[Dixielandjazz] Solos - was bass solos

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Fri Jul 23 10:51:08 PDT 2004

I am not surprised that some members of the DJML do not like solos, much
less bass solos. After all, many of us seem to be listening (?) to a
bunch of mediocre festival bands who don't know how to play jazz much
less solo.

Suggest you all go out and buy some Eddie Condon records and listen to
the solo artistry of Edmond Hall, Brad Gowans, Cutty Cutshall, Vice
Dickenson, Wild Bill Davison, Lou McGarity, Gene Schroeder, Jess Stacy,
Dick Cary, Bob Wilber, Peanuts Hucko, Pee Wee Russell, Bobby Hackett,
Billy Butterfield, Jack Lesberg, Leonard Gaskin, Bob Haggart, George
Wettling, and another 20 of so great jazz musicians he used. Great
soloists all.

Or buy some Sidney Bechet, Kenny Davern, John Windhurst, Dick Wellstood
and Louis Armstrong CDs, to name just a very few of some more excellent
soloist artists.

Or ask Don Ingle to send you his CD of "Chicago Style, The Way It should
Be Played and Was", with Don, Kim Cusack and some other very fine

Or listen to Ed Polcer, John Erik Kellso (trumpets), or Greg Cohen and
Pat Cooke (bassists). Or expand your mind and listen to bassists Ray
Brown, Charles Mingus, Charlie Hayden, Nels Orstead Pederson or tubist
Howard Johnson. Or hundreds of others who are great and near great jazz

Then I suggest you thoroughly read about jazz in Richard Sudhalter's
Book, and about all the great soloists that ARE JAZZ, prior to the
current crop. Read especially his chapter on "Dixieland". Then study his
analysis of all the soloists and their solos, written out for you, and
how they approach their art. What changes they made, how they got around
on their instruments and what they said via the music.

Then realize that those musicians who don't like solos are usually those
who can't put together a musically coherent solo conversation.

Then, realize that what you like or dislike is fine as a personal
opinion and you are entitled to it. But, don't try to convince everybody
else that you are the keepers of the only true pathway. And don't
display your ignorance of what jazz is in such a  closed minded manner.

Perhaps the biggest problem with Dixieland Jazz these days is the
polarization among some "listeners". For many years OKOM festivals all
over the USA have said they are preserving jazz as an art form.
Unfortunately, those in control of the festivals had similar narrow
minded ideas about what Dixieland or Trad Jazz was/is. They told you
what it should sound like, what instruments should be used, what
stylistic form it should take, chock full, chapter and verse, of this
and other nonsense.
And then they presented a lot of mediocre bands among a few excellent
ones. Little wonder many in the USA are folding their tents for lack of

Well meaning, but musically challenged, they didn't acknowledge that the
music is already preserved, all over the world. By the very musicians
who created it. At place like Tulane University, The Smithsonian, The
Library of Congress, and countless venues where it is routinely played
to broader and more appreciative audiences.

Preserve it? Bulls***. They almost embalmed it by choking off
creativity, the vital life force in Jazz.

Steve Barbone

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