[Dixielandjazz] Time Marches On - Was Sandoval

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sat Feb 8 23:45:49 PST 2003

Defending Sandoval's right to pay homage to whom ever he wants has no
bearing on the man's character, or lack of it. Many musicians are
arrogant idiots. Most of us admit it.

But why can't Sandoval play songs of Armstrong or Bix? Why is he
denigrated for playing "I Can't Get Started." by we OKOMers. Because it
was Berrigan's tune? Well, once it was Berrigan's tune but that all
changed, according to composer Vernon Duke, when Dizzy Gillespie
recorded it, July 9, 1945. (Columbia CL 1036 of Epic SN6042.)

Vernon Duke himself proclaimed that Dizzy's version was his favorite,
and from that recording on for the majority of jazz musicians and fans,
it was "his" tune.  Gillespie proceeded to record it 3 more times, each
time differently, but that 1st one is the preferred version by most
people. Sandoval also recorded it perhaps with Gillespie's blessing, or
perhaps after his death, but either way he knew Gillespie claimed no
ownership over the tune, just like Berrigan before him. Time marches on.

In fact, it was Dizzy Gillespie who told a young Phil Woods something
that should resonate with us all, even though it is not OKOM. Woods was
complaining to Diz, that people were calling him a Bird clone, and
criticizing him for sounding too much like Parker. I don't have the
quote exactly, but will paraphrase it. Diz said something like: "Phil,
don't worry about what people say. Here's what Bird thought and this is
what is important. Bird's music is a gift from him to anybody that wants
it. If you can hear it, you can have it." Time marches on.

If you hear the music, you can have it. To copy it exactly like some
folks do, To pay homage to it without copying, like some folks do, To
use it as a learning device, a springboard to your own style, like some
folks do or to build a new rhythmic harmonic structure out of the
foundation like some folks do. And if some "fans" don't like the way you
are doing it, they can take their ears elsewhere, like some folks do.
You and they have every right to do so. Time marches on

Being a jazz musician is a thankless task and I tell the kids at jam
sessions and open mike nights, either to choose another path, or to
insulate themselves from the fans. Develop and audience, yes, but
remember that you are not on this earth to please other people any more
than they are here to please you. So show what you have, and trade it
for what you need, all the while remembering that Columbus was wrong.
The world is not round, it is square.

Steve Barbone

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