[Dixielandjazz] Marsalis at the Proms

john Petters jpettjazz@btinternet.com
Tue, 6 Aug 2002 12:31:25 +0100

Brian said
> I second Louis Lince's remarks - there was no bebop - just plain good big
> band jazz played with verve, panache and not a little brilliance. I wonder
> if Mr. Petters ever heard Dizzy and Bird?

Yes Brian I have heard Dizzy and Bird - but I prefer Louis & Hodges. I also
know something about Big Bands having listened to them for well over 30
years. I Recall seeing Lionel Hampton's Orch in the mid 80s with a brilliant
young sax man playing all the notes as quickly as possible with a huge
technique - a sort of rent-a- Coltrane - then up strugged Arnett Cobb on his
crutches and blew one note and then you had jazz.
I'm not belittling the technical abilities of the Marsalis group, but I
couldn't hear any 'voices'. The really great players had instantly
identifiable sounds that made you sit up and take notice. Pee Wee Russell
was one, Ben Webster, Sidney Bechet etc etc.

As to be or not be-bop, then can you, hand on heart state that the phrasing
of the sax players and the trombonist, as  examples, were not affected by
be-bop. They were certainly not what I would call 'swing'style solos as you
would expect from a Hodges or Vic Dickenson.
Call me a mouldy fygge if you like - but I would sooner listen to the
classic recordings of Basie, Ellington, Lunceford, Goodman etc than rep
bands of young modernists trying to play in older styles without any real
affection for the music.

This goes for the current crop of Brass bands in New Orleans. Louis Lince
played me a recording of one of these bands playing at playing Jelly Roll
Morton. It bore little relation to Morton's music. All that glitters is not
gold and all that comes from New Orleans ain't good jazz.
As I write this I'm listening to the Wild Bill Davison Commodore recordings
with Ed Hall. No doubt what direction they are facing in their music. It has
guts, drive and conviction. The same could be said of the George Lewis
Climax sessions and the Ellington small groups from circa 1940. A music of
its time maybe - in that case them times was better!!!

John Petters
Amateur Radio Station G3YPZ