Last of the Bluedevils (4/6)





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Uploaded on Sep 16, 2011

"Before attaining his majority Lester was recruited by the barnstorming Oklahoma City Blue Devils, the scourge of every band in the Southwest. The Blue Devils thrived on battles of the bands. Their reed section smothered rivals under an overwhelming torrent of sound. They were masters of the riff style. Each section bristled with solo talent. They had taken on and beaten the best bands from Kansas City, even Bennie Moten. Had not the Depression intervened, no other band could have touched them. Beginning in 1930 one star after another had left the blue Devils—Basie, Lips Page, Walter Page, Eddie Durham, Jimmy Rushing—all of them to seek employment in Pendergast's Depression-proof Kansas City."

"Buster Smith's troop began in Dallas before relocating and gaining fame as the Oklahoma City Blue Devils. This legendary group included Walter Page on Bass, the Influential Lester Young on tenor saxophone, blues shouter Jimmy Rushing, and the great Bill 'Count' Basie on the piano."

"Many of the musicians at the two gatherings that make up the film were once associated with the Oklahoma City Blue Devils, a powerfully rolling unit started by bassist Walter Page in the 1920s. It was the first big band Count Basie had ever been in. Other alumni have included Lester Young, Jo Jones, Jimmy Rushing, and Buster Smith. Page took the name of the band from the intrepid barbed-wire cutters during the range wars between farmers and cattlemen."

'Fence wars' began breaking out in 1882-1883. Many times individuals and even organizations of fence cutters with monikers such as the Owls, Blue Devils and Javelinas, cut miles of fence on the midnight rides."

"Ellison grew up in Oklahoma City, the home-base of the influential territory band, the Oklahoma City Blue Devils; he was also a close personal friend of Jimmy Rushing, the band's vocalist, and a regular at their performances and jam sessions. Anchored by the bassist Walter Page, the trumpeter Oran "Hot Lips" Page, Rushing, and the tenor saxophonist Lester Young, the Blue Devils effectively merged with Bennie.

(extract from Wikipedia 2011)


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