[Dixielandjazz] Re: 2 beat ; 4 beat

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 26 11:16:56 PDT 2003

> Butch Thompson wrote: (polite snip)
> Much of the so-called revival period music I heard, both first-hand and on
> record, was also in two.   Two examples:   The George Lewis band in its
> early days c. 1950,  and the impeccable drumming of Cie Frazier.

As I hear it, virtually all of the George Lewis recordings and performances were in 4/4
time like the original New Orleans Jazz.. As I write this, I am listening to Lewis as
CD mastered by Mosaic. (Complete Blue Note Recordings - 3 CD set and Lawrence Marrero
from 1943 on is chugging away in his 4/4 beat on just about 99% of the songs.

If Lewis switched to 2 beat in the 1950s maybe it was because he was listening to all
that West Coast revival stuff and selling out in order to make money from that
sophisticated audience on the left coast. ;-)

Nah, even listening to his Bakersfield concert, circa 1953 or so, it is 4 beat chug
chug on banjo, bass and drum.

On the 2/4 vs. 4/4 issues, note in Sudhalter's Book "Lost Chords" how much he talks
about the swinging 4/4 time that the white players were using at the same time that
Louis was doing it (1920s) with Fletcher Henderson and on the Hot Five & Seven Records.
Many believe that loosening of the time to 4/4 and early swing concepts are what made
Dixieland so big in Chicago and New York (and the rest of America) in the 1930s-40s.

Then came the West Coast Revivalists and 2/4. . . sigh. ;-)

So we have an aging population of Revivalist Fans who were convinced that 2/4 is the
original stuff. By bands that changed the style, rather than reviving it.

Steve Barbone

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