[Dixielandjazz] Re: Dixielandjazz Digest, Vol 8, Issue 36

Richard Broadie richard.broadie at gte.net
Tue Aug 26 13:07:41 PDT 2003

Am tempted to compose a 35,000 word dissertation on the little known fact
that Thomas Alva Edison invented jazz.

On Second thought I'm going to save my energy for the Sweet & Hot festival
in LA this week-end instead.

I hope you serious students of jazz history aren't too disappointed.


Dick B

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stephen Barbone" <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Sunday, August 24, 2003 7:33 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Re: Dixielandjazz Digest, Vol 8, Issue 36

> > Anton Crouch wrote:
> > Rob McCallum raises an interesting issue with his claim that the Ciro's
> > Coon Club Orchestra London recordings of 1916 are the first jazz
> > recordings. He also opens a can of worms because, if the Ciro's records
> > jazz, it's open slather all the way back to 1897 to find earlier
> >
> > First, I agree with me ole mate Bill Haesler that these Ciro's records
> > not jazz. They are ragtime-influenced banjo performances of popular
> > They are syncopated, but they don't swing and I can't hear any blues
> > influence.
> Well, maybe jazz, maybe not. Who says jazz has to be blues influenced?
Certainly not folks like Bix, and other notable "jazz" icons. Or where it it
written that jazz must swing? Certainly the ODJB "Darktown Strutters Ball"
(whenever it was recorded) referred to below does not swing, nor do other
examples of their work. Also consider Stan Kenton et al when discussing
swing as a necessary element to jazz. Finally, there are those who jazz
writers who claim that ragtime became jazz primarily when the time was
changed to the 4/4 time of early New Orleans Jazz from the 2/4 time of
ragtime. Other than that, jazz and ragtime are pretty much identical.
> > Steve Barbone's reference to James R Europe is most interesting. A lot
> > Europe's early (pre 1917) work dances along very nicely but, to me, it
> > lacks that spark that we call jazz.
> Spark? To my ears Europe's records have plenty of spark. Somewhere in my
memory banks are examples of jazz writers calling what Europe played jazz,
and referring to his Carnegie hall Concert circa 1914 or whenever, as the
first jazz concert at Carnegie. I suspect a dedicated researcher could come
up with an example or two. Big band, lots of banjos, etc., but who says 92
piece bands can't play jazz? Perhaps it is just a bit different from what we
prefer to call jazz, but jazz never the less?
> > The BIG issue is "what is that spark"? Its absence or presence can be
> > demonstrated by comparing, for example, Europe's March 1919 recording of
> > "Darktown strutters ball" with the ODJB's May 1917 (sorry Steve)
> > Another, even clearer, example is the difference between the
> > of "High society" by Prince's Band (May 1911) and King Oliver (June
> I agree, "what is 'Spark'"? Darktown Strutters Ball (recorded Jan or May
1917, take your pick ;-) ) as I hear it, is the worst ever example of
recorded music by the ODJB. IMO, the above examples are differences in style
rather than "Spark".  Even so, we've discussed before whether or not ODJB
arrangements were either totally scored or totally memorized. For those who
think jazz must be improv, there is precious little, if any, of it on those
ODJB recordings. If one writes out the various takes of the same tunes, one
sees clearly that they are virtually identical.  Any differences are so very
minor, that they suggest "mistakes" in the performance rather than
> John Phillip Sousa and Alphonse Picou could both, no doubt, play High
Society with Spark. Yet Sousa's might not be jazz. Perhaps we need a better
definition of the difference? Could it be that 4/4 New Orleans rhythm?
> Following up on the New Orleans origins of jazz, it seems to me that
perhaps the New Orleans rhythmic figures as applied to various forms of
music was a very necessary ingredient to the beginnings of jazz. And as I
hear it, the beginning was 4/4 New Orleans time as applied to ragtime tunes.
> Cheers,
> Steve
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