3967Re: [RedHotJazz] Re: When did Jazz die?
- Mar 19, 2007Robert Greenwood's remarks about Preservation Hall are astute.
The great bluesmen were somewhat diminished when they were "discovered" by
either or the college crowd in the U.S. or the Trad mob in Europe. But it
was still a mind-blowing experience to hear Muddy Waters at the Roundhouse
with Cyril Davies on harp, or Hooker in Manchester, or Rosetta Tharpe
soaring witht the Barber band, or Speckled Red playing his beautiful blues
at 100 Oxford Street, or Little Brother complaining about playing "Vicksburg
Blues" and then giving you goose bumps by playing it. Loads of other
examples are available - Memphis Slim, Champion Jack, Otis Spann, the Ward
Singers, Sonny and Brownie.
The guys just played more or less what they always played, but took the
desires of the new audiences into consideration..
Same thing in New Orleans. The Kid Thomas band played exactly the same style
at Larry Borenstein's Studio (later sadly renamed Preservation Hall) as they
did for dancing at the Moulin Rouge, over the river, for a traditional,
local, white crowd, who came to dance, to have a beer, and spend just an
ordinary night out. The style of the band did not change; the repertoire
I seem to remember Gene Williams had a vivid musical moment 'way back when
he heard the Ory band playing pop tunes and waltzes in the same style that
they used for "Muskrat Ramble" and "Tiger Rag".
All of whuch leads us to when did jazz die.
Well, it died when we who chanced upon it, decided that what we liked about
it had disappeared. I've got a mate who discoverd jazz when he heard Gerry
Mulligana & Chet, others I know love "hot dance" recorded between 1920 and
1930; I even realise that there are people out there who think jazz was born
at Minton's and who don't like Louis Armstrong.
Me? Well, Howards remarks about dancing were also pretty astute. If you
don't want to dance, don't bother. There is no higher plane than leaping
around, out of control, to a good Dixie band in full flight.
That bloody Frank Johnson!
He, tooo, was a very astute man. An ordinary trumpet player who lead one of
the great Australia jazz bands, and they nearly always played for dancing!.
And he was dead right about the Fools!
.----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert Greenwood" <robertgreenwood_54uk@...>
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 9:56 PM
Subject: [RedHotJazz] Re: When did Jazz die?
> Howard wrote:
> "Frank Johnson in his book Australian Jazz Explosion rather pithily
> identifies two types of fool: Those who think something old is always
> and those who think something new is better. One of our problems is
> since the 1940s so much of the jazz audience has consisted of one or
> of these types! It has made it very difficult to sell innovative work
> seeks to develop the jazz idiom rather than render it obsolete."
> Too true!
> "Jazz `died' when its avant-garde decided that they didn't want to
> play for
> dancers any more. By so doing they flung away at least 80% of their
> base and ensured that jazz would become a niche market."
> Something similar may be said about the well-intentioned project
> known as Preservation Hall. Sadly, this laudable attempt to provide
> some employment for those musicians still playing the older styles of
> New Orleans music meant (among many other more positive things)
> removing those musicians from their accustomed audiences, for whom
> they provided a music to dance and socialise to, and placing them in
> front of serried rows of tourists and admirers. Kid Thomas Valentine
> is said once to have remarked about the punters at Pres Hall: "They
> just sit there an' stare at yer!" The inescapable paradox may well be
> that the older styles died out precisely because of an attempt to
> preserve them, but no doubt it's much more complicated than that.
> Robert Greenwood.
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