[Dixielandjazz] ODJB

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Nov 16 17:08:22 PST 2003

Why all the flap about the ODJB as being so important to the development
of jazz?

The style in which they played had disappeared by about 1925, less than
a decade after they became popular. (except perhaps as cartoon music in
the movies) And to this day NOBODY plays in that style. It remains the
only style of OKOM that NOBODY is copying today. Excepting Nick LaRocca

Why? Because it was not really very jazzy, contained a lot of hokum and
had virtually no improvisation. That kind of music is very stultifying
to play and very boring to most listeners.

And don't argue Bix was an ODJB follower. His playing, both in his own
bands and as a sideman in other bands was nothing like what ODJB, or
Nick LaRocca played. And when he played "their" songs (if indeed they
wrote them without stealing) they sounded completely different.

It is very funny to hear some folks say on one hand that Bix was mainly
influenced by ODJB, and then hear tham deny a Louis Armstrong influence
because "he didn't sound like Louis". Just shows a kind of double
standard because he doesn't sound like ODJB either.

Bix was Bix, ODJB was ODJB and Louis was Louis. Bix's style lives to
this day. Louis' style lives to this day. ODJB? Their style has been
dead a long time.

Their contribution to jazz? The initial records. Getting the audience
interested. Even on records, within 5 years, others had contributed a
hell of a lot more. Who knows what the others had done prioir to

One might also consider that Sudhalter's book, Lost Chords, spends all
of it's energy on those who influenced a type of jazz (OKOM) which is
virtually ignored by the mainstream of jazz today. Why then are we so
concerned about "contributors"? Shouldn't we be more concerned with OKOM
"innovators", or more specifically the lack thereof over the past 50

Steve Barbone

PS. Don't ignore us Italians either. Note that on one hand that
Sudhalter did, but at least he wrote a sentence in "Lost Chords" that
someone "should write a book about the Italian contribution", especially
the "Sicilian School" of clarinetists, Nuncio Scaglione et al, in early
New Orleans Jazz. ;-)

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