Trans. Status:

Interview and banjo lesson with George Guesnon, 1958 November 11

Higher Level Record: MSS 530.3
Call Number: MSS 530.3.36
Title: Interview and banjo lesson with George Guesnon, 1958 November 11
Creator: Guesnon, George, 1907-1968 (interviewee)
Russell, William, 1905-1992
Hillyer, Haywood, 1937-2010 (interviewer)
Date of Creation: 1958 November 11
Extent: 4 sound tape reel (129 min.) : analog, on original sound tape reel 340 and 499-501 of 704
on sound tape reel 386 and 549-551 of 818 (129 min.)
on side 202B and 294B-295B of 493 audio cassette (129 min.)
on tape 154 and 221-222 of 396 digital audio tape (129 min.)
1 WAV file (129 min.) : digital
Object Name: sound recordings
oral histories (document genres)
Collection Type: Oral Histories
Language: English
Biography/History: Composer and banjoist.
Born Russell William Wagner, Bill Russell (1905-1992) was an American music historian, collector, musician, and modernist composer. He was an authority on early New Orleans-style jazz, and the founder of American Music Records.
Haywood Hillyer (1937-2010) was a New Orleans Attorney who served as a member of the Republican National Committee. He was also a fan of New Orleans jazz who studied the banjo with George Guesnon in 1958.
Scope and Content: This recording was made by William Russell on November 11, 1958 and includes a banjo lesson given by George Guesnon to Haywood Hillyer. The banjo lesson features instruction and practice on chords and tempo. The student practices "Summertime," "I Took My Baby Home," "I Scream Ice Cream," and "Clarinet Marmalade." During the course of the interview Guesnon discusses his time spent working in New York. He recalls his friendship with Jelly Roll Morton, and reflects on the murder of Morton's landlady Mayme Wright. He reflects on his time spent working as a shoeshine boy in the Storyville district of New Orleans, relating anecdotes about a series of pimps and other characters from the district. He discusses the business recording industry, and recalls a legal fight to get paid when another artist published a work that he had previously recorded. He discusss the life and career of Manuel Perez. He discusses the talent of Louis Armstrong, and expresses his opinion that Armstrong should retire at the peak of his career. He discusses his temper and his pride, noting that at times they have caused problems. He also relates his views on race. The last portion of the recording, possibly a recording of a radio broadcast, features an unidentified band playing three pieces of music including "King [Party] Stomp," "Mama's Gone Goodbye," and "Mahogany Hall Stomp."
Notes: Interview and banjo lesson with George Guesnon, 1958 November 11, William Russell Oral History Collection Series, MSS530, William Russell Jazz Collection, The Williams Research Center, The Historic New Orleans Collection.
Restrictions: Open. Records are available for research.
Performing rights for music in this collection are reserved by the copyright holders of record.
Requesting: Please provide the reference staff with the manuscript call number.
Collection Theme(s): Jazz
Subjects: Montgomery, Little Brother, 1906-1985 -- More information
Purnell, Alton, 1911-1987 -- More information
Darensbourg, Joe, 1906-1985 -- More information
Perez, Manuel, 1871-1946 -- More information
Morton, Jelly Roll, 1890-1941 -- More information
Armstrong, Louis, 1901-1971 -- More information
New Orleans (La.)
Storyville District (New Orleans, La.)
New York (N.Y.)
Banjo -- Instruction and study
Sound recording industry.
Race relations.
Accession Number: 92-48-L.291
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