[Dixielandjazz] Re: NEW TUNES FOR OKOM?

Charlie Hooks charliehooks2 at earthlink.net
Fri Jun 17 22:43:47 PDT 2005

On Friday, June 17, 2005, at 08:47 PM, Dan Augustine wrote:

> (I never have understood why you can't do dixieland-waltzes.)

But of course you can.  There's Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz," 
there's Steve Allen's "Gravy Waltz."   There's Ann Ronell's "Willow, 
Weep for Me."  There's "Hello, Young Lovers," written in 3, which, if 
you haven't played, you have a revelation coming. (You ought to hear 
Russ Phillips play it in 4 at a lightspeed pace!)  There's...oh, 
hell, there's a million of 'em: "I'll See You Again," one of Noel 
Coward's most poignant tunes...almost as gripping as Irving Berlin's 
"What'll I Do?"   C'mon: THINK, people!  You ever try the 12 bar 
blues in 3?  No? Try it. Another revelation.

Truth is: jazz waltzes are some of the most wonderful OKOM music 
around.  Eubie Blake once told me he deliberately wrote his songs so 
that they would work in either 3 or 4.  He said he was working on the 
edge of the popular change over from waltzes to 2-step, and he needed 
to touch both bases.  And sure enough: if you try almost any Eubie 
tune, it will swing in either direction.  Try "Memories of You."  You 
never realized...right?

Jazz waltzes can swing their asses off; and because they can, they 
are great fun to play in normal dance tempos.  But:

Then try my favorite hustle: a superslow downhome black blues tempo, 
but separated into triplets on every beat, making a 9/8, but actually 
playing eighths and sixteenths. Dooba dooba dooba do daht daht like 
Hubert Lawes, the great black flutist back in the seventies who 
recorded "Come, Ye Disconsolate"...ooh, man!  Ain't nothin' more 
total downhome feel than on that cut!  It's pure Southern black 
church, and there ain't nothin' homey-er than that.  You might have 
to explain briefly to white audiences where you're coming from 
initially, but they"ll hear it soon enough.  It's irresistible. 
Blacks need no explanation. They'uz born hearin' it!

Time to crash: fun to write, but too much of The Creature, as me 
Irish ancestors accurately described him.  But I have re-read and 
find nothing reprehensible.


"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading."--Paul 

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