[Dixielandjazz] Oliver, revivalism and classification

David W. Littlefield dwlit at cpcug.org
Sun May 4 01:58:41 PDT 2003

Questions about Oliver's records, raised because the ensembles are so tight.   
Let's deal first with the 2 cornets:
1. Were the arrangements written?
2. If not, were the tunes played played often on gigs (I assume they must
have been rehearsed pretty intensely) 
3. Both of the above.
4. Some of each.
5. Who improvised and where? 
There's a lot of internal consistency suggesting written/well-memorized charts.
There are many variations that to me seem to be instances of improvisation.
I'm not thinking in terms of solos, but if they knew the chart well, then
there'd be freedom not to repeat the same notes as long as the style,
chords, etc., were maintained. 

I haven't read the literature but I have worked intensively with the
records the past few months, and the questions kept occurring to me.


At 10:31 AM 5/3/2003 -0700, Chris Tyle wrote:
>Also, regarding Oliver and Armstrong, the latter's playing is rarely a
>strict harmonization to Oliver's lead. Sometimes he's playing an obligato,
>like he does when accompanying a blues singer; sometimes he answers Oliver
>(perfect example: the first strain of Canal Street Blues, where Oliver plays
>three notes and Louis answers with two), but rarely is he playing a strict
>harmonic part and never playing in unison. There are occasions when Louis is
>also playing the lead and Oliver is not playing at all (example: the chorus
>before Joe's Dippermouth Blues solo.)

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