[Dixielandjazz] Grammy Awards and OKOM

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Feb 25 16:53:39 PST 2003

John Petters wrote: (polite snip) in answer to the thought that we OKOM
musos do it for love, not money, fame or fortune.

"I maintain it is possible to play this music for love and to do it with
a professional attitude, earn some money and maybe a little bit of fame

List mates:

HEAR HEAR. Of course it is possible to do just that. Beat the drum
loudly and proclaim that it is indeed possible, and then go out and do

Barbone Street is one of the most successful bands around at doing just
that. Sure, we've modernized the style, just as Dirty Dozen has
modernized the style. How else are you going to reach the mass audience?

Is it OKOM?  Sure. But it is not a recreation of what has already been
done quite successfully in the past by George Lewis, or Lu Watters, or
even Eddie Condon. Many of the oldsters may not like it but so what?
They'll be gone soon enough.

We old folks have to get used to the fact that old style OKOM will never
fly again like it did when we were kids. Heck, I just saw the Onyx Club
Band last Sunday. They were stunning, excellent musicians all, and what
they did was superb. For me, an old guy, but not for the younger
generations today.

So if we want to make money playing OKOM, then play to the new
generations of kids. Play what they can relate to and do it in
polyphonic counterpoint style. Play tunes for the 50 year olds like
Michelle in Dixieland style and they will flock to us. And play Night
Train for the kids. They love it.

Sad, but true, we have to get away from that old audience now dying off,
if we want to make money. Because they want to pay $30 for an all day
ticket and 12 hours of music. That's what our audience pays to see an
hour and a half performance at the Berk's Jazz Fest.

Want to make money? Go where the money is. Do some Dixieland weddings.
Do some Dixieland corporate parties. You need not sell out musically, or
monetarily in order to achieve some tangible reward as well as a bit of
fame and cheers in your area.

Steve Barbone

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