[Dixielandjazz] George Lewis

brian.harvey5 brian.harvey5" <brian.harvey5@ntlworld.com
Tue, 10 Sep 2002 15:13:06 +0100

Robert Greenwood wrote..................
I think I understand what you mean, Brian, but I would say that this "new
type of New Orleans jazz" was possibly the result of a collaboration between
the musicians and the record producers. The musicians drew on their
resources to fulfil the vision(?) of people like Bill Russell. Is this what
you mean?

No I don't think so because the new style - if indeed it was that new - also
existed in their public performances as widely recorded. Bill Russell tried
very hard to record the bands 'as were' and was anxious to not change
anything and this anxiety even stretched to his positioning of mikes. He has
often been accused of virtually creating the 1940s/50s style of NO jazz but
if you examine his diaries and the taped interviews of others involved at
that time I think that you will find that here only tried to record what was
there. It was however a happy accident if you like that the band he recorded
with Bunk became - with kid Howard and others - the archetypal modern New
Orleans band. The sound it created whilst not being as new as I had
previously thought (see below), was totally different to anything being
played at that time. If you listen to the bands of Sharkey and others in
NO - and Kid Ory - you see the difference. Everyone else was playing
Dixieland - in that context the Lewis sound was new. But today I read a 1960
Tony Standish article in which he reports............... "Johnny St. Cyr and
Paul Barnes were emphatic that New Orleans music in their younger days was
little different to that being played today by George Lewis and Kid Ory." -
further interest is provided by the following from the same
article............. "Johnny on hearing the 1936 recording of Johnny Dodds
Gravier Street Blues likened the sound to that of the Eagle band when Edward
Clem was with them" - i.e. 'the Uptown style of Bolden and others.
Which leads me to the conclusion that however much we think we know about
this music, we in fact know very little..............
Brian Harvey