Monday, July 03, 2006

Ben Bernie Orchestra

Being a Hit of the week collector I am fascinated by the kind of music that's on the records. Critics say, it's no jazz ! They're complete right; it is straight jazzy dance music, played from a stock arrangement and it has a steady swing. What more would you expect?

While listening to the records you try to imagine how the bands looked like and how it was played. No films with Hit of the week orchestras exist, nor images. We only have a 1930 drawing of a Durium band by Russell Patterson.
One of the first sound films was the Jazz Singer, I always learned, but ....

A few days ago Bruce ( member of 78-List) forwarded a link of an early sound film by the Ben Bernie Orchestra. It was made in 1925 and when I saw the film and heard the music I was fascinated by the similarity between this film and the drawing made by Russell Patterson, the artist that made the Durium orchestra used for several Durium covers or Hit of the week needle sacks.

Have a look for yourself.

Broadway Medley - Ben Bernie and his Orchestra (1925)

Did you found the director? He plays the violin like Bert Hirsch did lead the Hit of the week Orchestra. Did you find the piano? It's on the same place as in the cartoon. The tuba, banjo player and the drums moved over a bit, but the trumpet player and trombonists are present using hats to muffle the sound. There is a bass player on the film, ok - mind that it was impossible to record this instrument in those days. Did you notice the slightly tapping feet of the musicians and the relaxed way they perform? And mind the playing time of the medley ( more then 4-minutes) - longer then the average record plays.... Where did I heared this before? When you feel to reach the 3-minute border, a new extra chorus is if it was a so-called 5-minutes Hit of the wek record.

When I compare the personel of the Ben Bernie band in the mid-1920s only Bill Moore, trumpet player, has recorded for Durium in 1932. Did you count the members of the band. Isn't that cute?
Thanks Bruce for posting the link at the 78-L news list.


Anonymous Bruce said...

Thank you Hans, you are correct, the images are strikingly similar. I am very honored to be mentioned on your wonderful website, which has brought such enjoyment to collectors all over the world.

Best Regards Always,


July 03, 2006  
Anonymous Fredrik Tersmeden said...

There actually is at least one film of a band (or at least band leader) that recorded for Hit of The Week. British Pathé has a film showing the Vincent Lopez band arriving in London in the mid-1920s.

By the time Lopez made his HoW records I however think he had changed all of the musicians present in this film.


September 07, 2006  

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