Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

David Fulmer's Jass

I recently finished Jass by David Fulmer. It’s a novel set in New Orleans during the 1920s. The protagonist is Valentin St. Cyr, half-Italian and half-Creole, but pretty much passing for white. At one time he was an officer on the New Orleans Police Department, but now he is a private detective. Mostly he works for Big Tom Anderson who has the section of N.O. known as Storyville under his thumb. Fulmer’s first novel, Chasing the Devil’s Tail, had Buddy Bolden, early jazzman, at its center. In this one the murder of four men who had once played in the same jass band are murdered and St. Cyr, with some slight urging from Jelly Roll Morton, set out to find the murderer. Meanwhile Valentin’s love life with the octoroon, Justine, has gone sour and soon she leaves him. When Anderson calls Valentin off and Lt. Picot of the police threatens him, he is more than ever eager to find the murderer. This is an excellent mystery novel set in the early days of jazz in New Orleans.

By circumstance, I recently had acquired a recording of Kid Ory, legendary New Orleans trombonist. He had his own jazz bands as well as playing and recording with King Oliver, Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five and the aforementioned Jelly Roll Morton. These recordings were made in 1922 and 1926, which I assume was approximately the time of Fulmer’s novels. (I know that I will be condemned as a heretic, but I never cared much for Armstrong’s horn nor his voice. But I must say he was playing a much cleaner trumpet in this recording than at later times.)

Anyway, I have high regards for this novel, both as a mystery and as a glimpse of life in the lower sections of New Orleans when jazz was just beginning. And if you like this early kind of traditional jazz or Dixieland (as it's now called)I can recommend the CD as well. It features Edward Kid Ory and is entitled Ory’s Creole Trombone. It on Living Era label and is CD AJA 5148.


Blogger Bill Crider said...

Ever read anything by Robert Skinner? Similar setting.

6:45 AM  
Blogger The Electric Horseman said...

Gosh, Mr. D.

This is "George"... one time work-study worker @ the library, and more importantly, racetracker extraordinaire.

Every time I go by your place I wonder if you're still there and still kicking.

I'd love to stop, but, uh, haven't been prepared, tactfully, for all possible results.

A million years ago I found your e-mail addy on the web, and wrote it down, and just yesterday discovered the paper again... and googled it... and here I am.

I don't know for sure how long it has been since we talked, but I don't suppose my updates would include much more than an added pile of track stories. The only variable to which is the size of the pile! I think about you every time I'm on the big road(s) nearby (which isn't THAT frequently).

Now that I have this effective "line in the sand" (of August 14, your most recent prior entry) I may be more bold in turning up.

Nice to know that you're here on the web, and I hope your life is still thriving in every way.

Hmmmmmmm, maybe I should just WRITE to the e-mail address and forget all of this posting.



12:22 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home