Sunday, June 7, 2009

Egg Rolls and Egg Creams 2009: Part 2

The Klezmer Group performance was pretty lackluster. For the audio above I substituted Ziggy Elman's "Fralich in Swing," aka "And The Angels Sing"
About Ziggy Elman, one of the great trumpet players of the swing era.
Harry Aaron Finkelman birth: May 26, 1914, Philadelphia, PA death: June 26, 1968, father: Alek Finkelman, a candy store owner, part-time cantor, and klezmer violinist; later, a building contractor mother: Mina Finkelman heritage: Russian. His family settled in Atlantic City, NJ in 1918, where he attended school and learned to play trombone, clarinet, saxophone, and trumpet (!).

from an interview with Ziggy's son Martin:
"Oh, he could play almost every instrument," Martin reported. It would be with the trumpet, however, that he made a lasting place for himself in music."Trumpet," Martin repeated, "but he started out with a violin. His father wanted him to play the violin, but he didn't seem to be interested as much as the trumpet." Elman had his musicians' card by the time he was 15, and performed in Jewish wedding bands, various dance and jazz groups, and nightclubs. "He was a very shy person, so being up front was very hard for him," Martin continued. "He didn't seem comfortable being one-on-one with anybody. I remember him doing shows with Jerry Colonna, which were live at that point. And Jerry Colonna would bring him up front, and he seemed to be very shy." Elman preferred to speak through his horn. "Yes, correct," Martin said. Where did the name "Ziggy" come from? "I think he took it from Ziegfeld," Martin responded. Florenz Ziegfeld (1869–1932) was a Jewish-American impresario who created a series of theatrical spectaculars, called "the Ziegfeld Follies."Elman evidently enjoyed spending his breaks at work surrounded by chorus girls, so the moniker seemed to fit. As for the last name "Elman," it was a shortened version of Finkelman. In 1932, he joined Alex Bartha's band, which made some recordings for Victor, featuring him on trombone. Bartha's orchestra also was hired to play the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, where Elman began concentrating on trumpet. Elman's trumpet was joyous, unrestrained, and... loud. "Very loud, yeah," Martin agreed. His tone was clear and enunciated."It was very sharp. When I listen to the radio, I can pick it out," Martin said. And it caught Benny Goodman's attention. Goodman offered Elman a job in September 1936. Harry James joined Goodman in January 1937 and, with Elman and the third trumpeter, Chris Griffin, they became known for their collective ferocity and were nicknamed "The Biting Brass."

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