[Dixielandjazz] What Music To Play - Was What Music To Listen To

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed Mar 24 09:55:41 PST 2004

> "Phil O'Rourke" <philor at webone.com.au>  wrote (polite snip)
> The New Orleans Bands (not to be confused with bands playing so called "New
> Orleans Revival") played (and recorded) the hit songs of the day.
> Look at the recordings made by Kid Thomas, Cap'n John, Creole George etc;
> those musicians who stayed in New Orleans and worked regularly. The working
> New Orleans Musicians had to play what the customers of the time wanted,
> current pop (now "old" pop) music or not have a job.
> They weren't playing to adoring fans who had to have a band with trumpet,
> trombone, clarinet front line and "standard" three or four piece back line.
> They played at commercial establishments and had to draw enough crowd to
> cover the cost of the band whether it was a six piece group or trumpet,
> piano, bass trio.

Phil's point is a good one. The traditional "working" New Orleans Bands played the popular tunes of the day, especially if
written by a New Orleans composer. Tunes like "When You Wore A Tulip" were routinely converted to "jazz".

Not to different from the way some "working" OKOM bands do it today.

Yet some "Fans" (usually the "knowledgeable" kind) are funny about what "they" consider to be jazz. Did a gig as a sideman at a
jazz society recently. Band used a Bass Sax instead of Tuba or Double Bass, no drum, and included piano and banjo plus the three
horns. Played many of the tin pan alley tunes of the 1920s & 30s. A reviewer characterized the band as playing "Dixieland Lite".
His view? That without a pounding drum and Tuba, and playing "pop" tunes, it couldn't be real Dixieland.

Pity, as that group set a two year attendance record for this "Jazz Society" that day.

Steve Barbone

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