[Dixielandjazz] Dixieland was George Lewis

Patrick Cooke patcooke@cox.net
Tue, 10 Sep 2002 16:59:15 -0500

So far, I have stayed out of the labeling discussion. but I have to go along
with the guy that says "It's all dixieland".
     I was in New Orleans in the late 40's doing 3 nights/week with Irving
Fazola, and off nights with Leon Prima and a few other places.  I heard Papa
Celestin and George Lewis at the Paddock lounge.  To my young 20-year-old
ears, their playing was so primitive sounding, it was actually comical.  It
sounded like someone ridiculing dixieland, but still it fell under the
dixieland umbrella.
       Unless someone plays exactly like someone else, he is a category unto
himself....and the path to distinction is not to play like someone else, no
matter how great they are.  I still say the idea of categorizing and
labeling is an exercise in futility....there are as many categories as there
are good players...it's all "music".
       Pat Cooke

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stephen Barbone" <barbonestreet@earthlink.net>
To: "Dixieland Jazz Mailing List" <dixielandjazz@ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2002 4:28 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Dixieland was George Lewis

> Brian Harvey Wrote:
> "Without getting into a very long discussion I just cannot agree that
> what the Lewis band played was Dixieland. I know that the word is used
> even today by New Orleans bands to describe what they play but among
> enthusiasts and students of the music, not musicians, the word Dixieland
> means something more akin to the Condon style of things which of course
> Jim Beebe was an absolute ace at. I do not have the skill to describe
> New Orleans jazz in front of this audience of musos but I do feel that
> it was something different - perhaps the emphasis on ensemble work would
> be the most obvious feature."
> List mates, Brian, Jim:
> I agree with Jim Beebe here. Dixieland is what Lewis played. If New
> Orleans Jazz means "ensemble" then I think Nick LaRocca would have named
> his band the Original New Orleans Jazz Band. Perhaps Tex Wyndham has the
> right idea. It is all Dixieland. However within that framework are seven
> styles of Dixieland, or sub categories: They are, stated with simplicity
> for brevity's sake:
> Downtown New Orleans  - First played by classically trained creole
> musos  (King Oliver music)
> Uptown New Orleans - Rough edged, ear players, little formal training
> (George Lewis music)
> White New Orleans - (Original Dixieland Jazz Band - New Orleans Rhythm
> Kings music)
> Chicago - (Condon -Jim Beebe - Don Ingle - Kim Cusack - Wild Bill
> Davison)
> British Trad  ( All those Brits who appeared in the 50s with a
> distinctly "British" New Orleans style)
> San Francisco or West Coast Revival (Turk Murphy, Lu Watters, Bob
> Scobey)
> I forget the 7th style, Hot Dance? (Louis Armstrong Big Band etc)  In
> any case, if you subscribe to Tex's opinion, then it is all Dixieland.
> And all of it except Chicago has the primary emphasis on ensemble.
> According to Richard Sudhalter, "Dixieland" became a white band oriented
> description in the 30s and "Small Band Swing" was the equivalent black
> band term. However the music was the same. The media and/or record
> producers coined the terms, not the musos. When I grew up in New York
> City, Wilbur DeParis' band was playing Dixieland as far as he and we,
> were concerned. That color distinction hype is just about gone now and
> was responsible for a lot of confusion about the music.
> Jim Beebe's description of Dixieland " original polyphonic-counterpoint
> form of jazz" seems to me right on the money. That includes all of the
> styles mentioned above, and most others that may, or may not exist.
> When Lewis, with a swinging band, became popular again in the USA in the
> 50s, he was a part of the US "Dixieland" revival, as were Turk, Lu, Bob
> Scobey, and Condon, Wild Bill, Beebe, Ingle  et al. Roots in New Orleans
> to be sure, but they played different styles of "Dixieland".
> Tex Wyndham has written a book "How Dixieland Works". Interesting
> reading for students of the genre.
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone
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