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


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".)


...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?


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)

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 Topics Author  Date
 Dixieland arrangements?  new
Steve Becraft 2017-02-03 08:06 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
sfalexi 2017-02-03 10:18 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
ned 2017-02-03 12:57 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
MarlboroughMan 2017-02-03 18:53 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
Steve Becraft 2017-02-03 19:13 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
ken 2018-01-24 07:10 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
ClarinetRobt 2017-02-03 21:37 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
Matt74 2017-02-04 00:38 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
MarlboroughMan 2017-02-04 01:35 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
Wes 2017-02-04 03:27 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
Burt 2017-02-04 04:34 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
ned 2017-02-04 05:16 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
Matt74 2017-02-04 08:05 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
ned 2017-02-04 09:06 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
MarlboroughMan 2017-02-04 18:24 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
Fuzzy 2017-02-04 20:29 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
MarlboroughMan 2017-02-04 21:28 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
MarlboroughMan 2017-02-04 21:48 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
MarlboroughMan 2017-02-04 22:14 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
Matt74 2017-02-04 22:24 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
Fuzzy 2017-02-04 23:07 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
Fuzzy 2017-02-04 23:39 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
MarlboroughMan 2017-02-04 23:14 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
MarlboroughMan 2017-02-05 00:37 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
Fuzzy 2017-02-05 00:46 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
MarlboroughMan 2017-02-05 01:06 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
Fuzzy 2017-02-05 01:15 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
seabreeze 2017-02-05 07:57 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
MarlboroughMan 2017-02-06 16:45 
 Re: Dixieland arrangements?  new
Fuzzy 2017-02-05 08:36 

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