[Dixielandjazz] High Society

David Richoux tubaman at tubatoast.com
Thu Oct 13 16:16:29 PDT 2005

It is interesting to note that the anonymous jazz authority Wikipedia 
has this to say about that:

> Picou is perhaps best known for originating the clarinet part on the 
> standard "High Society". Some have mistakenly stated that he wrote the 
> number, which was actually a 1901 marching band composition by Porter 
> Steele. Picou rearranged it giving it a gentle swing and paraphrased 
> the Piccolo part to create his famous clarinet solo. This became a 
> local standard part, and no younger New Orleans clarinetist was 
> considered proficient until he could duplicate Picou's part. Unusually 
> in a music that values improvisation it became a set piece; commonly 
> later clarinetists would solo once through reproducing or sticking 
> close to Picou's solo, and then do their own improvisations on a 
> second solo.

I, for one, do not care if any clarinetist does or does not play the 
exact replication of the famous solo - I actually have several 
recordings of Picou doing slightly different versions himself! The main 
thing is to make Hot Jazz and entertain the audience (not just the 
"Trad Nazis" who want every song to be done exactly as the "Original 
Version ®." ) (BTW, this is not a flame against those who do like bands 
to only play the "Original Version ®." ;-)

I think I have more than 100 recorded versions of High Society - I have 
played most of them on my show - some do and some don't "follow the 
Picou rule..."

Dave Richoux

On Oct 13, 2005, at 2:56 PM, Barrie Walter Marshall wrote:

> Paul Edgerton said:
> The rest of us are just trying to come up with a better solo for "High
> Society
> I was playing clarinet (an E.J Albert Simple System in those days I 
> still play Boehm amd Simple)  in my first parade with a New Orleans 
> Marching Band in about 1984, when the lead trumpet came up with High 
> Society, I did not know the clarinet solo not even the important bit 
> the first 8 bars, I just improvised, after we finished the band leader 
> came over to me, I thought I was going to maybe get some harsh words, 
> but I was wrong this is what he said, "Thanks for not trying to play 
> that clarinet solo, they all try and they never get it right, nobody I 
> know plays it as Picou did" I still cant play it apart from the first 
> 8 bars!
> Just for the sake of interest does anybody have the correct dots for 
> it, it would be interesting to see. I can read a little.
> Barrie Marshall

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