Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for July 9th, 2017

The bucket mutes

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You know where the bucket mutes came from? Bean cans. Sauerkraut cans. Any kind of can that we saw that was usable, we’d take them and fix them. The gallon pails, those buckets that they sold lard and syrup in, we used ’em. When you’d walk in an average club that had a band, you’d think you were looking in the garbage dump, because they were using all kinds of cans for mutes. Some smart guy walked in and watched them use these cans, and he took a pencil and paper and drew them and made them and sold them back to us, five, six, eight, ten dollars. We used derbies people had thrown away. And then instead of the derby hat, they made tin hats. When I recorded with Fats Waller I had a tin hat, but I took one of my old felt hats and cut the crown out, and stuck it in there to make it mellow. It was too brassy with just the tin. We used water glasses, cuspidors, everything, because everyone was looking for a different sound.

Herman Autrey, quoted by Bill Crow in Jazz Anecdotes

Written by nevalalee

July 9, 2017 at 7:30 am

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