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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bennie Moten Part 1............

Bennie Moten

Bennie Moten (November 13, 1894 – April 2, 1935) was a noted American jazz pianist and band leader born in Kansas City, Missouri.

He led the Kansas City Orchestra, the most important of the itinerant, blues-based orchestras active in the Midwest in the 1920s, and helped to develop the riffing style that would come to define many of the 1930s Big Bands.

His first recordings were made (for OKeh Records) in 1923, and were rather stiff interpretations of the New Orleans style of King Oliver and others. They also showed the influence of the Ragtime that was still popular in the area. His OKeh sides (recorded 1923-1925) are some of the more valuable acoustic jazz 78's of the era and continue to be treasured records in many serious jazz collections.

They next recorded in 1926 for Victor Records in New Jersey, and were influenced by the more sophisticate style of Fletcher Henderson, but more often than not featured a hard stomp beat that was extremely popular. Moten remained one of Victor's most popular orchestras through 1930.

By 1928 Moten's piano was showing some Boogie Woogie influences, but the real revolution came in 1929 when he recruited Count Basie, Walter Page and Oran 'Hot Lips' Page. Walter Page's walking bass lines gave the music an entirely new feel compared to the 2/4 tuba of his predecessor Vernon Page, coloured by Basie's understated, syncopated piano fills.
Their final session (10 recordings made December 13, 1932, during a time of significant hard-ship for the band) showed the early stages of what would become know as the "Basie sound"; four years before Basie would record under his own name. By this time Ben Webster and Jimmy Rushing had joined Moten's band, but Moten himself does not play on these sessions. 

After Moten's death in 1935 after an unsuccessful tonsillectomy, Basie took many of the leading musicians from the band to form his own orchestra.

Moten's popular 1928 recording of "South" (V-38021) stayed in Victor's catalog over the years (reissued as 24893 in 1935 as Victor phased out any remaining V-38000 series that were still in the catalog) and became a big jukebox hit in the late 1940s (by then, reissued as 44-0004). It remained in print (as a vinyl 45) until RCA stopping making vinyl records!

So here's part 1...............

As I like it 5-14-1925
As long as I love you (Jeanette) Voc. =Jimmy Rushing 10-30-1930
Baby Dear 11-29-1924
Baby Dear 6-11-1927
Band box shuffle 10-23-1929
Boot it (Milenberg joys) 10-24-1929
Bouncin' around 10-31-1930
Crawdad blues 9-1923
Dear heart 7-11-1927
Ding-dong blues 6-12-1927
Elephant wobble 9-1923
Every day blues (yo yo blues) 10-23-1929
Get going (get ready to love) 10-30-1930
Get low down blues (With talking by Lewis) 9-7-1928
Goofy dust 11-29-1924
Harmony blues 12-13-1926
Here comes Marjorie 10-28-1930
Hot water blues 9-7-1928
I wanna be around my baby all the time Voc. =Jimmy Rushing 4-15-1931
I wish I could be blue 10-28-1930
Imagination Voc.=Sterling Russell Trio 12-13-1932
It won't be long 7-17-1929
It's hard to laugh or smile  9-7-1928
Justrite 9-6-1928
Just say it's me 7-18-1929
Kansas City breakdown 9-7-1928
Kansas City shuffle 12-13-1926
Kansas City squabble 7-16-1929
Kater Street rag 5-14-1925
The Blue Room 12-13-1932
The Count 10-28-1930
The Jones Law stomp 10-23-1929


  1. I love the photos, especially the middle one.

  2. I liked it, too. I had to get back to some band lists :) I've been posting so much newer stuff, I was missing it.

  3. But where are the Supremes?

    AHHHHH ...... MotEn!!

    (jk ...)

    I am taking a loan of these too, B, as there are a few I don't recognise (though I have five albums of BM! :--O )

    Thanks again!