[Dixielandjazz] Grammys and OKOM

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed Feb 26 10:36:19 PST 2003

Dan Augustine writes:

     I guess you're right. We don't deserve notice. We better die
right now, save the audiences the messy job of killing us themselves
by staying away. There's no point in playing this stuff anyway,
because nobody loves us or the music and never will.  I guess i
really don't like it either, don't know why i bother playing it and
listening to it and reading about it.  Just something to do that
doesn't really matter. The audiences are really putting us on to
laugh at us when they show up and pretend to have a good time.
There's no point to it, it's useless, just as life is.  Hand me that
knife, there, would you?

Hi Folks:

Did I imply that? I don't think so. Not, me. My band does a whole bunch
of gigs over a year's span. In 2002 we played before LIVE AUDIENCES that
totaled more than 125,000 people. We had a great time both playing OKOM
and acknowledging the cheers of adoring audiences.

We are fortunate enough to be relatively famous in our territory. Our
players get recognized walking down the street. We play some of the
great performing arts venues in our area. We charge high prices and get
them. We get plenty of notice from TV, the Press and other media in our
territory. We play before young (most under 50 years old) fans.

However, most other OKOM bands do not. That is why OKOM does not show up
in the general music scene. There is a stunning lack of fans.

Please folks, don't misunderstand what I write. The music is wonderful,
play it however you like. Just don't bitch and moan if the public
doesn't like what you play. It is not their fault, it is yours.

We might examine our own knowledge of ou own music. I can remember folks
on the DJML asking; "Who the hell is this Jim Beebe?" when he first
joined the list. Some today may still not know. Who indeed? Just one of
the GREAT OKOM trombone players who excelled in both est Coast Revival
and Chicago Styles. If we OKOM talking heads don't know who Beebe is,
how can we expect the public to know who Beebe is?

Last weekend I talked with 91 year old drummer Johnny Blowers. Do we
know who he is? Again, just one of the GREATS who played with just about
everybody in OKOM from 1935 through 2003, as well as Sinatra, Holiday,
Ella et. al. And he is still busily gigging OKOM this year in the
Secondary and High Schools around New York City, as well as doing
regular OKOM gigs.  And yes, he has updated his band style to fit the

My point is a simple one. There is plenty of OKOM opportunity out there.
Trouble is, most of us don't want to do it, we want to talk about not
doing it.

Paraphrasing Jack Nicholson's line in "A Few Good Men". "You want the
truth? We can't handle the truth."

Steve Barbone

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