[Dixielandjazz] Terminology strikes again!

briantowers briantowers@msn.com
Tue, 10 Sep 2002 13:58:08 -0400

Robert (the new recruit) writes

> ..................One of you mentioned Turk Murphy. Am I right in thinking
that he was the first to use the term "traditional jazz"? Let's argue the
toss over that one!......................
> Robert Greenwood.

This came up for discussion a few years back, during one of our many debates
about jazz labelling.  Some-one (I cannot remember who) said that Turk
Murphy did not like the term "dixieland" to describe the jazz played by his
band and so he introduced the term "trad" to describe it.
But I do not think he coined the term "traditional jazz".   Would appreciate
any input from the more knowledgable on this point.

So we have 'trad" meaning one thing to the Turk Murphy-ites and something
different to the Brits.  To people of my background the term "'trad"
suggests the highly commercialised, over-gimmicked bands in the UK which
sprung up overnight to "milk" the short-lived jazz boom in the early 60's.
There was even a popular movie called "Its 'trad, dad!"    With the
over-exposure to the British public of OKOM to bands, many of which were of
suspect ability and little originality, the masses quickly became tired of
it and along came the Beatles and the Rolling Stones etc, to end the 'trad
boom.  it was probably just as well!!

I am a great fan of Turk Murphy and his approach to jazz.  As a trombonist I
always admired his big tone, sincerity, choice of material and the
front-line ensemble sound of his groups.


Brian Towers,
Hot Five Jazzmakers, Toronto, Canada
Band web site:            http://hotfivejazz.tripod.com
Newsletter:                  http://hotfivejazz.tripod.com/TJM