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 Dixieland arrangements?
Author: Steve Becraft 
Date:   2017-02-03 08:06

A friend of mine asked if I might be able to recommend some Dixieland/New Orleans arrangements. The horns would be Trumpet, Trombone, and Sax (not sure of Alto or Tenor). This is not my area of expertise, so I am turning to the wonders of the internet bulletin board! I imagine some of you out there might have a suggestion or two?



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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2017-02-03 10:18

Hal Leonard has some dixie packs that are pretty well arranged.

But honestly, the best thing to do would be to put on a dixie tune, and learn it by ear. The main themes and bridges are pretty easy and not very wild. And then start to embelish a little here and there.

Alexi

Small Group Leader
US Army School of Music NCO Academy


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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: ned 
Date:   2017-02-03 12:57



''...the best thing to do would be to put on a dixie tune, and learn it by ear...''

This IS jazz,essentially.

''...dixie packs that are pretty well arranged...''

This is NOT jazz, in a nutshell

What the hell are ''dixie packs'' anyway? Some pages of dots handed out to would-be jazz players? If you don't play it from the heart, it's not jazz. If you don't make it up as you go, it's not jazz.

I guess a dixie pack would enable a group of musos to, sort of, sound like a jazz band, without actually being a jazz band.



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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: MarlboroughMan 
Date:   2017-02-03 18:53

I'm with ned. The whole suggestion of published arrangement sickens me. It's not jazz, and not an adequate representation of what the music is, as practiced and handed down through the generations.

Eric

******************************
The Jazz Clarinet
http://thejazzclarinet.blogspot.com/

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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: Steve Becraft 
Date:   2017-02-03 19:13

Thank you for your input...

I appreciate sfalexi's reply as this is exactly what I am looking for. Something like jazz "fake books," with the head/chorus/chord changes. Knowing a publisher/title helps narrow it down a little.

The friend who asked is an occasional saxophonist just for fun, and I expect his bandmates could be the same ("We are putting together a band for a fund raiser"). Could be school parents, could be some co-workers from the computer consulting world, I don't really know.

I will let him know there are varying recommendations on how he should proceed.

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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-02-03 21:37

Steve:
I have a fake book, I'll gladly give it to you if you pay for the shipping. It's called "The Ultimate Fake Book with over 1200 Songs" by Hal-Leonard for Bb instrument.
Send me an email if interested. I do UPS out of my business and will let you know how shipping cost.

~Robert L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage, Lig: Ishimori, Reed: Aria 4, Legere Euro Signature 3.75

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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2017-02-04 00:38

It's not very helpful to tell everyone to play everything by ear all at once. If it were possible for them to do this with reasonable effort, they wouldn't ask. They may simply want to play for some particular occasion. There is nothing wrong with that. Maybe some little kid will hear, go out and buy a copy of the Hot Fives and be a pro when he grows up.

Every musician I have ever known uses charts, fakebooks, and transcriptions. When you tell someone that the only way to learn jazz is exclusively by ear, you are just being snobby. Ellington and the rest of the big band composers wrote out their arrangements, they even had professional arrangers - Billy Strayhorn. If someone is asking for an arrangement, transcription, or advice regarding playing a tune they are asking for help, not smart comments. It shows humility in asking for help, and a desire to learn. This should be rewarded with a good will effort to respond helpfully. It might be helpful to give them some pointers like, "Practice broken arpeggios over the chords." or "Listen to this tune about 1,000 times when you get the chance."

Wynton Marsalis is a great example of someone who loves the music and encourages everyone to learn. Victor Goines was very kind to me when I approached him.

- Matthew Simington


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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: MarlboroughMan 
Date:   2017-02-04 01:35

Matthew,

There's a huge difference between New Orleans style and Duke Ellington charts (or Fletcher Henderson charts, or Larry Elgart charts for that matter). Likewise, there is also a major difference between working from lead sheets or working from arrangements. The OP didn't mention lead sheets, so I was responding to the notion of playing New Orleans style from *arrangements* (with the frightening notion that such things might actually exists our there commercially). I think it's a terrible idea, and does damage to the artform, IMO, if people go out and misrepresent the music that way. I don't care if, by some crazy bit of luck, a kid stumbles on the Hot Fives because of it. More likely that kid will not be interested at all, as it will bear no resemblance to real jazz.

Since you brought up Wynton Marsalis, if you think he's all sunshine and rainbows, or always a positive cheerleader, you should check out some of his more scathing put downs of those playing what he doesn't consider to be jazz, and his opinion that calling just anything 'jazz' harms the profession.

Never did I say everything has to be played by ear. Working from lead sheets is fine, IMO, though not ideal. But the players better have an idea of how those lead sheets should be used.

If that's not encouraging enough for you, think of someone asking for simplified Brahms arrangements, because they can't handle the real thing...it's pretty much the same problem. I think the best reaction is to say play something at your ability level rather than manging something over your head.

[ footnote: as for being encouraging, I hope I'm always encouraging to everyone wanting to play or listen to this remarkable music--and I think you'd find me a pretty approachable guy if you showed up to one of my gigs. But really, this was a specific question for which there was no encouraging answer. It's a matter of respecting the music. ]

Eric

******************************
The Jazz Clarinet
http://thejazzclarinet.blogspot.com/

Post Edited (2017-02-04 03:14)

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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: Wes 
Date:   2017-02-04 03:27

The "Real Book" publications are very good, but not dixieland arrangements as such. They are collections of lead sheets published for C, Bb, Eb, bass clef, and vocals. They are valuable for those of us who do not know every tune and it's chord changes, and often set the agenda for "real book jam sessions". They can be played in a dixieland style. I'll play at one of those sessions next week. The books are sold on Amazon.

The late Zep Meisner published "dixieland" arrangements which worked pretty well. Zep had a discount music store in Burbank for years and also played his clarinet and alto saxophone at the "Cockatoo" restaurant in Hawthorne, CA, also for years. He played well and could play dixieland as needed, but his arrangements may not be published now. One could search the internet for information.

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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: Burt 2017
Date:   2017-02-04 04:34

Obviously I'm not as accomplished as Ned or MarlboroughMan, so I like to play from arrangements. I second sfalexi's recommendation of Hal Leonard ComboPaks, and also recommend Zep Meissner's book. Both have arranged choruses and sections open for solos, so it gives me the chance to grow my capability. With a little re-arranging, they can be played by only 5 winds and no rhythm section.

For using fake books, I prefer 1 or 2 winds plus a rhythm section.



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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: ned 
Date:   2017-02-04 05:16

**Steve Becraft wrote: ‘’…The friend who asked is an occasional saxophonist just for fun, and I expect his bandmates could be the same ("We are putting together a band for a fund raiser")…’’

An admirable project I suspect, ‘’and just for fun’’ is OK, but you can’t expect the jazz fraternity to take it seriously. I’m a jazz player (only), I wouldn’t expect the classical fraternity to take ME seriously if I were to attempt even the simplest of classical pieces. I doubt that a classical player can do the reverse simply by swapping to a ‘’jazz’’ mouthpiece, a harder reed and some notes printed on a page and expect to sound authentic. By all means go ahead with the project, but, it’s not real jazz.
***************************************************************************

**Matt 74 wrote: ‘’…It's not very helpful to tell everyone to play everything by ear all at once. If it were possible for them to do this with reasonable effort, they wouldn't ask. They may simply want to play for some particular occasion. There is nothing wrong with that….’’

See my remarks in response to Steve Becraft

**‘’…Every musician I have ever known uses charts, fakebooks, and transcriptions…’’

Hardly anyone I know uses these, but I don’t decry their use in getting the melody right.

**‘’…When you tell someone that the only way to learn jazz is exclusively by ear, you are just being snobby. …’’

‘’Snobby’’(ouch!)wow getting a trifle personal I think. I’m not sure that learning only by ear exclusively is what is being proposed. There heaps of other threads regarding the playing of ‘’dixieland’’ you could go to, for more opinions.

**‘’…Ellington and the rest of the big band composers wrote out their arrangements,…’’

This is correct, although I believe that Basie relied more on head arrangements, rather than dots. That notwithstanding, these big band arrangements had many spaces (written?) in to enable real improvisation (jazz).

**‘’…It shows humility in asking for help, and a desire to learn….’’

Yep sure does, and frank and fearless advice is what should be offered, not some placid deferral in order to just ‘’be nice’’ . Check out the advice offered by some the classical players who post here, if you want to see frank and fearless advice.

**‘’…"Practice broken arpeggios over the chords." or "Listen to this tune about 1,000 times when you get the chance."…’’’’

Yep these things would work but I assume this would be obvious to any player who knows how to competently operate his instrument. I don't know that the ''1,000 times'' would be necessary.
*****************************************************************************

Eric wrote: ‘’…If that's not encouraging enough for you, think of someone asking for simplified Brahms arrangements, because they can't handle the real thing…’’

I agree, and see my first comment.



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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2017-02-04 08:05

Eric and Ned, I don't like to be personal as you say. It does bother me when someone asks a perfectly natural question and gets attacked. Basically, you said that they have no buisness playing a dixieland chart, and that to do so is somehow deeply offensive. "Musos"? "Sick"? That's unnecessary. It's just some guys playing music. Maybe they will play it well, and it will make people happy. That doesn't take anything away from anyone. How often does the average Joe hear anything remotely like New Orleans Jazz live at all? Maybe you get to play it everyday, and had great people to learn from. These guys that Steve is talking about obviously don't.

"Muskrat Ramble" all written out and a bit square isn't going to kill anyone (even if you think you are going to die).

One can make musical distinctions without judging the person. I would not mind someone playing simplified Brahms. I am subjected to terrible mindless "music" blaring everywhere I go. At least it would have a melody.

- Matthew Simington


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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: ned 
Date:   2017-02-04 09:06

Matt74 wrote: ''...Basically, you said that they have no buisness playing a dixieland chart,...'''

Basically, you are incorrect in your assumption Matt. I did not say or imply anything remotely like what you said, just now.

If I was not clear earlier I will say this - a dixieland chart (following all the dots) is not jazz. It can be enjoyable and listenable to most people - but it is not jazz.

I'm not in the business of offending folks, but misconceptions abound as to what IS jazz and what is NOT.

as for ''..."Musos"? "Sick"? That's unnecessary...'', I'm unsure what point you are trying to make with this. I didn't use the word sick, and having a scroll upwards, I don't think anyone else did either.

''..."Muskrat Ramble" all written out and a bit square isn't going to kill anyone (even if you think you are going to die)...''

Gosh, you ARE thin skinned and fairly defensive. Perhaps you are quite young and have not suffered many downturns in life yet? I don't think any one is going to ''die'' for having heard an amateur version of Muskrat Ramble. Your hyperbole in describing such a reaction seems just a tad...well...immature.



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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: MarlboroughMan 
Date:   2017-02-04 18:24

Matthew:

Based on your comments regarding both New Orleans style jazz and Brahms, you don't strike me as someone serious about music. I'm a professional jazz musician who has sacrificed quite a bit to continue playing and promoting this music. I'm friendly to everyone who comes to my gigs, and genuinely happy when people show interest. Because of this, I want to encourage everyone to hear and experience what this remarkable artform truly has to offer--and I oppose anything that harms the scene by bad imitation.

I don't like Shakespeare 'translated' into contemporary English, I would never want to hear simplified Brahms, I don't want to hear the Middle School wind ensemble arrangement of the Adagietto from Mahler 5, I don't drink alcohol-free beer, I don't eat Velveeta, I don't live in 'virtual' reality, and I don't want to hear or play 'arrangements' of New Orleans Jazz. That's not being a snob, it's just wanting a real life.

I can't tell you how many times I've had people come up to me after gigs saying "I always thought I hated clarinet, but didn't know it could sound like that..." or "I never thought I'd like jazz, but what you do is different, and I like it!" Seriously--this happens frequently, made all the more astonishing that we have a very good Trad Jazz scene here in Cleveland, with many dedicated and talented, regularly performing professionals. One of the major problems, of course, are misconceptions created by poor musicians doing a terrible job and calling it "Dixieland" or "jazz" at all. And I'm not saying that happens much in Cleveland, but in a broader cultural sense. It's particularly discouraging here in the US, where the level of cultural ignorance is worse, in some cases, than in places like Europe or Asia, concerning our own music.

The OP didn't seem offended by my comments. You might want to save your moral indignation for something else. Those of us who are trying to raise cultural standards, and who have goals beyond just guys "having fun" might have opinions worthy of consideration, after all.

Eric

******************************
The Jazz Clarinet
http://thejazzclarinet.blogspot.com/

Post Edited (2017-02-04 18:53)

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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2017-02-04 20:29

This whole argument seems silly to me. The Bob Crosby orchestra used charts. Does anyone here really want to say they didn't play real jazz...or couldn't play New Orleans jazz? Irving Fazola, Eddie Miller...not jazz musicians at all - really?! The Fat Babies currently use charts too. Thrift set orchestra...uses charts. Hmmm...what about Bix Biederbeck's band? King Oliver? (Listen to Deep Henderson and tell me that it isn't a chart). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY38jAo7Wwc Yeah, I'm sure all those perfectly arrange voice parts coming in at the exact moment needed...was all spontaneous, right? No doubled fifths, thirds, or roots - and all at the exact right time in syncopation. No planning ahead, right? Perhaps King Oliver isn't playing "true" trad jazz either?! Wonder about Vince Giordano and his Nighthawks?! Yep - charts...all the way down to the transcribed solos. For what it's worth - it's all jazz to my ears.

Having said all of that...I do believe you can normally tell a reading band from a non reading band unless the musicians in the band are only using the printed music in order to fit some pre-designed idea (and yes, I classify Deep Henderson by King Oliver as jazz, and I consider King Oliver's entire band to be "Jazz Musicians.")

A band of classical players reading dixie charts still sounds more "jazzy" than a band of classical players playing Mozart. I've seen dozens of videos where a group of eager folks have played dixie charts to very receptive, happy audience in public areas. Who's to say the little children dancing and giggling with the fun music aren't now beginning a life-long passion for dixieland music as a result? I don't understand this hostility towards the idea of a group of people playing dixie from charts. Would I do it? No - not now that I don't need to. Would I stop and listen to classical players playing off dixie charts - probably not...at least not for long. However, I wouldn't start telling people in the crowd that "This isn't real dixieland! This isn't real jazz!"

If you want to encourage people to paint...you don't criticize beginning painters by telling them that they aren't REAL painters. Even if someone is painting by numbers - what difference does it make to you?! Why would you want to interject negativity into those showing a want/desire to share in something you love and are proficient at?

I'm with Matthew Simington on this one. The OP asked for helpful suggestions about printed dixie music, not for reprimands about personal beliefs pertaining to classifications of what is and is not jazz.

My personal love for dixie began by hearing it, then by reading (gasp) dixie arrangements...then to ear, etc. Please don't hate on folks who are just getting started. I think it would help jazz's cause much more if we were inclusive and encouraging to those just beginning the journey. It doesn't make sense to attack folks who are showing an interest. I don't think you'll ever have to worry about these "chart-reader's" CD/Digi-Pac sales beating yours in the market...so again, I don't understand the aggressiveness of the responses.

Yes, if someone asked my opinion about "What's the best way to learn to play trad jazz?" I'd definitely tell them that "by ear" is the best way to go...but I never saw that question asked in this thread.

Ned and Eric: You keep referring to the OPs request for "jazz" as your justification(s) for protecting the honor of jazz. However, the OP never even referred to the type of charts he was looking for as "jazz."

Respectfully,
Fuzzy



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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: MarlboroughMan 
Date:   2017-02-04 21:28

Interesting post, fuzzy. Here's my response to some of your points:

"The Bob Crosby orchestra used charts. Does anyone here really want to say they didn't play real jazz..."

Actually, a whole lot of people at the time objected, and I for one really can't stand listening to groups like this (or Tommy Dorsey's Clambake Seven) when you have great jazz groups out there who were recording simultaneously (like Sidney Bechet's New Orleans Feetwarmers or Benny Goodman's small groups).

[edit: there is a difference of course between the Bobcats and the Bob Crosby Orchestra--I would have to go back and listen, but the Bobcats seemed to work real NOLA style...and do it well. But that was a 'band within a band' concept]

"...or couldn't play New Orleans jazz? Irving Fazola, Eddie Miller...not jazz musicians at all - really?!"

According to some accounts (like Pete Fountain's autobiography, if I remember correctly), Faz really hated commercialized music so much that he returned to NOLA, preferring to play in strip clubs for bad pay rather than sell out any longer. Pete made the same decision after playing with Welk--and took Eddie Miller with him, who was also sick of playing commercialized non-jazz, with only limited chances to play the real thing. I would never say Faz and Eddie Miller weren't jazz musicians. I have tons of respect for them both. There's a difference between having to get a paycheck and doing what you love, though, and those two you picked are not strong examples of your argument...they're actually arguments for my side of the debate.


"Hmmm...what about Bix Biederbeck's band?"

Bix couldn't read music. If you listen closely to the arrangements, you can tell they weren't written out. On a masterpiece like "Singin' the Blues" for instance, after Bix's solo, when the band comes back in, everything is beautifully tentative. Now that's not to say other tunes they did weren't planned out--they obviously were, but there is a big difference between what Bix did vs the Bob Crosby Orch.

"King Oliver?"

I we're talking about the Creole Jazz Orchestra, Barney Bigard wrote in his autobiography that he knew for a fact that Johnny Dodds couldn't read a note of music. And anyhow, one doesn't have to be able to read music to play the way he did--listen to Bechet, whose accompaniment figurations were as good or better than Dodds, and who also never learned how to read music. I'm not saying reading is a detriment...only that your point is historically wrong: those men couldn't have been reading charts, as they didn't know how to read.

"Yeah, I'm sure all those perfectly arrange voice parts coming in at the exact moment needed...was all spontaneous, right? No doubled fifths, thirds, or roots - and all at the exact right time in syncopation. No planning ahead, right?"

"Deep Henderson" is a different thing. Obviously written out arrangement. but it would never be referred to as "Dixieland" or NOLA style, which is what this thread is about.

Anyhow, who said "no planning ahead"?? OF COURSE there is planning ahead. For Bix, Bechet, and Dodds every bit as much as for those who use charts. And maybe the human ear, when developed, is better than you think. You should have more respect for Dodds, Bix, and Bechet now.

"Wonder about Vince Giordano and his Nighthawks?! Yep - charts...all the way down to the transcribed solos."

If I'm not mistaken, the Nighthawks specialize in '20s and early '30s dance music...bands like many all over the country during that era (Joe Haymes on the New Jersey circuit, Austin Wylie here in Cleveland, the Halfway House Orchestra in NOLA), many of which weren't considered "jazz bands" per se (or even allowed to be by the restaurants they worked in), and which featured very little actual jazz soloing even in their time. Of course he works from charts, because THEY did. They weren't playing New Orleans style jazz, which is *what this post was about*. Though I wouldn't speak for Vince Giordano, I spent time talking to Don Vappie of NOLA when he was starting up his bands in the '90s, and one of the reasons for transcribed solos and parts for ensembles like this can be due to the difficulty of finding professionals who know the style well enough. It's not ideal. But once again, we're not even talking about New Orleans style, which is what we were asked to respond to, and what I've bothered doing.

"For what it's worth - it's all jazz to my ears."

Not to me. I wouldn't call written out solos jazz at all. Different band leaders in different markets have certain niches they are filling, though, and not all of them fall under the purview of this discussion.


"Please don't hate on folks who are just getting started. I think it would help jazz's cause much more if we were inclusive and encouraging to those just beginning the journey. It doesn't make sense to attack folks who are showing an interest."

Hate? Attack? Please...I gave an opinion. It can be taken or left.

My original response was very short. I said something like the notion of arranged charts for NOLA style jazz sickens me. It does. I didn't attack anyone or say you're not allowed to do it, or we'll send jackbooted thugs to burn your charts. Do what you want. But realize too there are others of us out there, working hard, and more than ready to encourage you and show you other ways of really doing justice to the music (and its history). And we might not always respect the shortcuts you try to take.

Now my hope is that, at the very least, some folks reading have learned some history and will check out some of the bands mentioned above, to hear for themselves.


Eric

******************************
The Jazz Clarinet
http://thejazzclarinet.blogspot.com/

Post Edited (2017-02-04 21:59)

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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: MarlboroughMan 
Date:   2017-02-04 21:48

edited above.

******************************
The Jazz Clarinet
http://thejazzclarinet.blogspot.com/

Post Edited (2017-02-04 21:51)

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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: MarlboroughMan 
Date:   2017-02-04 22:14

For the record, if anyone posted here asking "Hey, I'd like some big band jazz charts, can anyone give suggestions"...I wouldn't have any problem with it at all. Some of you seem to be missing the point that the OP was specifically referencing New Orleans style. Dragging Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Bob Crosby's Orchestra, or others into the discussion isn't really helpful.

It just occurred to me that perhaps you don't know the difference? If so, then maybe we need to back up and discuss the differences of how these bands and styles developed. I'd be willing.

Eric

******************************
The Jazz Clarinet
http://thejazzclarinet.blogspot.com/

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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: Matt74 
Date:   2017-02-04 22:24

I actually kind of agree with you, even about the arrangement thing. I agree 100% about valuing Jazz as an art form, as well as the cultural climate.

Speaking strictly of myself, and no one else but myself, at one time I was downright puritannical about Jazz. I took it so seriously, and was so hard on myself that as result I quit playing. It was impossible for me to come up to my own expectations. As I see now, art would have been better served with a mediocre Matthew than a silent one! I wasn't bad, I just wasn't the luminous genius I expected. It's impossible to make up for all those years now that I play again.

The best compliment I ever got was after I quit. About a year or so after I left music school I went into a coffee shop that had opened up near my home. Some kids from the high school had a jazz combo going, and I spoke with one of them. I told them that I had done the same thing. He then recognized me from when we played at the middleschool while he was there. He was visibly excited, and told me that I was the reason he got into Jazz. He was totally sincere. These guys were just copying us (this was before the internet - and before "Jazz Education" became a big thing.). It was all the more striking because the same thing happened to me. My first musical inspiration was an 8th grade saxophonist, when I was in 7th grade. We became best friends in high school. The first "Jazz" I listened to was Linda Ronstadt and Nelson Riddle! Gasp! Not exactly 52nd street, but I got it figured out. You have to start somewhere.

Ok, so maybe Dixieland arrangements will lead to too many people wearing seersucker suits and straw hats and playing banjos. At least it's music, and it's not a guitar, and he's not playing "Stairway", or "Mopey Inde-Coffee-College", or "Haight Ashbury Rekindled". I guess I'm looking at the bigger picture. Even mediocre band music is band music. It might even be a good arrangement. The saxophone dudes might take up clarinet and do the real thing.

It reminds me of Pat Metheny flaming Kenny G. I never got that. As serious as I was about becoming the next Cannonball Adderly, I thought Kenny G was great. "Silouhette" was the first example of good saxophone playing I ever really listened to as a kid. He's a great R&B / Smooth Jazz player. If only I could play a melody like him. The name "Smooth Jazz" may be unfortunate, but Kenny G wasn't running around like some kind of hipster with a goatee channeling Roland Kirk. He made no claims. Pat Metheny is crazy talented, he's got nothing to worry about. He sells lots of records, and can play with anyone he wants. Kenny G is not a threat. Pat is a little too Rock n' Roll for me. Why can't he do his thing and let Kenny G do his?

I don't mind if you take it more seriously than I do. I just think that there is a broader challenge. Our contemporary culture is so poor musically. If 5 guys are in front of people playing horns at all it's a win, and if they want to play a dixieland arrangement I'm all for it. I've never had the opportunity to play New Orleans style.

- Matthew Simington


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 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2017-02-04 23:07

Eric,

Thanks for your thoughtful response - and much of what you said in rebuttal is true, but doesn't actual dispute what I stated. For instance, it is known that Bix didn't read - yet he made arrangements. "Head" arrangements are still arrangements. Planning ahead is arranging. The argument then becomes one of whether a musician using notes on a page is inferior to a musician learning by rote or by ear. Which manner is most efficient? We have the luxury in modern society of hearing recorded music any time we want - and of having hundreds of thousands of "known" tunes on which to base our ideas and opinions. In the early 1900s, there was no such luxury. Many of these tunes were new, "jazz" exploded onto the scene, and the quickest way to imitate jazz was to collect classically-trained musicians and arrange music for them. Jazz historian, and trad jazz trombone extraordinaire, David Sager would have something to add to the discussion, as he teaches that most of the first wave of jazz musicians were classically trained, and were, indeed readers.

Folks like Ed Polcer (ref Eddie Condon's) doesn't know how to read, nor does he know chord changes per se. (He stated this during a class I had with him.) However, Jon Eric Kelso can. They're both jazz musicians - and both can play trad/dixie/New Orleans style with the best of them.

Most of the comments I made were about the purist comments regarding "jazz" in general. The statements made by others in this post were NOT solely limited to Dixieland or New Orleans (though that is what the original OP asked about). The conversation became much more broad, and my comments addressed those opinions as well.

I know many of the members of the current bands quite well (whether trad/dixie/New Orleans/ or dance). Whether Vince Giordano's band is "Jazz" or not - I guess we'll disagree. Every one of the players in his bands are top-notch jazz players though - Jon Eric Kelso, Jim Fryer, Dan Levinson, etc. It doesn't "sound" like they're reading.

Again, what you say about Bob Crosby is true, but it doesn't disprove my point. The Bob Crosby band is even a favorite of such musicians as Tim Laughlin and Connie Jones...I'll side with their taste in "jazz." (Connie played with Jack Teagarden - another person I would say played "jazz".)

Etc.

...and yes - telling someone that what they're doing isn't "real" is an attack of sorts. It is a belittling of that person based solely on a self-assumed opinion. It is different if the person asks you for that input - then it would be a kind answer. The question wasn't asked though.

The problem with categorizing New Orleans music is that New Orleans has every type of music. The problem with categorizing Dixieland music, is that the definition means something different to nearly each individual asked. Is it straw hats and striped suites, or is it Tuba Skinny and Shotgun Jazz band? (I know how you and I would answer this question.) I've talked with many of today's top musicians in trad jazz about this categorization of jazz. Most (if not all) are annoyed with the concept that they must be boxed into this tiny definition of "trad" or "dixie" - as they don't see themselves defined by the narrow confines of that singular genre. What about Pete Fountain? He was a New Orleans style clarinetist. He was a dixieland player. He was a jazz musician. He was a pop musician. He was a musician. (full stop) What about the jug bands? What about the string bands? Professional historians have differing views on what New Orleans jazz is, when it started, and etc. Again - David Sager has some great presentations about this topic.

Many of the current musicians have created trad/dixie/New Orleans arrangements - some even have sold such arrangements to be used in movies, etc. This is 100% trad music created in the heart of New Orleans...being played by the top dixie/trad players in New Orleans. Yet, if you ask these musicians to play one of those tunes live - you'll find that the answer is: "I can't - the others don't know the tune - it is my arrangement, so they don't know it."

I feel that your cordial and well-thought-out responses don't necessarily prove my statements incorrect, but rather, help to display that what we're talking about isn't so easy to define - and that mere "opinion" provides a lion's share of the arguments presented.

As far as being concerned that I don't know the difference, or that we need to discuss how the bands / style developed...I appreciate the sincere offer, as I always love talking about this stuff. I've studied/played for a very long time, and have a neat library covering a wide range of trad...I've spent countless hours in the libraries and audio archives researching this topic, and I've attended seminars by some of the greatest trad jazz scholars alive today. I personally play this music every day. There's always something I learn, and so I enjoy such conversations - perhaps we could do something offline via e-mail and bring it back here if we stumble across something that would appeal to the board in general?

Respectfully,
Fuzzy

PS: Matthew S: Your response popped up as I was typing this - "The first "Jazz" I listened to was Linda Ronstadt and Nelson Riddle! Gasp!" Hahahahaha! That's great! Thanks for your thoughtful contributions to this post...and for Ned - search for the word, "sickens" in the above posts - it's up there.

EDIT: PPS: Eric - When I say, "Library" - I mean books - not music. I have valiantly been trying to learn to read music again in the past two years because the church I belong to has asked me to play specific parts. So, while I don't consider myself a great reader - I was classically trained, only knew how to read - then changed entirely to ear - and now am trying to relearn how to read. If it's any consolation to the purists out there - I'm learning to read C parts so that I don't mess up my trad/jazz lead sheet ability. Also - I feel your memory on Pete's Autobiography isn't quite right (as you had admitted). I have Pete's Auto as well as Lawrence's. ;^)>>>



Post Edited (2017-02-04 23:33)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: MarlboroughMan 
Date:   2017-02-04 23:14

????

Pat Metheny, Kenny G, seersucker suits...sorry man. That has nothing to do with my points made above. The OP was about New Orleans style.

And as someone who works in the profession, I have a different (and dare say deeper, more informed) perspective on the 'broader issue'. I'm not impressed with the lowest common denominator solutions I've heard for decades, and which you're advocating here.

As for opportunity...well, that's something you have find and work for, as well as take advantage of when it presents itself.

But that's not a conversation for this thread.

******************************
The Jazz Clarinet
http://thejazzclarinet.blogspot.com/

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2017-02-04 23:39

Eric,

I do hate to disagree with you: "Pat Metheny, Kenny G, seersucker suits...sorry man. That has nothing to do with my points made above."

Earlier the points were made by ned:

"...This IS jazz,essentially."

"...This is NOT jazz, in a nutshell"

To which you responded:
"I'm with ned."

In my mind this is where the confusion in the thread began. The statements referred to jazz in the broad range, and weren't limited to Dixieland/New Orleans/et al.

Fuzzy

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: MarlboroughMan 
Date:   2017-02-05 00:37

Fuzzy,

Anyone who had read my second post in this thread would have noted the clarification...and I've been reiterating that clarification ever since. Anyhow the OP was about a specific kind of jazz.

Take it easy guys--I'm not interested in quibbling or correcting the straw men or misdirections. I'm glad we share a passion for the music, and have shared what I thought helpful.


Eric

******************************
The Jazz Clarinet
http://thejazzclarinet.blogspot.com/

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2017-02-05 00:46

"Take it easy guys..." ?????

I pointed out where I thought the confusion started. I offered to correspond with you pertaining to a shared love of the style of music (an offer which still stands). I agreed with your rebuttals to my post...I'm not sure how much easier I could take it.

Well, cheers anyway,
Fuzzy

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: MarlboroughMan 
Date:   2017-02-05 01:06

No worries Fuzzy--there are time constraints on my end. From where I come from, "take it easy" means, simply "talk to you some other time." Admittedly I'm a bit frustrated with the dialogue to this point, but understand the difficulties. Keep swinging gents! You've given me some ideas I can hopefully bulld upon at another time! Thanks...


Eric

******************************
The Jazz Clarinet
http://thejazzclarinet.blogspot.com/

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2017-02-05 01:15

Eric -

No problem. The offer to correspond (now or future) still stands though. We can throw this current conversation out and start new - whatever you like....as time permits.

Take care...and as Pete would say, "Keep Tootin'!"

Fuzzy

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2017-02-05 07:57

I can see why Eric chimed in on this one because New Orleans Jazz is a living tradition that keeps coming back in new form with each successive generation. Lovers of this continuing and vital tradition can easily be driven by their passions to deliver monumental spontaneous lectures on it. I started to deliver one myself, but stopped, lest this post go on for 10 or 20 pages.

I live around the corner from where the Colored Waif's Home once stood (today 800 Rosedale Dr.) where Louis Armstrong learned to play the cornet. That's just a few yards from the Holt Cemetery and Buddy Bolden Place, where Buddy Bolden is buried. I went to high school 2 blocks from Pete Fountain's high school (Warren Easton), where he was surrounded by classical players who tried to teach him solfeggio and sight reading, but he always preferred not to bother with it. At Fountain's funeral in St. Louis Cathedral, Larry Welk, Lawrence Welk's son, humorously recalled that his father hoped Pete would eventually just "pick up" the art of reading music so he could read the stuff the sax section was playing, but he never did. Pete was a fine jazz tenor sax player himself, but always by played ear. That was his choice and what came natural to him. It served his musical purposes and made him the most famous and sought after jazz clarinetist in the trad jazz/swing idiom for several decades.

Even with this background, immersed in New Orleans jazz, I find I know very little about it and always have to make an effort to keep up. A few weeks ago I took a bus tour with local historian John McCuster (author of the well-researched jazz history study, "Creole Trombone: Kid Ory and the Early Years of Jazz" University of Mississippi Press, 2012). McCuster took us to historical jazz sites that the New Orleans Preservation Center is trying to maintain and memorialize with appropriate research, plaques, and monuments. I saw Buddy Bolden's house and learned that clarinetist Larry Shields lived almost next door. Shields used to play clarinet on his front porch for Bolden to critique. But of course, under segregation laws, the two of them could not appear on the same stage as performers because they were black and white. We went to the vacant lot where Sydney Bechet's house once stood and learned that when Kid Ory passed there he heard some wailing clarinet coming from inside and introduced himself to the then bashful Bechet.

Born and raised in New Orleans, I still didn't know any of this. In the 60s, I preferred DeFranco, Tony Scott, and local avant guarde player Al Batiste as jazz clarinetists to the more traditional players, including Pete Fountain, that I had heard at home everywhere in the city since a babe. I went through several periods of rediscovering the New Orleans jazz style more than once, going back and forth between the classical styles of Harold Wright, Cahuzac, Mitchell Lurie, Karl Leister, Sabine Meyer, etc. and the jazz styles. Each time, the New Orleans tradition sounded (and sounds) different to me. It is anything but a museum piece to be reconstructed; it is a way of playing that, in players with a mind fresh and young enough to hear, is still creative, warm, and even unpredictable-- potentially more interesting than the nostalgic note-for-note re-creations of Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw one hears every day.

Where to hear today's New Orleans jazz? One place, according to McCuster, the jazz tour guide, (and I concur) is on Frenchman street, at the back of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Step into the Spotted Cat Music Club at 627 Frenchman, for instance, and see if the Jazz Vipers, or the Cotton Mouth Kings, or the New Orleans Moonshiners, or Evan Christopher is playing. This is a kind of music that has survived the swing era, be-bop, hard bop, free jazz, rock, hip hop, heavy metal, new age, ticky-tacky, and more. It is based on honest feeling, sometimes even prayerful expression, grief, sadness, and joy, tragedy, and sorrow, the longings of the human heart, the feet laughing to a beat and the ear loving a good song.

Steve, visit Frenchman street and listen to New Orleans jazz today. Find out how they do it. Some of the young players there aren't even from the US but they've got the jazz spirit. Doesn't matter if it's written on paper or, in the famous bass clarinetist's words, heard as an "ear spasm"; it's a style you can learn. But you've got to be there when its happening to get it.



Post Edited (2017-04-25 20:15)

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2017-02-05 08:36

Robert:

"I started to deliver one myself, but stopped,..." - which proves you are a far wiser man than I!

Thanks for the recollections and thoughts. I've attended a few history lectures given by John McCuster - they were quite enlightening. The singer, Banu Gibson, also knows a lot about the history and was kind enough to show us around and point out some interesting history in the area.

We weren't able to come down for Pete's funeral, as we were losing a member of our own family at the time...but it was neat to watch the videos of Tim Laughlin's performance at Pete's funeral, and to hear/see Larry Welk.

I agree with the Frenchmen street suggestion - the Steamboat Natchez is a great place to hear great trad jazz too...folks like Steve Pistorius, Tim Laughlin, etc. Now that Connie Jones has retired, I think Steve Pistorius might just be my favorite male vocalist in trad jazz...though there are some good singers out there, and my opinion might vary depending on who is freshest in my mind.

While I've never been to Abita Springs' Opera House - it sure looks like they have good trad groups there from time to time (Shotgun Jazz band and Tuba Skinny to name a few...if I'm not violating the "what is and what is not" trad jazz rule by naming these two groups.) ;^)>>>

Warmest Regards,
Fuzzy

Reply To Message
 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?
Author: MarlboroughMan 
Date:   2017-02-06 16:45

Every time you post like this, I wish you WOULD go on for 20-30 pages, Bob.

Many thanks for your reflections.


Eric

******************************
The Jazz Clarinet
http://thejazzclarinet.blogspot.com/

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