Friday, February 14, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Johnny Dunn

Artist:Johnny Dunn
Song:Ham and Eggs
Album:Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order Vol. 2 (1922-1928)

Johnny Dunn is a now forgotten cornetist who had a major impact on the early development of jazz. A lot of jazz legends went through his band. The 1928 song Ham and Eggs was written by Jelly Roll Morton and he also plays piano on the song. Unfortunately, Dunn did not adjust well to changes in jazz spurred by Louis Armstrong and Dunn moved to Europe and died in 1937. He was born Feb. 19, 1897 in Memphis. While attending Fisk University in Nashville, Dunn led his own band in Memphis and was discovered by W.C. Handy. He joined Handy's band in 1917 and stayed for three years. Dunn played cornet with a staccato style, used double time breaks and was a pioneer in the use of mutes. in 1920, he joined Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds. When he left in 1922, he started The Original Jazz Hounds featuring singer Edith Wilson who would later play Aunt Jemima in radio commercials. They had a show called The Plantation Revue which played on Broadway and London. When Dunn returned to New York, he played in Fletcher Henderson's band. But he always returned to Europe as he seemed to enjoy playing to those audiences. When Louis Armstrong became popular in the mid-20s, Dunn stayed in Europe because he didn't want to change his playing style and he liked it there anyway. But in 1928, he returned to New York to record for Columbia. Ham and Eggs was one of the six sides. It features Jelly Roll Morton on piano and Morton wrote the song. Other songs feature James P. Johnson or Fats Waller on piano. The rest of the band was Gavin Bushell on clarinet and alto sax, Herb Flemming on trombone, John Mitchell on banjo and Mort Perry on drums. All these recordings are on this CD from the Austrian label RST. These were Dunn's final recordings as a leader. He returned to Europe to play with The Noble Sissel Orchestra. He lived in the Netherlands and then Denmark and died of tuberculosis in Paris on Aug. 20, 1937 at age 40. Here's a video of Ham and Eggs by Johnny Dunn.

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