[Dixielandjazz] Help! What IS "sissified jazz"?

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Tue Jun 14 10:44:32 PDT 2005

In a message dated 6/14/05 10:16:01 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
csuhor at zebra.net writes:

> I don't know what folks are talking about with 
> "sissified" jazz. Can someone pin this down a little by describing the 
> music, and maybe (without hurting anyone's feelings) give an example 
> or two?

Hi Charlie:

I hope this does not offend anyone, but if the shoe fit's you are welcome to 
wear it of course.

In my opinion Sissified Jazz is an attempt at making music by usually an 
amateur band of guys who buy a fake book and put it on the stage and rip through 
it one song after the other, and playing them all in a wimpy "Sunday School" 
sounding fashion, and or delivering them in elevator music (musak) non exciting 
or stimulating fashion.

I have heard many Dixieland Bands that sound like they are playing in Funeral 
parlors with every song sounding like "Abide with Me" so as not to awaken 

I have also heard others attempting to play songs like Tiger Rag which come 
out sounding like What a Wonderful World in the wrong key. :))

Yet others have an extensive list of songs, yet make them all sound like the 
New Christy Minstrels, or the Kingston Trio.  Nothing wrong with either of 
those fine acts either, but folks who somehow get hung up on that one dimensional 
sound of whatever era they got their greatest musical exposure to never seem 
to be able to break away from "their" sound, thus every song they play sounds 
just like the last one and sort of sissifies it.

All groups simply cannot play ALL songs and deliver them professionally and 
with listener appeal, that is how we got "Wedding Bands" and "Variety Bands" 
from folks who try to please everyone all the time by playing just any song they 
want to hear whether or not it fits the instrumentation and ability of the 
band attempting to perform it.

Hence came the term heard all too often on bandstands from these kind of 
bands, "Here is a song by so and so and it goes "Something Like This".  :))

No Guts, No fire in the Belly, No improvisational innovative ideas musically, 
no stage presence, no excitement to turn on an audience, you either have it 
or you don't.  Playing it safe gets sissified and boring to most audiences.  
They rarely sound like "LIVE MUSIC" and actually turn off audiences who come to 
hear "LIVE MUSIC."

But as the French say:   "Those Jazz People love to be bored".


Tom Wiggins

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