[Dixielandjazz] Re: Jazz Dissertation

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 22 11:51:55 PDT 2004

> "Brian Towers" <towers at allstream.net> wrote
> Just one snag to the learned Catharine Parsonage's Ph D dissertion - the
> black group that toured Britain in 1919  - "Will Marion Cook's Southern
> Syncopated Orchestra" - was not a jazz band and so comparisons by academics
> with the ODJB invoke the old "comparing apples with oranges" dicta!
> Regards,
> Brian Towers
> From: "James Kashishian" <kash at ran.es> (polite snip)
> > My two youngest sons (twins) are busy writing their Master's Dissertations
> > in London at the moment, one at University College, London...the other at
> > London School of Economics.
> >
> > My son that is at LSE accidentally ran into a Ph.D. dissertation written etc.

Brian, you are opening a can of worms. The abstract Jim provides states that the ODJB
was the "beginning of jazz" in England and that the Will Marion Cook Orchestra was
there too.

What was Cook playing? Who knows.

(Jim, please send me the attachment. I would love to read it all.)

James Reece Europe's band, preceding them both, performed in the Tuileries gardens in
1918 or so, along side the British Grenadier's Band, The Royal Italian Band and the
Band of the Garde Republican. Europe's band may or may not have played jazz, but they
did play music filled with jazz elements. Breaks, Riffs, Trombone smears, and
syncopated rhythmic excitement. Said Europe to the British, Italian and French
bandmasters when asked how he got those sounds:

"We play the music as it is written, but play it in a syncopated manner that is a
racial musical characteristic. I have to call a daily rehearsal of my band to prevent
the musicians from adding to their music more than I wish them to. Whenever possible,
they embroider their parts in order to produce new, peculiar sounds. Some of these
effects are excellent and some are not, and I have to be continually on the lookout to
cut out the results of the musician's originality."

Hmm. Little or no improvisation, syncopated music, peculiar sounds. Sure as hell
sounds like a big band version of the early ODJB recordings to me. :-) VBG.

Is this what Will Marion Cook played too?

Steve Barbone

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