[Dixielandjazz] Was George Lewis now Early Jazz Style/Trad

D and R Hardie darnhard@ozemail.com.au
Wed, 11 Sep 2002 14:05:47 +1000

Dear Brian,
                 What you have written about
Johnny St Cyr and the Dodds band on Gravier St is
of great interest. I have learned you can never
ignore what these witnesses said about olden days 
jazz. (St.Cyr was the one who scat sang Buddy
Bolden's pet phrase on a recording held by the
Hogan Jazz Archive who were kind enough to make me
a copy.) and someone said Kid Howard played like
Chris Kelly.
                I assume the record is the one I
have that has Nattie Dominique on cornet, Preston
Jackson slide trombone, Johnny Dodds clarinet,
Richard M Jones piano, Lonnie Johnson guitar John
Lindsay on bass and Baby Dodds Drums. My Disco
says 1940.
                Most likely the Eagle band when
Clem played ( before 1910) would have had Clem
Cornet, Frank Duson valve trombone, Willie Warner 
or Lorenzo Tio on clarinet, Bob Lyons or Dandy
Lewis bass, Brock Mumford or Lorenzo Staultz on
guitar, possibly Jamesy Phillips or Henry Zeno  on
drums. No piano. Alcide Frank violin or bab Frank
piccolo would have been there as leader.
              As for Gravier St  some comments:
             Ed. Clem is supposed to have sounded
like Charlie Love. On this disc Dominique does
sound a bit like that, at least in the opening
choruses. If Tio played clarinet then I guess he
could have sounded quite like Dodds does here 
before he indulges in some of his own typical solo
passages. The early vamping of the trombone sounds
right but as it progresses it has more of the
slide  effects that would have been impossible on
the valve instrument. The use of the guitar sounds
right apart from the solo passages that were
typically Lonnie Johnson post 1920. (Johnson
however is said to have been a street guitarist in
New Orleans )
                My reading is that St Cyr rightly
compared the overall sound of the first few
choruses with the Duson sound, but as it
progresses the riffing arrangement sounds more
like a 1925 band than a Bolden style  one of 1910.
This is compounded by the absent violin or piccolo
lead and the piano. Nevertheless it is an
interesting insight into the overall ensemble
sound of a New Orleans Band playing a blues before
recordings. Just another clue for us.
               As for terminology, I think it is a
pity to avoid the issue by using the word OKOM.
Much of what others on the list seem to like to
include is not my kind of music and certainly not
Dixieland. Americans and many others often seem to
be happy to use Dixieland broadly to refer to what
others refer to as Traditional Jazz, and I think
this was the intention of the founders of the
mailing list.  Unfortunately there was a short
period of commercialisation of  Traditional Jazz
(Trad) some of it  good, some mediocre. There are
however various recognisable  styles of
traditional jazz and some list members have sought
to describe them. Perhaps the best of these is the
listing of styles by   Dave Robinson who I suspect
is no longer a member of the DJML. Dave's  List is
at his Traditional Jazz Educators Network web
site: http://www.prjc.org/tjen/
I'm sure you know about all this Brian but some
new members may find it of interest to look up
Dave's Traditional Jazz Styleguide.

Dan Hardie
Check out the  Early Jazz websites:


brian.harvey5 wrote: "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..............
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