[Dixielandjazz] ODJB

Stan Brager sbrager at socal.rr.com
Mon Nov 17 08:00:46 PST 2003

Well, you've done it again, Steven. You've raised a hornet's nest of outrage
with your comments about the ODJB.

I must admit that there is a lot of truth to what you say. For many years, I
listened to ODJB and I listened to John Coltrane and I tried to hear what
all the shouting was about. Most certainly, this was the most primitive jazz
(?) which I had ever heard.

Yet, one day, I spoke with Rosy McHargue and he told me that he got
interested in jazz hearing the early recordings by the group. Others, I soon
found out like Bix and Benny Goodman had also heard and were influenced by
the ODJB. NORK was another early group in the ODJB mold but perhaps a bit
more restrained. If nothing else, they turned on the light for the men and
women who came after them.

>From our viewpoint today, it's very difficult to listen to their early
recordings and say "that's jazz!". But, give a listen to the same music as
re-created by Dan Levinson's Roof Garden Orchestra in good fidelity and
maybe you'll hear jazz.

By the way, I did connect with Coltrane and his music.

Stan Brager

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stephen Barbone" <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>
To: "Dixieland Jazz Mailing List" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2003 2:08 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] ODJB

> 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
> Jr.
> 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
> recordings?
> 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
> years?
> Cheers,
> 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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