Advertising and Web Hosting on Woodwind.Org!

Klarinet Archive - Posting 000156.txt from 2008/10

From: "Harold Smith" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Moving away from Shep Fields to something really awful
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2008 22:34:46 -0400

Mark and All,

No doubt about it, Ted Lewis (a showman from the age of vaudeville) was unquestionably one of the worst clarinetists to be heard anywhere, any time, any place. However, in the late 20's and early 30's Lewis had a pretty good band, and made some great recordings with it. Included in his roster were players like "Fats" Waller on piano, Jack Teagarden on trombone, Mugsy Spanier on trumpet, and--believe it or not--Benny Goodman on clarinet. It's also to be noted that these guys were there for the recording sessions, and not regular members of the band.

In the mid 1910's Ted Lewis represented a rather prehistoric "hot" style of clarinet playing, which quickly (and happily) went out of vogue.

In his later years (1940's and 1950's) Lewis used the clarinet as a prop and rarely attempted to play.


-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Charette
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 9:23 PM
Subject: Re: [kl] Moving away from Shep Fields to something really awful

From Wikipedia ...

"The sounds as of a dog in his dying anguish are from Ted Lewis' clarinet"

Dan Leeson wrote:
> Now it is time to move on to something particularly bad. It was a band
> from the 30s and early 40s managed by a clarinet player named "Ted
> Lewis." He came out with a top hat and tipping it to the audience, he
> would say, "Is Everybody Happy???" I always thought that the
> Dixieland clarinetist Frank Teschmacher had the ugliest sound of
> anyone I ever heard until I heard Ted Lewis. Shep Fields was like the
> NY Philharmonic next to Ted Lewis' band.
> Dan Leeson
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Bill Hausmann"
> <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 6:43 PM
> Subject: Re: [kl] Shep Fields (formerly "The spelling of the word:"
> (formerly "The Boy Friend"))
>> At 04:33 PM 10/28/2008, you wrote:
>>> > This analysis plus the glorious one I did on "Shep Fields and His
>>> > Rippling
>>> > Rhythm" is without charge. In about a year when my book on the gran
>>> > Partitta is out, that will cost money. So read it for free here or
>>> pay > for
>>> > it in the future, at which point the young people of that era will
>>> > presume
>>> > that all of us were a bunch of idiots.
>>> >
>>> I have to say that the whole "Shep Fields" exchange has resulted in an
>>> unseemly amount of giggling on my part.
>> Have any of you ever heard Shep Fields' OTHER band? His "Rippling
>> Rhythm" band really was the stuff of jokes, but for a time in the
>> 40's, he ditched that sound and created an entirely different band,
>> Shep Fields and his New Music. It consisted of ALL woodwind players
>> plus rhythm (no brass) doubling on a total of 35 instruments from
>> piccolo to bass sax, even an alto flute, and TEN clarinets (plus 3
>> bass clarinets). They made some really nice sounds, but of course,
>> during the war, it was very difficult to find doubling musicians who
>> could play the challenging book (and yes, he did employ Sid Ceasar
>> for a while). Besides, no accounting for taste, folks kept clammering
>> for his old rippling rhythm sound, so he gave up his musical group in
>> 1947 and made a good living playing rickey-tick instead. According to
>> George P. Simon, long time Metronome magazine writer and editor, and
>> author of "The Big Bands":
>> "For Fields, who died in February, 1981, of a heart attack, his
>> fondest memories centered about that multi-reed band. With great
>> pride he noted that famed musical arranger and educator Joseph
>> Schillinger once described it as 'one of the most colorful bands ever
>> assembled. And for a guy who had sold corn almost all of his life,
>> that was certainly my biggest thrill!'"
>> (See? Fields was in on the joke. He KNEW it was corn, but it was
>> LUCRATIVE corn, sort of like Kenny G.)
>> Bill Hausmann
>> If you have to mic a saxophone, the rest of the band is TOO LOUD!



     Copyright © Woodwind.Org, Inc. All Rights Reserved    Privacy Policy    Contact