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3968Re: When did Jazz die?

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  • Robert Greenwood
    Mar 19, 2007
      I think rather that Preservation Hall was more a symptom than a cause
      of the older styles dying out. It opened once the older venues
      started to close down and once live music for dancing began to be
      replaced by dancing and socialising to recorded music. I suspect,
      however, that the people who danced to Billie & Dede at Luthjens, or
      who danced to Kid Thomas's band at Speck's Moulin Rouge or the
      Westwego Fireman's Hall did not start in their droves to attend
      sessions at Preservation Hall. The Hall seems to have opened to
      fulfil the need of visiting and expatriate European musicians to hear
      New Orleans musicians playing live, and to provide an alternative for
      tourists to the brasher sounds of Bourbon Street. The opening of the
      Hall also brought New Orleans music to the belated attention of
      record labels such as Atlantic and Riverside. Its main functions seem
      to have been educational; didactic rather than functional. Deprived
      of its main function (to supply music for dancing), the older style
      of New Orleans music inevitably died out.
      I too treasure memories of hearing some of the older musicians in
      London, including Little Brother Montgomery. He played at 100 Oxford
      Street and closed the evening with a version of Rock Around the Clock
      (just to make the purist hackles rise). I heard Kid Thomas Valentine
      one night in 1976 playing with Mike Casimir's New Iberia Stompers at
      the Southampton Arms, a pub opposite Mornington Crescent underground
      station. The selection of tunes was predictable (Tiger Rag & The
      Saints, among others) and, while it was great to hear him, I'm sure I
      was not alone in hoping he would play a waltz or a country & western
      tune as he would have done at Speck's Moulin Rouge or the Westwego
      Fireman's HallÂ…
      Robert Greenwood
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