[Dixielandjazz] Great Players - Was Great Clarinet Players

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed Mar 24 10:18:20 PST 2004

What determines why we consider a player great? My 2 Cents IMO:

We do, individually and then in groups of like minded enthusiasts.

It's not tone, or soul, or high notes, or low notes, or facility, or
technique etc. Those are only the justification for our opinions,
already formed.

Jazz is what we, "You" or "me" or whomever are. Our individual ears and
mind speak to the greatness of our jazz heroes.

"Jazz" is "conversation". And so our receptiveness is based on what the
ax, or band says to us. Each of us is unique and so our tastes are
differentiated, however slightly from the next person's. And so we hear
what musicians say based upon our own experiences.

Jazz is merely a musical viewpoint. OKOM is conservative and structured,
frozen in time..  Avant Garde is free thinking and continues to see jazz
as a moving target

Interesting case in point. The Mississippi Rag is having a poll on the
"best" drummers. So far Baby Dodds and Gene Krupa are virtually tied for
#1. To me that is a shame in that drumming has progressed a lot since
then. Joe Ascione, Ed Metz Jr. and others are cases in point. And, of
course, modern drummers such as (in my generation) Art Blakey, Max
Roach, Shelly Manne, Jo Jones, Roy Haynes are simply superb also.

For me, to think that the absolute best of any musical form, or music by
a particular musician was half a century ago, or more, and will never be
surpassed is simply not possible.

Yeah Gene and Baby, or Benny and Artie, or Louis and King, were all
great BUT IMO, they have all been surpassed. The King is dead, Long live
the King.

Steve Barbone

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