[Dixielandjazz] Re: THE BLUES

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Sep 29 20:05:27 PDT 2003

> Nancy Giffin <nancyink at ulink.net> wrote:
> Oh man, I was so into the soul connection these guys were making that I
> wasn't hardly listening to the music. Scorsese bringing things full-circle,
> filming a Black American jammin' with his contemporary in West Africa --
> what a trip!

I'm with you, Nancy. The American and the West African in Mali were speaking the same language as I heard them jamming. Musically I thought there was a definite relationship. I also thought the American reed (like in bamboo) player and his
drummers sounded quite a bit like their African fore bearers. For my ears, a clear link to the music of the Blues and the African Roots.

> Son House (I think) said the blues weren't the blues unless you were singing
> about a man and a woman. Willie King said that the blues lyrics, often about
> a man being treated badly by his woman, were a means for blacks to openly
> complain about mistreatment by their masters.

Like a code word song. We still have plenty of those around in both JAZZ and BLUES. He also said if it ain't about a man and a woman, it ain't the blues.

> The film didn't tell us much about John Lee Hooker, other than to show how
> blues with a dance beat appealed to white folks. I wonder if buddy Wiggins
> would share some stories about his experiences working with him. Tom?

I think there will be more on John Lee Hooker as the series progresses. Maybe even tonight. Unfortunately though, I do not think the series tells us why the BLUES has a mostly "White" audience today. Barbone Street played 2 Blues Festivals
this year and like OKOM Festivals, the audience was almost exclusively white. The bands were evenly split between black and white.

These were real blues Festivals with us as the only JAZZ band at one, among 12 bands, and one of 2 Jazz bands at the other, among 14 bands. (The other jazz band was modern jazz, Bootsie Barnes who has a large following in Philadelphia)

Don't expect a lot of Jazz mentions in this series. Sure, Bessie Smith and some others will be mentioned, she was a Blues singer. The series is about BLUES which is a distinct musical genre from Jazz even though there may be some crossover.
JAZZ had it's program with Burns, this is not a reprise, but rather a very different musical story.

Steve Barbone

PS. Barbone Street usually plays a couple of "Blues" Blues on gigs and we are always thrilled at the reaction from the audience as they get down and dirty on the dance floor.

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