[Dixielandjazz] Re: No Rhythm Front Line

Tom Wood zenith at ans.com.au
Tue Jul 27 17:09:18 PDT 2004

Dear Bill & DJMLers,

YOU GOT MY VOTE, I AGREE WITH YOU BILL.  I think I commented on this once
before saying that to produce our Live Performance CDs we regularly had to
spend time cutting out band vocal choruses which also luckily brought the
number length down to a manageable 5 minutes because of the dancers needing
longer exercise time.  I forget who told me but a record producer said once,
"why is it that band members (usually the leader) in jazz groups with no
formal training feel obliged to sing?, I usually don't select it for a
recording".  At least when the audience request the Saints or similar in our
group and the front line goes walkabout to the end of a large hall we all
still manage to have the same time when they return to the stand.  Our band
has two front line singers and also calls on many REAL guest vocalists.

Tom (can't sing, rhythm player) Wood

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Haesler" <bhaesler at bigpond.net.au>
To: "dixieland jazz mail list" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 9:26 AM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Re: No Rhythm Front Line

> 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
> it.
> 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
> 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
> 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,
> Bill.
> 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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