[Dixielandjazz] Re: No Rhythm Front Line

Bill Haesler bhaesler at bigpond.net.au
Tue Jul 27 16:26:32 PDT 2004

Dear frontline musos,
I have been following this thread with a great amount of yawning.
Apart from Mike Woitowicz, who seems to give grudging support to the
practice, we have had no comment from the rhythm people.
Australian frontlines, from the best to the worst, have been doing this
unnecessary 'cappela thing' for at least 50 years and I have always HATED
Why? Because, from the best to the worst, I have yet to hear it pulled off
effectively. Pun intended. For that is what it is.
I cringe every time a frontline man (usually without warning) suggests it.
As do most rhythm people I perform with.
Rhythm sections, however small, can get away without a front man. Or two or
three or four. But rarely vice versa.
Then there are the (mainly 'New Orleans' style) frontliners who, when not
soloing, insist on clapping along on the offbeat. Or, even worse, use a
'slap stick', a tambourine or some-such. Does this reflect a lack of
confidence in their rhythm-mates?
The thing is, that many frontline musicians, unless they also have
experience playing in a rhythm section, can't keep time.
They just think they can. It also makes our job in the engine room much
harder, trying to ignore them.
While on this subject, I will also mention musicians who think they can
sing. And do. On practically every second song. Even in a band with a
singer. Is it ego, or don't they like real singers?
There was a band here in Sydney years ago in which the trumpet, clarinet and
trombone players all thought they could sing. And did.
To the extent that only the first and last tunes in the long brackets were
non-vocal. And, occasionally, not even those!
There now! 
I feel much better.
Very kind regards,
PS: Please don't get me started on that woodblock 'tick-tock' or the
off-beat 'clock' on the snare rim that many drummers now use.

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