[Dixielandjazz] Bass too loud? & Happy Birthday

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Fri Nov 21 10:36:20 PST 2003

Barbone Street's double bassist uses an amp. Tastefully low in "quiet"
or "background" venues, but loud as necessary in "high" noise venues.

He does not solo, plays rhythm only. Regarding soloing, as a Chicago
style band, we would be happy to give him 2 chorus's per song like
everybody else, except drummer. Double bass is a beautiful instrument
and when in the hands of a good jazz musician, should be a front line
player as well as the bottom. You bass players out there, come sit in if
you want some solo space. You may pluck and bow to your heart's content.

Regarding loudness overall, see pages 298 and 299 in Dick Sudhalter's
book, Lost Chords. He writes about the Chicago style of Condon's groups
(perhaps by then New York Style?): "If you could only have heard it back
then," clarinetist Jack Maheu said recently, wonder edging his voice.
"You'd open the door to some little club where those guys - Eddie and
some of his cronies - were playing. And that music would hit you like a
fist, a blast of superheated steam. It was powerful."

"I mean lots of guys today play well but back then it was something
else. The records? Yeah they capture it a bit but you should have heard
what it sounded like live. You wouldn't have believed your ears. It was
the most emotionally powerful kind of jazz I've ever heard, But that's
gone now."

Maheu is in his 70s, I believe and was in New Orleans the last time I
heard. He and a few others like me were lucky enough to hear that power
live. And yes, it was loud. And I am lucky enough to play in a band now
that comes close to that emotional, fiery and sometimes loud style. We
are acoustic except for guitar, bass, vocals, and low register clarinet
solos, but we also know how to blow loud when in large club venues. (250

Regarding Happy Birthday. We announce it and the person's name to the
crowd and ask them to join us in singing the song. Then afterwards, we
wish the person happy birthday again and add. "And now, in the tradition
of Birthday's here at the Brewery, Jack (or Jill) is going to buy
everybody in the place a drink." Always gets a laugh and helps build
audience rapport.

Cheers for fiery music and birthdays
Steve Barbone

PS. We also vary the style of Happy Birthday. First request straight.
Second one Dixieland. Third one Latin Jazz, Fourth one Bach Fugue. Etc.,
etc., etc. Always captures the crowd's attention and breaks up the band
guys. Also sometimes sing How Come Ya Do Me, or Salty Dog with risque
lyrics to birthday girls.

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