Sunday, October 05, 2008

Bugle Jazz

It's been proven by example that you can play jazz on just about any instrument. But as far as I know, there has only been one person who played jazz on the bugle. That's right, "an Army regulation bugle." He was known as "Buglin' Sam" Dukemel. He was born Mathew Antoine Desire' Dekemel on January 15, 1903 in New Orleans. Dekemel used his bugle to hawk waffles from a cart on the streets on NOLA. He died on January 6, 1967.

[....mmmm, street waffles...]

In essence, a bugle is a trumpet without the valves, so it's got an extremely limited note pallet:
In converting some of my LPs to mp3s via my USB turntable, I came across an album I had forgotten about; a recording of a 1954 Dixieland Jubilee. In addition to Dekemel, it features musicians like Johnny St. Cyr, a member of Louis Armstrong's early ensembles.
Here's Dekemel's introduction to his feature.
And here's Bugle Call Rag.
By bending the series of available notes, especially the E natural (flatted 3rd in the key of C), Dekemel is able to expand beyond the obvious.
It's amazing what you can find in your own collection!