[Dixielandjazz] Tailgate Trombone

Dan Augustine ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu
Fri Feb 27 12:16:49 PST 2004

     OK, folks, this topic has been rattling around in my noggin like 
a festering marble in an empty clothes-dryer (not a flattering image 
of the furnishings of my mind, i grant you) ever since i told y'all 
about the Tim Laughlin CD _The Isle of Orleans_.
     There are two trombone-pickers on the CD, Rick Trolsen and Lucien 
Barbarin, and both of them are excellent.  However, i think i enjoy 
Lucien Barbarin's playing a little more because of his 'tailgate' 
trombone style and humor.  It reminds me of good ol' Freddie 
Assunto's style of playing, which i always enjoyed so much, with 
puckish jabs (or japes) at odd rhythmic points, 'smears' (the 
trombonical portamento, although called glissando by some), and 
slightly irreverent comments on the song (or the players).
      It got me to thinking, though (or what confused jumble of 
thoughts passes for it in my dryer), about the current state of 
tailgate trombonery, to which i am going to defer to the resident 
trombonists on the DJML (and elsewhere, and others), to wit: is 
anyone playing this style much any more, other than (say) Lucien 
Barbarin?  Wycliffe Gorden does this kind of style at times, and with 
incredible chops, and there are several others around the country 
doing it, but i can't think of their names right now.
     And in the past, who can we say played this style?   Kid Ory, 
certainly, and Freddie Assunto, but who else?  Would you say our 
esteemed colleague Mr. Jim Beebe played in that style (it was great, 
whatever pigeonhole we try to cram it into).  George Brunis probably, 
eh?  How about Santo Pecora and Jack Delaney (i hear echoes of 
Freddie Assunto in Delaney's playing)?  I'm surely leaving out lots 
of players here, but (!) that's why i'm asking YOU.  We don't need to 
get exhaustive here, but just the main exemplars.
     Listmate Brian Towers (himself a fine trombonist) mentioned in a 
post back in May of 2002 some players and characteristics of the 
tailgate style:

         "In so far as "what is tailgate?"  I believe it relates to the
          original traditional New Orleans style of trombone playing
          (Ory, Brunis, Archey, Palmer, Dutrey, Jim Robinson etc defined
          it) Players like Jim Snyder do it well in recent times.   Lots
          of long slurs or smears and a punchy rhythmic style.  In the
          ensemble - one foot in the rhythm section and one foot in the
          front line could be one description of the role."

     Anyway, i prowled around the web and found Lucien Barbarin's 
website (http://www.lucienbarbarin.com/index.php) and ordered a CD of 
his called "Lucien Barbarin & the Palm Court Swingsters", and it's 
fine and fun.  On his website he even has a page where he says (for a 
proper remuneration, i'm sure) he might be willing to give lessons 
(nice to see something like that).
     Keep tailgate alive!

**  Dan Augustine     Austin, Texas     ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu  **
**    "I am sitting in the smallest room in the house.  I have your   **
**     review in front of me.  Soon it will be behind me."            **
**       -- Max Reger (1873-1916) to a music critic                   **

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