[Dixielandjazz] Wynton & Famly

JimDBB at aol.com JimDBB at aol.com
Tue Feb 25 15:10:16 PST 2003

In a message dated 2/25/03 11:41:40 AM Central Standard Time, 
Trumpetom at aol.com writes:

> I caught the family band special last night on PBS. Struttin' With Some 
> Barbecue was a treat! Several styles were played at the same time. The best 
> part for me was  the brothers having musical fun quoting each other during 
> the round of solos on that piece.
> Tom Loeb

   Tom, I happened to cath that show and I wold like to comment.  These 
Marsalis brothers are very fine musicians...but there is something 
missing...like feeling.   

   The "struttin' with some Barbeque' was a sop to us 
traditionalists...'Hey!...we can play this stuff, too. The front line on the 
Dixieland-polyphonic ensemble sounded like Saddam Husseins' Palace jazz band. 
 Three horns playing with absolutely no feeling or relationship to each 
other.  The audio equivalent of three drunken Brits throwing darts at the 
same time in a pub.

     Wynton on Barbeque wasn't quite sure what to do.  He would flub around 
trying to approximate Armstrong then give it up and wander around rather 
aimlessly, trying to playing what he thinks is 'New Orleans' trumpet.  His 
phrasing is stilted and frankly he doesn't swing playing traditional things.
 They played a couple of really forgettable 'modern' things.  The elder 
Marsalis plays the mindless modern-comp piano that has infested jazz for so 

   Jason, I guess is the youngest, and plays decent enough on drums but is 
very stiff. He looked like he was scared to death of his brothers.

   Delfeyo is the trombonist and plays like a hundred other comtemporary 
trombonists who have a lot of technique and are very stiff.  He played Tyree 
Glenn's 'Sultry Serenade' without any warmth whatsoever.

   They all looked good with expensive clothes and cool stage moves.  Harry 
Connick Jr. made a guest appearance.  He had been a teenage apprentice of the 
elder Marsalis.  His piano style seems to be a teenagers take on 'Thelonius 
Monk.'  He and Ellis did a duo pino on 'Caravan.'   

All in all, to me it was not disappointing because I didn't expect anymore 
from the Marsalis family band.  I was curious as to what they would sound 
like together and they lived down to those expectations. There were some 
mildly interesting interviews about the family and early pictures.  We were 
spared any harangues & lectures from Wynton

Here is a family of accomplished 'jazz' musicians that were born and raised 
in New Orleans, and they can't play what we think of as New Orleans jazz.  
Yet, they will look down on those who can.

Curmudgeonly yours,

Jim Beebe

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