[Dixielandjazz] ODJB

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Mon Nov 17 14:21:36 PST 2003

In a message dated 11/17/03 9:14:45 AM Pacific Standard Time, 
barbonestreet at earthlink.net writes:

> There will always be different views, for example, about whether is was
> Armstrong who fathered "swing" or somebody else. The main point to be
> made is that the music is colorblind and when you hear it without seeing
> who was playing, you cannot tell race, creed or religion of the player
> with any certainty, except where certain stylists are readily
> identifiable by the uniqueness of their sound.
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone
Seldom do we disagree, Steve, but to my ears, I hear differences in Black 
American Jazz and Blues players all the time and can usuallly tell a Black Band 
when I hear it on the radio without knowing who they are or seeing them.   I 
guess it comes from working with them for so many years and being able to hear 
and feel their musical accents.

I also hear the difference in British, German and Dutch, and French and other 
European bands as compared with Black American players.   Many of them are 
indeed great players, but the tones, and mannerisims and styles are distinctly 
different to my ears.

If this was not true I would not get constant requests for Black American 
musicians to come to Europe and play.   Obviously I am not the only one who hears 
this.   I have in the past been chastised for bringing Black American Blues 
and Jazz singers to festivals with White players or even using European bands 
to back them.

There is indeed something unique about Black American Music that is 
distinguishable, just listen to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Kermit Ruffins, any 
number of New Orleans Brass Bands  recordings side by side with most White 
Dixieland Bands recordings.

This is why I seem to often have a hard time discussing Dixieland Music on 
the list and put my foot in my mouth far too often.

I have always viewed Traditional Jazz as being Black American rooted music 
and Dixieland as predominately White Jazz, and there is nothing wrong with 
either.   Perhaps we all just get it confused when we try to put all Jazz in the 
same box, and get it out of perspective.

I certainly do not have the background or expertise of the majority of the 
players and historians on this list but I do know what I hear, and if I have 
bought into the New Orleans MYTH about Jazz originating from Early Gospel, Blues 
and Jazz of Blacks in the South then I shall reamina an outcast ont he 
Dixieland Purist list for sure.  Or at best be dismissed as a non believer and true 
follower.   Well so be it.   But I hear a difference int he music almost 
immediately, unless the Black musicians are trying desperately to sound White, as 
many of them have done thinking it was necessary to get employment.

I dare say you can take any number of Black Musicians and have them play with 
a white band and they will not sound Black, but take those same musicians and 
put them into an all Black Band hired to play for a Black audience and you 
will hear a totally different sound.

Many Black American musicians have been re-trained to play music the way they 
think White folks want it to sound, but what they missed in most cases is 
that the White folks really want to hear it played the way they play it for Black 
audiences.  At least in my experiences and opinion.

Music written and arranged on sheet music is more than likely colorblind, but 
the way it is played in my opinion is not.


Tom Wiggins

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