[Dixielandjazz] Thoughts on 'Dixieland'

Russ Guarino russg at redshift.com
Mon Apr 7 22:52:10 PDT 2003

Best definition and description of Dixieland I've ever read.  Thanks,

Russ Guarino

Dan Augustine wrote:

>      Thoughts on 'dixieland'.
>      What distinguishes 'dixieland' from 'swing'?  Or from big-band
> jazz?  Or from dance music?  Or from bebop?  (Etc.)
>      A number of people (including me) think that the difference
> occurs when two or more instruments are improvising melodies (of
> different types) at the same time.  More specifically, when all
> instruments are improvising on a song's series of chords and doing so
> within certain (perhaps unstated) agreements of pitch-range and role.
> That is, the clarinet will generally play higher than the trumpet,
> which plays higher than the trombone, and so forth.  Also, the
> trumpet will generally play the melody (but the most basic skeleton
> of it), the clarinet will add filigree harmony around and above the
> melody, the trombone will punctuate gaps with glissandos
> (portamentos) and thirds and sevenths of the chord off the beat, and
> the bass will play mainly the root and fifth of the chord on the
> beat, but connecting these points linearly.  (This description is of
> course greatly simplified.)  This kind of style (i believe) applies
> to most styles of 'dixieland', including 'Condon style', West Coast
> Revival style, New Orleans style, and so forth. (I'm not trying to
> define the style(s), but just to describe its characteristics.)
>      So, if this is true, 'dixieland' occurs best when all instruments
> are playing together, as this is when the so-called simultaneous
> polyphonic improvisation can be at its fullest.
>      That said, what of solos?  They, by this description, are not
> 'dixieland' (at its best), because they are just one instrument
> improvising a melody at a time. They may be 'jazz' (whatever _that_
> is), but they aren't the best 'dixieland'.  Therefore the best
> dixieland occurs in ensemble playing, not solos.  Dixieland is a
> collaborative endeavor, with multiple simultaneous melodies.
>      Comments?
> Dan
> --
> **--------------------------------------------------------------------**
> **  Dan Augustine     Austin, Texas     ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu  **
> **     "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench,       **
> **      a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free,      **
> **      and good men die like dogs.  There's also a negative side."   **
> **                       -- Hunter Thompson                           **
> **--------------------------------------------------------------------**
> _______________________________________________
> Dixielandjazz mailing list
> Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
> http://ml.islandnet.com/mailman/listinfo/dixielandjazz

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list