[Dixielandjazz] SOME classical musicians

Charles Suhor csuhor at zebra.net
Sun Mar 27 19:40:58 PST 2005

On Mar 27, 2005, at 8:11 PM, Bill Biffle wrote:

> ... I had the definite impression that everyone
> thought the legit players were inferior to the jazz players.  They had 
> to
> have music to be able to play.

As a kid I always saw it as self-evident that a competent jazz 
improviser was, prima facie, a talented natural musician. It was the 
young classical players who needed to prove themselves by interesting 
interpretation, sensitive ensemble playing, etc.

That wasn’t the conventional wisdom in the 50s, though. So my Master’s 
thesis at Catholic U. in Washington, D.C. in 1957 was a comparison of 
jazz-oriented and “legit-only” music students in several universities. 
The comparisons of performing experience, grades in music and other 
subjects, scores on the Seashore Music Test, and informational 
knowledge of jazz and classical items resulted in a sweep for the 
jazz-oriented students. Just what I hoped to see, but I swear I didn’t 
tilt the data. I summarized it in a Down Beat article in 1963. It all 
seems tame now, but it was pretty bold in its day.

Charlie Suhor

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