[Dixielandjazz] Re: Jazz Dissertation

Brian Towers towers at allstream.net
Thu Jul 22 12:42:01 PDT 2004

No point in "flogging a dead horse here."
What Jim Europe; Will Cook  were playing in those early days is a matter of
record. There are plenty of jazz books around which tell the story.  Quoting
from Albert McCarthy's book, page 11 "...a 1914 concert feaured an
extraordinary line-up that included 47 mandolins, eleven banjos, thirteen
cellos, eight violins etc etc "    Does this sound like a jazz band?  Need I
go on?
Some of their material might have reminded us of ragtime, by its sycopation
but not jazz.  There would have been little or no improvisation and they
would have been "following the dots" very closely or playing from the
memorised dots.

Bechet went to Europe with Will Cooke's Southern Orchestra in 1919 but that
is about as close as we can get to a jazz connection for that orchestra in
those early days.

Now, if you wanted to hear black or creole bands playing jazz before the
ODJB's visit to England, in the pre-1917 period, you would have to go to the
bands of Kid Ory, Freddy Keppard; King Oliver, Bunk Johnson etc. None which
recorded before 1917, as we all know.    Also the enthusiasm for the search
for the fabled Bolden cylinder has faded.              Too bad!

Brian Towers
http://hotfivejazz@tripod,com (band web sites)
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stephen Barbone" <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2004 2:51 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Re: Jazz Dissertation

> > "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
> > 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
> > > in London at the moment, one at University College, London...the other
> > > 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,
> syncopated rhythmic excitement. Said Europe to the British, Italian and
> 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. :-)
> Is this what Will Marion Cook played too?
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone
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