[Dixielandjazz] Dixieland before ragtime? / some reflections

Richard Broadie rbroadie at dc.rr.com
Mon Jan 24 18:02:00 PST 2005

Having played with Johnny St. Cyr, Ed "Montudie" Garland and others from 
that first generation, I can't tell you if their music was labeled Dixieland 
or not, but I know it was performed before the Original Dixieland Jazz Band 
started playing "white" jazz.  I would argue the Blacks were first to play 
what we would call jazz, citing Buddy Bolden and others who predate the art 
of recording much other than "Mary had a little lamb."   If the principle 
question is Dixieland before ragtime, the answer is it was the other way 
around, with Cakewalk dancing on riverboats to ragtime syncopations predated 
anything labeled jazz.

In earlier posts several years ago, I claimed to be 125 years old and that I 
recorded with Buddy Bolden,  a fiction that entertained many, and actually 
fooled a couple of literal interpreters of my comedy.  I can say that nearly 
125 years ago, my grandfather, Herbert H. Broadie, would close down his 
drugstore in Waverly Iowa, pick up his tambourine (which I still have) and 
become Mr. Interlocutor on the Mississippi Riverboats.   My dad, while in 
his teens remembered dancing to Fate Marabel's band on the riverboat.  It 
was with this band that Louis Armstrong left New Orleans ending up in 

I'm fascinated by the history and development of what is known as jazz. 
While not an expert historian, its fun to realize that I was blessed to have 
known and played with some of the music's earliest pioneers (at a time that 
they were my present age or older and I was very young!).    I only wish 
that I'd not sitting at the bar with Hoagy C. (in his Thunderbird Country 
Club home in Rancho Mirage, CA) and Phil Harris the night they told me many 
stories about Bix, when they both knew well.   When I got home the next day 
around noon, my wife asked me what I'd learned about Bix and my response was 
"Bix who?"  Those guys could drink and I couldn't.

 I wish I'd had a tape recorder years earlier when I spent evenings at 
Barney Bigard's Inglewood, CA apartment  listening to early Ellington 
recordings where Barney said things such as "At this point, Ellington asked 
the reed players to trade parts with the brass players.  When we played it 
his reaction was (to no one individual in particular) 'There, now wasn't 
that better?'  The band then recorded the "new" version...."

Tomorrow, I'll get results from lab tests indicating if my cancer has 
returned.  I'm in a plaintive, reflective mood at the moment.  Perhaps I 
should try to share more memories with you  (flawed as they may be) while 
I'm able.

I'll try.

Dick B

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <jazz_trombone at axint.net>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Friday, January 21, 2005 3:09 PM
Subject: RE: [Dixielandjazz] Dixieland before ragtime?

>  Blacks did invent blues. Blues essentially comes from field
> hollers(working in the fields) and from spirituals. Many early blues
> were sung acapella because you very well couldn't be harvesting cotton
> while pickin' a guitar. Blues spoke of their despair of the life they
> were forced into with no way out. While no one knows how old the blues
> is, it can't be older than when the first black indentured servants
> landed in jamestown, Virginia in 1619.
>  As far as dixieland goes, to the best of my knowledge it is a northern
> term. I have no idea if it comes from blacks or whites but as far as the
> musical style goes, I believe that it was invented by blacks as well. It
> probably goes back to the days of the black brass bands.
> MB
>> ps.  I've heard it said that Blacks invented the blues and in the same
>> breath the speaker said "and whites invented dixieland."  I have no idea
>> whether or not any of this is true.
>> BG
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