[Dixielandjazz] What happened to Dixieland '63

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Aug 14 16:52:16 PDT 2003

Alana Shapazian wrote (polite snip quoted from the 1963 Monterey
Festival program notes)

"In recent years, so-called Dixieland jazz suffered severe economic
reverses: several once-celebrated night clubs devoted to Dixieland, such
as Nicks in New York and San Franciscos Club Hangover, have closed their
doors. Musicians who were forced into the Dixieland mold to make a
living, are often stigmatized with this label; in many cases, these
artists actively loathed this type of music and bitterly resented the
implication that they were incapable of playing other styles."

Yes, I fear that this is true, at least in part. For one, Pee Wee
Russell neither liked being called a Dixieland musician, nor a "Chicago
Style' player. Others who resented the categorization somewhat, or fully
were Wild Bill Davison, Billy Butterfield, Eddie Condon, Vic Dickenson,
Kenny Davern, Omer Simeon, Pee Wee Erwin, etc., etc., etc. The above
observations are from personal conversations with them in the late
1950s, early 1960s.

Professional Jazz musicians like any other job seekers, for the most
part, go where the money is. At one time, the money was in Dixieland and
so the best musicians went there. Sadly, that is no longer true.

Steve Barbone

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