[Dixielandjazz] Re: Marsalis was Another NY TIMES Jazz Review

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Oct 31 01:39:00 PDT 2004

Hi Arn: 

I'm with you, he does lean towards sociopolitical context with many
presentations and no doubt believes that "Jazz" is tied to America's life
experience. The Ken Burns program and book make that pretty clear. (The book
[and Marsalis] also pays jazz homage to ODJB, NORK, B.G., Jack Teagarden,
and a host of white musicians.) I also agree with Edward Rothstein's

The only point I would make is that the opening programs at Lincoln Center
are aimed at expanding the audience for jazz. They included Blacks, Whites
and Latinos. And as a jazz band leader in the Philadelphia area of the USA,
I can unequivocally state that what Marsalis has done for "jazz" since I
formed my band in 1990 has helped me immensely in creating well paying gigs
with, what was before Marsalis, a generally jazz oblivious audience.

So I am prepared to be pragmatic and accept the fact that nobody else has
either the presence or access to the money to do what he is doing. (I think
most of that money is private subscription) Could somebody else do it
better? I don't know. What I do know is that nobody has and it appears that
nobody else is trying.

IMO as a jazz musician, White or Black is not important. Who gets what
credit is also not important. The music is what's important.

Jazz has been the music of social protest, ever since "That's Why They Call
Me Shine" was written circa 1910. Somebody should reinforce that and we need
the different perspectives of those who were/are involved. We discussed that
song on the DJML a year or so ago, and it was amazing how many people did
not know where, why and how it came about.

My bottom line (IMO) is that Marsalis has done more for the "visibility of
jazz" in the past 15 years then anyone else, and maybe more than everyone
else combined. That's good for the genre, so I cut him a little slack in the
hope that he will lead us out of the non swinging wilderness wherein most
"jazz" currently resides.

Steve Barbone

on 10/30/04 6:35 PM, Arnold Day at arnieday at optonline.net wrote:

Steve, knowing your respect and admiration for Marsalis's talents, it is
with some trepidation that I say "Amen" to most of Rothstein's comments. I
don't know whether taxpayer dollars are involved or not, but think what $128
million could do for jazz in the USA if not all (or much) of it were spent
at the whim of Mr. Marsalis. Almost every program he presents seems to be
more a matter of social preaching and activism than of music. Other than a
begrudging nod in the direction of Bix, he appears to totally disregard the
contribution to jazz of any and all non-African-American musicians. Of
course, this is music to the ears of the Starbucks-and-Fondue crowd, those
PC denizens of New York City. I am not voting for him on Tuesday....so

---- Original Message -----
From: Steve barbone <mailto:barbonestreet at earthlink.net>

Posted without comment, other than to read paragraph 4 and note the
following in context:  "intended to display jazz's broad range, deep
ambition and, not incidentally, ready marketability."

More on that "ready marketability" tomorrow after we perform later tonight
at the Beaux Arts Ball in Philadelphia.

October 30, 2004 - CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK - NY TIMES

With Built-In Tension, Jazz Swings to the Past By EDWARD ROTHSTEIN

Ralph Ellison, who was lured away from the trumpet to become a writer, once
explained that in jazz there is a "cruel contradiction implicit in the art
form." It is a contradiction between the individual and the group, between
solitary assertion and collective cooperation.


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