[Dixielandjazz] Re: 2 beat ; 4 beat

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 26 22:45:28 PDT 2003

Bob. I respectfully completely disagree. I go along with Tex Wyndham on this
one. In his book, he writes:

"I have occasionally seen it said that Watters was trying to imitate King
Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, but based on what I hear on the records, I can't go
along with that statement.

Watters may have gotten the idea for a two trumpet front line from hearing
Oliver's discs, but even a casual listener comparing the records should be
able to recognize within the first few bars that the Yerba Buena Jazz Band
sounds nothing at all like the Creole Jazz Band.

What Watters did was what all good jazzmen should do. He got under the skin of
the music, came to understand it fully, and played it his way. He found a way
to make a distinctive and personal statement within the basic Dixieland

Tex then goes on to carefully enunciate what it is in YBJB's playing that
makes it very distinctive and the beginning of a NEW STYLE in Dixieland. As
Tex hears them, and I completely agree, the two bands were/are VERY different.
As he says, "Indeed, it was because the YBJB didn't sound like any other band
that it was able to create a new Dixieland style. If he had sounded like the
Creole Jazz Band, or the Hot 5, or The Red Hot Peppers, I doubt if anyone
would have remembered Watters for so long."

Tex also states and I agree that if Watters and his YBJB wanted to play like
Oliver, they could have easily duplicated the notes, the sound and the style.
Their musicianship was such to make that very easy for them.  (except that
besides two trumpets, they also used two banjoes and I don't think they got
that from Oliver)

I have no doubt they listened to Oliver. Heck, everyone in that era who played
Dixieland did. However, I do not hear YBJB as being heavily influenced by
Oliver any more than Barbone Street is heavily influenced by Oliver. Or, to
put it another way, any more than Louis Armstrong was heavily influenced by
Oliver, regardless of what he may have said about The King. Louis too, found
his own voice as took jazz a lot farther (further?) along in a new direction
in a style very different from that of King Oliver.

Listening? Yes
Emulating? No.
Influenced? Yes.
Heavily influenced? No.

That's the bottom line as I hear it.

Steve Barbone

"Robert S. Ringwald" wrote:

> Steve Barbone writes:
> (Snip)
> > And remain un convinced that the West Coast
> > > Revivalists emulated King Oliver. I hear  lots of 4/4 with Oliver.
> > (Snip)
> Steve, it is obvious that the SF West Coast guys (Watters, Murphy, Helm,
> etc) were listening to, and emmulating the Oliver sound.  Note the 2
> trumpets.
> They did not end up sounding exactly like Oliver, or it would have been a
> recreation band.  But, they were heavily influenced by the Oliver sound.  I
> was told this by one of the musicians who was there.  He said they used to
> sit around listening to the Oliver band to learn how to play the style.
> Bob
> mr.wonderful at ringwald.com

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