[Dixielandjazz] More on King Oliver

Janet janetshaw at sympatico.ca
Sun May 4 13:41:11 PDT 2003

Hi Chris,
Just to let you know that your scholarly reviews are much appreciated here,
as always.  You are right on the mark INHO.
Keep spreading the light of knowledge!
Brian Towers,
Toronto  (only 30 cases of SARS remaining now but watch out for West Nile!)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Chris Tyle" <tyleman at toast.net>
To: "Anton Crouch" <a.crouch at unsw.edu.au>
Cc: "DJML" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2003 12:17 PM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] More on King Oliver

> Hi, Anton et. al.,
> Having spent 13 years playing music in New Orleans, working with New
> musicians, I came to realize that they are and were totally pragmatic. We
> too often think of the "standard" instrumentation as three front line and
> three or four rhythm. Even in the so-called "heyday" of jazz in NO, bands
> had a multitude of configurations, depending on what the gig called for.
> Louis mentions working at Tom Anderson's with a trio; Bunk worked in a duo
> with Tony Jackson. These were not isolated cases; this was the norm.
> I bring up the brass bands because they figure into what became what we
> refer to as a "jazz" band. Early jazz bands were a marriage of the brass
> band and the string trio. Peter Bocage mentions this in his interviews in
> the Hogan Jazz Archive, and Bocage would know since he was certainly what
> would now be called a "cross-over" artist. His beginnings were playing
> either violin or mandolin in string groups. He then took up the cornet.
> only did he play in brass bands, but was a member for many years of Armand
> Piron's orchestra.
> It should be pointed out that these early groups didn't consider
> "jazz" bands. It's highly likely they didn't even use that word until
> the ODJB records were issued. It was either orchestra or band.
> So what I'm pointing out here is that to get a truly accurate picture of
> Orleans music and musicians, we need to suspend these rigid organizational
> concepts and adopt more of a view of the overall picture. Just because
> is a sound or a pictorial record of a group's instrumentation doesn't mean
> that it was carved in stone. If a leader was asked to provide a trio, then
> that's what the customer got. The ODJB was a quintet because that's what
> they played with when they started playing in NO. They could just as
> have added a string bass or tuba or banjo or guitar if they wanted to and
> *the money was there.* (And the ODJB used string bass in the 1930s during
> their comeback.
> So, returning to Oliver, adding a second cornet was not really a novelty,
> since, as I pointed out in my previous post, there is evidence that a band
> was using two cornets (the band on the steamer JS) as early as 1918. Don't
> forget that Oliver eventually added a saxophone, and that had already been
> done in NO, too. The trend in the mid-1920s in Chicago was heading to
> bands, moving toward more arranged music rather than the free-wheeling
> ensembles characteristic of the Oliver. When Oliver was playing at the
> Lincoln Gardens with an eight-piece band, other bands in Chicago already
> two trumpets and two reeds.
> Cheers,
> Chris Tyle
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