[Dixielandjazz] Tempo markings

Eric Holroyd eholroyd at optushome.com.au
Fri Oct 21 17:32:55 PDT 2005

Hello folks:

Thanks to those of you who got the CD of my Triangle Jazz Band charts, and 
the feedback I've had has been gratifying.

However, in this morning's DJML Digest, Larry Walton made the chance remark:

> the metronome markings that Eric uses seem a little slow overall.

THIS will open a can of worms:

I'm a great fan of Lu Watters and Turk Murphy, and choose to play their 
style of music at the tempos (tempii?) that THEY played - which was always a 
comfortable dancing tempo, which Lu apparently referred to as "Rocking".

During my many visits to USA to play at many and various jazz festivals I 
was always struck by the very fast tempos at which many US bands play 
Watters originals.

If Lu wrote the tune, wouldn't HE have had the best idea of what the tempo 
should be?

I sat through four consecutive performances by popular US bands and enjoyed 
their tight arrangements, good stage presence and instrumental technique - 
but deplored the fast tempos once again.

Each of these four bands played 'Big Bear Stomp' (great programming guys!) 
and ALL were very fast.

Reminiscent of Bechet's 'Maple Leaf Shag' in essence.

Lying in bed that night the reason suddenly came to me!

I do believe that the majority of those wonderful jazz supporters who attend 
those festivals are the REAL reason for the fast tempos - and the LOUD level 
of most of the bands.

They are mostly 'Party Animals' - and there's nothing wrong with that - but 
that's how THEY seem to like their jazz: Loud and fast!

And THEY are the ones who dictate which bands get to play at the festivals, 
for they diligently fill in their questionaires at the end of each festival, 
and in answer to the question, 'Which bands should we program to ensure that 
YOU attend our next festival?' they'll answer with the names of the loudest 
bands which play the loudest tempos.

There are exceptions of course, but I won't embarrass anyone by naming 
names, and some of the really famous West Coast bands still 'get away' with 
playing slower tunes at lower volume now and then.

All of this is my own, very personal, opinion - but after ten years of 
attending festivals from LA to Vancouver I DID notice a gradual increase in 
both tempo and volume of many bands.

So, to get the REAL tempo of West Coast tunes, listen to Lu and Turk...

To close on another note: I wish they had never invented the REPLY button 
which really does get an awful lot of use on this list.

I've just ploughed through three digests, and each of them was filled with 
the complete email to which they were replying - apart from one by Steve 
Barbone, which had a line saying something like >remainder of post was 

Goodonya Steve!

If anyone needs any help in learning how to edit unwanted sections before 
pressing the Send button I'd be happy to oblige.

It only takes seconds, and helps readers SO much.

Kind regards,  Eric
Web:  http://members.optushome.com.au/eholroyd/

Kind regards,  Eric
Web:  http://members.optushome.com.au/eholroyd/

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