and preventing him from playing a more sustained active role in the rapid rise of early modern jazz. 
 (Info scarce but compiled and edited from AllMusic, Wikipedia, Swing FM & The Swing Era: The Development of Jazz 1930 – 1945 by Gunther Schuller) 

Harold Randolph, kazoo / Clarence Profit, piano / Teddy Bunn, guitar / Bruce Johnson, washboard, vocals


boppinbob said...

For “Clarence Profit” Memoir Classics compilation (1994) go here:


1. Don't Leave Me
2. There'll Be Some Changes Made
3. I Got Rhythm
4. Down Home
5. Tropical Nights
6. Tea for Two
7. Body and Soul
8. The Blues
9. Body and Soul
10. Body and Soul
11. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
12. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
13. Dark Eyes
14. Times Square Blues
15. Hot and Bothered
16. Azure
17. Kazoo Moan
18. Washboards Get Together
19. In the Middle of a Kiss
20. Every Little Moment

Memoir's 20-track salute to pianist and composer Clarence Profit brings together his Brunswick, Columbia, and Decca trio recordings from 1939-1940, topped with four early examples of his work with two washboard-driven ensembles. Most of Profit's compositions are represented here: an original take on "The Blues"; "Don't Leave Me," "Down Home," "Tropical Nights" (apparently informed by several years spent gigging in the West Indies), and his "Times Square Blues." The absence of his most often-covered tune, "Lullaby in Rhythm," co-composed with longtime friend Edgar Sampson, indicates that like Fats Waller (who died at the age of 39), Profit didn't live long enough to record everything he wrote. While not much is known about his bass player, guitarist Billy Moore recorded with Slam Stewart in 1939, and Jimmy Shirley may be heard on records cut in 1940-1941 by vocalist Creole George Guesnon, trumpeter Theodore Wingy Carpenter, and clarinetist Artie Shaw. The final four tracks on this collection differ markedly from the early modern sophistication of the trio sides, especially the scruffily bracing 1930 recordings "Kazoo Moan" (featuring the rasping, throaty kazoo of Harold Randolf), and "Washboards Get Together," a showcase for the scat singing and rambunctious persona of washboard virtuoso Bruce Johnson. A thorough survey of Profit's recordings as pianist for these rub-board groups would entail no less than 47 selections by the Washboard Serenaders, the Georgia Washboard Stompers, the Alabama Washboard Stompers, and the Washboard Rhythm Kings. Virtually all of those sides have been systematically reissued by the Collector's Classics label. As it stands, Memoir's Clarence Profit collection stands as this artist's only retrospective in the digital format. (AllMusic)

slr in tx said...

Thanks, Bob! This looks very promising.

Георгий Белый said...

Your blog is beautiful!

I also love the music of this time.
Amazing tunes and wonderful musicians.
Many thanks to you for these publications.

Welcome to my blogs!
I recommend becoming a regular reader of this blog.
Be sure to list my blog in the list of your favorite blogs!




boppinbob said...

Thanks for the links Georgy and yes I have included you in my Blog Roll.
Regards, Bob