[Dixielandjazz] OKOM, it don't mean a thing, strong opinions, European soccer fans and castrotos

David Story daveplaysthepiano at hotmail.com
Fri Mar 11 06:34:31 PST 2005

Interesting thread.

The score I have will be followed by the judges. The Ellington chart is
quarter note at 212 BPM. If and when the kids can perform it at that tempo
the bass will be walking half notes at 106 BPM. It is not a stock chart, all
the original solos are in the arrangement, including the original wee big
band of 3+3+2+4.  Professionally I've always played this chart in a fast 4,
I was surprised with this version, until we played it. It works nicely. The
drum part is completely notated from beginning to the end, it is complex and
obviously not a stock beat. I agree "stocks" always have drum beats which
are completely irrelevant.

The "stock" of Christopher Columbus is problematic though. The chart came
with a walking bass line, but when we performed it the adjudicator, changed
it to a 2 beat, the groove settled immediately. So we kept it. The piano
parts in each of these charts is the same, ragtime comping is how I'd
characterize it. In Ellington preamble written by Wynton, he discusses these
piano parts, apparently Ellington played that way in the early years, even
to the point of hamming it up.

The input I've had has been interesting. Creative discussions and input was
the main reason I joined this list, so far I've not be disappointed. One
observation I made years ago is the heartfelt passion of jazz  musicians and
their particular take on the art form. Jazz musicians are never timid in
their assessments of each other, jazz history, or themselves. I think the
only other group as passionate as us are European soccer fans.


David, "fully intact" Story

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David W. Littlefield" <dwlit at cpcug.org>
To: "David Story" <daveplaysthepiano at hotmail.com>;
<dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2005 1:13 AM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] OKOM, it don't mean a thing

> At 10:36 PM 03/09/05 -0500, David Story wrote:
> >The arrangement we are using is a transcription from 1932. It is
> >by Warner brothers through the efforts of jazz a Lincoln Centre and
> >M. I believe we could call it traditional jazz,
> Hi David.
> No question in my mind that late 20s-early 30s Ellington is OKOM--it just
> ain't dixieland...
> The original stock chart of "It don't mean a thang" is a cover of the
> original record with Ivie Anderson. Available from Jim Jones YesterTunes.
> I strongly disagree with playing these 3 tunes as conventional 2-beat ala
> the charts. They ought to be played as 4-beat and at tempos that make
> 4-beat more appropriate. If you play 'em 2-beat, you'll castrate 'em.
> "Christopher Columbus" is a *groove* tune, and 2-beat don't groove. "It
> don't mean a thing" *drives*--if I recall correctly, you can key the tempo
> on the dandy sax solo, which really wants 4/4. And "Black bottom stomp" is
> a 4-beat butt kicker.
> I had several years experience with stock charts and the drum parts didn't
> provide much if any "kick" to the jazz tunes--they pretty much sucked.
> one could say for the rhythm parts is that at the right tempo the rhythm
> section as a unit could convey a 4/4 feel, if it played somewhat
> aggressively and with "pop".
> --Sheik
> >all the classic elements are
> >there, to quote Marsalis, " this arrangement has historical ties to the
> >oom-pah of the marching band, the left hand of ragtime and the straight
> >beat feel of the early Broadway musical... while it is felt on beats 1
> >3, it features slap bass-accents on 2 and 4...." We dropped the vocal,
> >substituting the jazz violin of Stephan Grapelli.
> >
> >Compare the rhythm section of this piece with "Black Bottom Stomp" 1926
> >Jelly Roll Morton. The rhythm parts are very similar.  Bass in two, drum
> >going om pa (ok, boom chuck). Piano solo is stride left hand throughout.
> >
> >The arrangement we procured of Christopher Columbus has the same rhythm
> >up as the other two, the tempo is different. With careful listening an
> >original recording we rewrote the bass part, abandoning the walking bass
> >the traditional 2 feel, added a trumpet solo and viola.

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