[Dixielandjazz] Re: Audience etiquette

Charles Suhor csuhor at zebra.net
Mon Dec 20 12:11:31 PST 2004

On Dec 20, 2004, at 12:30 PM, Steve barbone wrote:
> Regarding "making a statement" those in the forefront of "modern" jazz 
> would
> say most OKOMers are merely repeating musical statements and/or musical
> problems that were solved in their entirety decades ago. :-) VBG.
> Their view of "making a statement" is their exploration of new musical
> pathways for better or for worse.
> I am not agreeing with the above two paragraphs so, list mates, please 
> don't
> shoot the messenger. ;-) VBG
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone

Steve and amigos, I'm concerned here that many lovers of traditional 
and Dixieland jazz are still fighting the "Dixieland vs. Be-bop" wars 
of the late 40s and early 50s. In those years many writers like Feather 
and Ulanov were constantly putting down the former as reactionary and 
claiming the latter was superior. But I don't think that's where most 
who are in the forefront of jazz criticism and history are today.

Worse, any suggestion that jazz has developed or evolved (which all 
arts of course do) is seized upon by some early jazz lovers as another 
statement of the superiority of modern jazz.  If you acknowledge that 
Bartok's harmony and rhythm were more complex than Bach's, or that 
pointillist brush technique was more refined than medieval paintings, 
you're not necessarily saying that Bartok was superior, or berating 
medieval art. So why is it anti-early jazz to say that Bird, Diz, etc., 
made use of a wider range of harmonies and rhythms in their 

The new in art evolves and develops from and/or in contrast  to the 
old, and this often brings temporary charges of the latter being 
outmoded, passe. But history is smarter than that. I may be wrong, but 
I think I've seen most people wisely taking the longer view of jazz, 
except for a few modern jazz snobs hanging on to their egos, and a few 
early jazz fans reading snobbishness into reasoned statements about the 
progression (not the "progress") of  jazz over the years, In fact, 
we're lucky in jazz to be having practitioners today who play 
inventively within the early styles as well as many working creatively 
in modern and avant garde jazz.

Ouch, I've gotten off on a pet gripe of mine, so don't take this just 
as a reaction to Steve's note. I've been nailed a couple of times for 
praising jazz from many eras and saying, God forbid, that it has 

Charlie Suhor

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