[Dixielandjazz] Eric Hobsbawm & Joe Levinson

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Fri Feb 7 16:47:45 PST 2003

List mates:

As Jim Beebe points out, Joe Levinson has a very sharp, tongue in cheek,
wit. His comment as quoted below is obviously a put-on of the finest

"The NEA's statement that 'respondents' considered talent the most
important quality needed for pursuing a career in jazz is
mind-boggling.  My God! The reason people go into jazz as a career is
because they have no focus to their lives, have low self-esteem, are
basically lazy, and have no marketable skills."

Put-ons are something for all of us to bear in mind when we read quoted
statements by musicians. Another example that comes to mind is a Barney
Bigard interview I read a while back where he was quoted as saying Pee
Wee Russell was a complete hack as a clarinet player, awful. The
interviewer went on to contrast Bigard's legit style and Russell's
illegit style, using Bigard's quote as an example of how the two styles
couldn't be reconciled. And that Bigard's style was the preferred way to
play clarinet.

 Then recently, I read another interview of Bigard where he mentioned
his favorite clarinet players as Jimmy Noone and Buster Bailey. The
interviewer pressed him by asking who were his favorite "white" clarinet
players. Said Bigard in 1946; "Pee Wee Russell is probably my favorite."

Go figure. Perhaps jazz musicians tell interviewers what they want to
hear? Then sit back and watch the BS fly? Not, of course that Beebe,
Hooks, or I would ever put anybody on. Or that Bill Haessler or Charlie
Hull or Bill Gunter would ever drop a baited hook into the list water to
see who bites. ;-)

Not a low self-esteem guy in the whole bunch.

Steve Barbone

PS. According to Barbone Street guitarist Sonny Troy, the master of put
on, the eternal jokester, was Louis Prima with whom he spent several Las
Vegas years.

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