[Dixielandjazz] Jazz Fans

Robert S. Ringwald robert at ringwald.com
Fri Jul 2 17:48:53 PDT 2004

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stephen Barbone" <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>
To: "Dixieland Jazz Mailing List" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>; "don
donjones" <donpub at charter.net>
Sent: Friday, July 02, 2004 10:49 AM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Jazz Fans

> Noticed a fan letter in June's "American Rag" stating that the recent
> Atlanta Jazz Party was a waste of talent, because, among other things:
> 1. The writer didn't like the music he was "fed".
> 2. In his opinion, most jazz lovers like polyphonic harmony as in
> ensemble playing over other jazz forms.
> 3. Fine ensemble players were there, but not "utilized" properly in Tpt,
> Cl, Tb front lines.
> 4. Two sets of two guitars, (Howard Alden and Buckey Pizzarelli) was one
> two many.
> 5. Four sets of two reeds (Bob Wilbur and Evan Christopher) supported by
> Mark Shane, Phil Flanagan and Ed Metz Jr. who were about to produce a
> CD, was much too much.
> Now I have no problem with whether a fan likes or dislikes certain jazz
> music, or certain musicians. But, how can one say that Alden and
> Pizzarelli are only worth one set? These two guitarists are among the
> GIANTS of jazz, swing like crazy and play some of the best creative jazz
> one will ever hear.
> Or that Wilbur and Christopher are not worth 4 sets, because it is not
> THE preferred front line? Wilbur has been an OKOM GIANT for 60 years,
> and Christopher is well on his way to achieving that status. Not to
> mention the swinging jazz expertise of Shane, Metz Jr., and Flanagan.
> And then to down the Atlanta Jazz Party very publicly because "most jazz
> fans" prefer a trad front line, playing ensemble in polyphonic harmony?
> Give me a break.
> Dear fans, if you don't like a jazz festival, or jazz party by all means
> make your opinion known, but to that festival or party where they can
> promptly round file it if they choose. As a jazz musician, not dependent
> on festivals, (thank God) I still resent a public criticism via letter
> to the Rag that denigrates some of the finest jazz musicians in the
> world today. And please do not speak for "most fans". If the group at
> Atlanta was making a CD of what you heard, obviously they have a lot of
> fans who they think will buy it.
> Here is what trumpeter Max Kaminski said about the state of jazz so 50
> years ago: (QUOTE)
> "It came out of the raw stuff of life but Jazz, like Dr. Frankenstein,
> had all unwittingly created a monster in its own image. . . the jazz
> addict . . . who, in becoming all hopped up about . . . its significance
> as an art form very nearly snuffed the life out of it. . . Jazz no
> longer belonged to the musicians and the dancers. It was taken over lock
> stock and barrel by the fans, the addicts, the record collectors, the
> amateur critics, the promoters . . . the lecturers, the writers. These
> were the people who now decided what was jazz and what wasn't, who
> dictated how it should be played and upon what instrument, and specified
> who could or could not play jazz."
> Perhaps that is why most jazz fans today are not particularly OKOM jazz
> fans.
> Hmmm, wasn't it Sacramento Jubilee promoters who, a while back, even
> graded the musicians upon their dress? That if you were not in matching
> "uniform" you were downgraded and might not be invited back? Regardless
> of musical expertise? What did that produce besides many bands that
> looked good but played badly at various OKOM festivals around the USA?
> Fooling the jazz addicts?
> Good Heavens, that reminds me of another quote from that venerable swamp
> sage, Pogo who wisely said:
> "We have met the enemy and they is us."
> >From a jazz musician's point of view, there is a positive coming out of
> the demise of many OKOM festivals as we now know them, and from the
> dying off of the current fan base. That positive is then FREEDOM to
> creative the music again and many of us are already there playing OKOM
> for the new, untainted, audience.
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone

Very well said.

How about writing a letter to the Editor of the American Rag stating your
opinions below?

robert at ringwald.com
Placerville, CA USA

P.S.  I doubt if bands are graded down in Sacramento for not dressing alike.
They might be graded down for not dressing cleanly & neatly.  I'll check on
it & report back.

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