[Dixielandjazz] Blatant Commercial & Critics
barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed Dec 31 13:28:44 PST 2003
Recently a "couple of local purists" gave me an unasked for personal
review of our new CD, "Live At West Chester University Jazz Festival".
It was not terribly flattering.
1) Our trumpet player was categorized as "not being a Dixieland
player". Of course the reviewers did not know that pianist Terry Waldo
is after him to play lead trumpet in Andre DeShield's production of "The
Louis Armstrong Story", Off Broadway so far, but with the possibility of
getting on Broadway because he can sound close to Louis if he chooses.
2) Our trombonist was categorized as "not being a Dixieland player".
Perhaps not, but then many "purists" stop with Ory or Brunies and view
Teagarden in the same light. Our guy was 28 years principal TB with
Philadelphia Orchestra capping a 40 year career in "classical", as well
as having played on numerous gigs with Hirt and Fountain in New Orleans
while spending 9 years with that Symphony Orchestra.
3) Our drummer was "too loud". Well, it is a 2 channel live recording
and we can't balance it to studio sound quality, though the "live" sound
is very good to excellent.
4) "We didn't sound like Condon". We don't try to sound like Condon and
even if we did, would have trouble because Condon's diverse groups all
5) "That there were too many vocals by a mediocre singer." BTW she sings
regularly at The Premier Jazz Night Clubs on the East Coast. Hello?????
6) And that yes, we gave the audience what they wanted, but . . . . . .
7) Etc., etc.., etc.
So, I caution you not to buy the CD if you are in the "purist" camp and
think that "Artistic Dixieland" (whatever that is) is only played at
OKOM festivals as opposed to "Functional" Dixieland which is neither
artistic, nor listened to by "those in the know". If in that camp, you
will be sure to be disappointed.
No problem for us. Having played at major jazz festivals on the same
bill alongside Preservation Hall, and Dirty Dozen and at other major
jazz festivals with the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Arturo Sandoval,
Herbie Hancock, Joshua Redman and countless others, to rave reviews,
before thousands of jazz fans, we are secure in our performance ability.
On the other hand, if you like "Balls Out Polyphonic Counterpoint" then
by all means buy this CD because you will adore it. One such fan wrote
me today: (her caps)
"HI STEVE, HEARD YOUR GROUP AT RIVERCREST OPEN HOUSE AND I WAS
PLEASANTLY SURPRISED. THEN GOT YOUR CD. HAVE NOT HEARD A BAND THAT GOOD
SINCE SAM BUTERA AND THE WILDEST. LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU MANY
TIMES IN THE FUTURE." JANET
And a contemporary jazz musician, Chuck Traeger who was house bassist at
Nick's in NYC for 20 years, played with Bunk Johnson and Sidney Bechet
in 1947 (alongside Bob Wilber) as well as with Phil Napoleon, Miff Mole,
Billy Maxted, Pee Wee Irwin, Pee Wee Russell, Eddie Condon, Tony
Sparbaro, Lou McGarity, Cutty Cutshall, Gene Schroeder, Andy Russo, Lee
Gifford, Hank D'Amico, Marian McPartland and a lot of others said:
"BEST DIXIELAND JAZZ I'VE HEARD IN 20 YEARS AND I'VE LISTENED TO A LOT
OF IT. DIFFERENT, YES. BUT THAT IS THAT IS THE WAY JAZZ IS SUPPOSED TO
BE PLAYED. AND THE VOCALIST IS REALLY GOOD."
So what can I tell you. Love it or hate it, that's the way we do it. We
do not plan to change. And we will not listen to the negative thinkers
who have all but managed to consign OKOM to obscurity during the past 25
Bottom line, if you bought it and don't like it, just send it back and
I'll refund your money. Since the first CD (1000 run) is just about sold
out, and this second one is better, I'm sure I can sell them at higher
prices to our fan base at local gigs within the next few months.
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