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Snapshot -2 from the Melody Maker (1950)...
The "Melody Maker" was the leading weekly music paper and the clips below from April and May give an essence of the jazz scene of the day. Bebop, (new, or modern music as some called it), was the main musical talking point... more from the Melody Maker...... Records of 1950...
Melody Maker April 22, 1950
"I climb down, bop and jive are here to stay"
(So said) Wimbledon Palais proprieter Archie Shenburn who announced a few months ago that he was finished with bop and modern music generally, and intended to concentrate wholly on strict tempo, has publicly retracted this decision.
He is reverting immediately to a modern music policy, with special sessions of bop by the professions leading exponents.
The sensational new Kenny Graham Afro-Cubists, whose debut last Monday is reviewed in this issue, (right) has already been snapped up by Mr. Shenburn, and starts at Wimbledon Palais next Monday (24th).
In addition, plans are afoot to sign up (engagements permitting) the Johnny Dankworth Seven - at first for special sessions only. These include Sunday afternoons entirely devoted to bop and starting on April 30th. Also, Tuesday night at the Palais will be "Bop City Night".
3,000 fewer
Discussing his abrupt change of plan , Mr Shenburn gave the following frank statement to the MELODY MAKER:
"Only a few months ago I decided, for various reasons, on a policy of having fewer patrons and no bop or modern music. The emphasis here is on the word fewer. I did not realsise when I took that decision that it was going to cost me at least 3,000 customers per week."
"Frankly, I cannot afford it. Not being a philanthropist or millionaire, I cannot indulge my musical whims in such an expensive manner."
Melody Maker April 29, 1950
Practical indications of the immediate carrying into effect of the new Wimbledon Palais bop policy, as announced last week by proprietor Archie Shenburn, include - apart from the regular engagement of the Kenny Graham group - the booking of the 16-piece Leon Roy Orchestra.
Leon will appear this Sunday (30th) and the following Tuesday (May 2nd). Announcements are also made of various other plans in a vigorous policy which puts the accent very much on modern music... An oufit which puts in an appearence on sunday May 7th is the Russ Shepherd group from the Bop House, Blackfen.
Asked about his intention to engage one or two of the nationally famous modern music groups, in addition to Kenny Graham, Mr Shenburn stated:
"I have conscientously tried to do this - but it seems that I did an unwise thing when I announced my intention of booking the top bop outfits. Tentative approaches have resulted in the demanding of what seem to me like astronomical fees for making short occasional appearances at the Palais."
"I was under the impression that this kind of music, as yet unpopular among the masses in this country, was played by it's exponents in a spirit of idealism, and that they found it hard to find somewhere in which to put it over successfully."
"And yet when they are offered the chance to play their own music and get paid a reasonable rate - certainly more than the average dance band - for doing so, they immediately hold a pistol to my head and make extortionate Demands. It is all very puzzling."

Melody Maker April 22, 1950
In his Afro-Cubists, tenorman Kenny Graham has a group which is original, musical and jumping, and which looks like being a good commercial proposition. The outfit's debut at Sutton on Monday (17th) caused much talk among other musicians present and met with a tumultuos reception from the suburban audience.
Trumpeter Jo Hunter was apparently very nervous at the outset, and his playing consequently suffered. By the fourth number he had gained more confidence and the ensembles (between him and Kenny) ran more smoothly.
Apart from Kenny, who has a pleasant and winning stage manner, in addition to playing tenor sax, I thought pianist Jack Honeyborne and bongo player Billy Olu Shalanke to be particularly worthy of mention.
The five other members of the rhythm section playing drums, congo drum, bass, maraccas, cowbell etc, played their part in providing an exciting backing to the ensembles and solos.
Arrangements, all written by Kenny, were very good; especially those on "Boom", "Take the A Train" and "Snuggle Bug", a Graham original. A bop flavour was evident throughout, but was in no way predominant. A unique finale was provided by de Falla's "Ritual Fire Dance" complete with fire-eating by Billy Shalanke.
(Mike Nevard)
Melody Maker May 6, 1950
Playing with fire
Letter to the Melody Maker...
What is the jazz business coming to? From the National Press and your own excellent journal I have learned with considerable disgust that a tenor player of the admittedly high calibre of Kenny Graham has stooped to the level of circus tricks by introducing a fire eater into his band.
This makes my traditionalist's heart grow cold with disgust. Let this new kind of music that he is purveying stand or fall by itself. Maybe there is a reason for a fire eater, but for the life of me I cannot think what it is.
Carole Manley)
Melody Maker April 22, 1950
Wot! No Bop!
Asks Leslie Douglas
I have been completely floored on the commencement of my tour by letters, 'phone calls and conversations with various ballroom managements throughout the country, who ask for an assurance from me that bop will not be included in my dance programme. This is a sweeping demand and if I obey it to the letter it will detract from the value of my programme. I have not got a bop band and, on the other hand, I have not gone completely Dixie either. But I have gathered a group of versatile musicians capable of playing to a universal public.
When we do feature the modern stuff, it is not just a matter of trumpet, tenor and alto "taking over", while the rest of the band get in a couple of hands of Gin Rummy; we try to present in a palatable fashion, even resorting to funny hats in an effort to give everyone their moneysworth, but the fun is in strict tempo and even the local dancing pro has been seen to smile, er - in tempo of course....

Incorporating "Rhythm"
Editor: Pat Brand

Melody Maker May 20, 1950
A new weekly BBC series of entirely "uncontrolled" dance music will take the air on May 30 (7 till 7.30 Home). Entitled "Meet the Band" it is designed as a showcase for Britains' leading orchestras, including Ted Heath, Geraldo and Joe Loss. Ted Heath is first with a programme titled "Holiday for Swing".
"Uncontrolled" means that each bandleader will be able to play exactly what he likes, in his own style, with no restrictions whatever and no necessity for drawing inspiration from the current "Hit Parade".
Melody Maker April / May, 1950
Classified ads... Clubs (9d per word)
Most clubs listed were "one-off" events in pubs but the Feldman Swing Club at 100 Oxford Street, W.1. presented top names, although not always jazz top names, as the ads below show...
Sunday 9th: A contingent of the Vic Lewis Band, Ronnie Chamberlain, Peter Coleman, "Weed" MacDonald, Arthur Greenslade, Also; Kenny Baker, Keith Bird, etc: Harry Klein Quartet, Maurice Burman. Everybody welcome: Members 3/6, guests 5/-, yearly membership 5/-.
Sunday 23rd: Three band session: Aubrey Frank's successful sextet. Henry Shaw, Duggie Cooper, Harry Klein: The Eddie Thompson Quartet, the new John Cowley 8-piece Boptet, Maurice Burman. All nice people welcome: Members 3/6, guests 5/-, yearly membership 5/-.
Sunday 30th: Ronnie Ball Sextet, Toni Anton's 20-piece band, 6 saxes, 4 Trombs, 5 Trumps, 5 Rhythm, Maurice Burman. 3/6, guests 5/-, yearly membership 5/-.
. Sunday May 7th: Toni Anton's 20-piece band, Eddie Clavert, his Trumpet and his Latin-American Band, Vic Feldman Quartet, Famous American guest artist. Maurice Burman. Bring your parents: Members 3/6, guests 5/-, yearly membership 5/-.
Sunday 14th: Aubrey Frank's Sextet, famous Malcolm Mitchell Trio, Maurice Burman. Bring your grandparents. (Next week Geraldo and his Orchestra) Members 3/6, guests 5/-, yearly membership 5/-.
Sunday 21st: Geraldo and his Orchestra (evening dress optional). This gig is to celebrate Maurice Burman's recovery from the illness which forced him to leave Geraldo's Orchestra almost exactly four years ago. Geraldo is taking his entire band to the club. This grand gesture promises to provide one of the biggest nights in the history of the club, of which Maurice is a co-partner. Members 3/6, guests 5/-, yearly membership 5/-.
Sunday May 28th: Leon Roy and his Band, Russ Allen Trio, Eddie Calvert and his Rumba Band, Maurice Burman. Members 3/6, guests 5/-, yearly membership 5/-.
A regular feature in the MM was the WHO'S WHERE listing that gave advance notice of upcomong band gigs. Invariably the majority of these were for one night dance hall bookings and regulars on the listing with a jazz slant included the Tito Burns Sextet, Johnny Dankworth 7, Vic Lewis Orchestra, Leon Roy Orchestra and Kathy Stobart. It was not unusual for these bands to play seven nights a week in different locations.

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