[Dixielandjazz] Re: Sol Yaged

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Mon Mar 15 23:24:48 PST 2004

Dear Bill:

Glad you liked it. He is a marvelous player and I was glad to hear that he is
still at it. I used to see him frequently in the 40s and 50s at the Metropole.

When I get back to NYC next, I'll look him up.

What is amazing, of course, is how little we all know about Yaged and some of
the other great NYC players of OKOM from the 50s through the 70s. E.G. MANY
black players were caught between swing and bop and turned to "Dixieland"
because you could make money there. Not a lot, but more than you could with
swing or bop.

In those years, guys like Roy Eldridge, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Shavers, Vic
Dickenson, et al, all played a lot of really swinging Dixieland, however most
DJMLers would not have ever heard, or known of them as Dixieland players. Even
bassist, Ahmed Abdul Malik became a Dixieland player after several years with
Thelonious Monk. They couldn't play bop, and big band swing was dead. Their
solution was a "swing" based Dixieland which is as close to a description of
what Barbone Street does as you can get. They scratched out a living with it as
I do now, though our style is even more updated. Dyed in the wool "Trad" fans
were/are not our audience. More broadly based "Jazz" fans are.

Many's the time I hear people say before they hear us, "I don't like
Dixieland". Then they hear us and we change their minds. Even that of our bass
player's daughter at 49 years old told me when she met me that she didn't like
Dixieland. Then she heard us and said, "Guess what? I like Dixieland". Go

Others say we don't play Dixieland, but small band swing. That's rot, like our
predecessors. we play improvised polyphonic counterpoint and that's Dixieland
IMO. How you do it is simply a "style".

I think the Jim Uhl Article in a past Mississippi Rag about Conrad Janis
contains a paragraph about NYC's brand of swinging Dixieland, in those years,
as described by Janis. I have it on file and will post it tomorrow as it is an
interesting take on the subject, from a renown "tailgate" player who was there.


Bill Haesler wrote:

> Dear Steve,
> What a great NY Times write up.
> I shall file it.
> It prompted me to look for Sol Yaged records in my collection. (He made his
> first, with Rex Stewart in 1947).
> I could find 2 titles only! With Henry Allen, Coleman Hawkins, JC
> Higginbotham, Lou Stein, Milt Hinton & Cozy Cole from 16 Dec 1957.
> I wonder what this says about me - or Sol Yaged?
> It was Bob Barnard who first told me that Sol Yaged was besotted with
> anything to do with BG.
> On one of Bob's frequent playing trips to New York, Mr Yaged took him on a
> site-seeing tour. They 'just happened' to pass Benny's old house and most of
> the places the Goodman band played over the years.
> Very kind regards,
> Bill.

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