Jazz Recommendation: Bunk Johnson Playing "Franklin Street Blues"

March 14, 2018

We recently mentioned traditional jazz clarinetist George Lewis in a jazz recommendation for "Burgundy Street Blues", and this jazz recommendation probably includes Lewis. However, traditional jazz trumpeter Bunk Johnson is also featured on the recording. 


Bunk Johnson was never as famous as George Lewis because Johnson died in 1949, only a few years after the New Orleans traditional jazz revival began. George Lewis lived for nearly twenty more years and during those years made television broadcasts and went on tour around the world. 


However, Bunk Johnson was just as good a musician in the New Orleans jazz scene and got a clear-cut sound out of his trumpet that makes him clearly recognizable in recordings he made with George Lewis and other New Orleans jazz musicians. 


For the "Franklin Street Blues" recording, Johnson (trumpet), we assume Lewis (clarinet), and Alton Purnell (piano) all take solos. The solos are divided up, with one chorus for Lewis on which he plays a few phrases very similar to "Burgundy Street Blues", one chorus for pianist Purnell, one chorus for trumpeter Johnson, and then some ensemble playing.


One thing noticeable about this recording in particular, but is also true with nearly all traditional jazz recordings and concerts, is how joyous the musicians sound. This is clearest during the ensemble playing.




It should also be noted the YouTube user (the username is Clive Dellino) who posted this recording has also posted many other New Orleans Jazz recordings, particularly ones related to the British New Orleans jazz scene. Below is a link to his YouTube posting collection, which includes recordings of music by famous traditional jazz musicians such as King Oliver and Bunk Johnson, along with many other New Orleans jazz bands.




Bunk Johnson plays "Franklin Street Blues" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJFXQSIsc8M

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