[Dixielandjazz] Learning Jazz - Was what's wrong with jazz in schools

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 21 20:39:12 PDT 2005

Couldn't resist posting the below part of an interview of trumpeter Shorty
Rogers by Steve Voce circa 1980. This snip gives some insight as to how he
"learned" jazz. (Note that he didn't get along with his theory teacher)

If any list mates are interested in the whole interview, write me off list
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Shorty Rogers Interview Snip - Steve Voce

"I was really very lucky, because I left school at 17 knowing that I had a
job waiting for me. I had been working with a kids' band at a high school
dance. We did them often, made about three dollars a night. This night we
were told that we were having a special guest and sure enough Will Bradley
arrived. He asked if some of the guys could play with him, and we had a jam
session. I was chosen on trumpet, and Will must have liked what he heard,
because later he told me that he was reorganising the band and asked for my
phone number. At that time I listened a lot to Bobby Hackett and Roy
Eldridge. Dizzy Gillespie was just beginning to emerge with some
revolutionary things. Anyway, the Will Bradley-Ray McKinley partnership had
just broken up when I joined the band, and Shelly Manne came in to replace
Ray. That was the first time I met him. Shelly used to sing some of Ray's
vocal numbers, too. I didn't start writing until after I joined the army in
1943. I'd been to the High School Of Music And Arts in New York, and it was
compulsory to take a music theory class, but I didn't like it, I thought it
was a waste of time. I didn't get along with the teachers and I wouldn't do
any homework. Later, in the army band, we had a lot of time on our hands and
I got the urge to write a few things to see what they sounded like. That's
when it began, but of course before the army when the Bradley band broke up,
I went with Red Norvo's small group, which included Aaron Sachs on reeds and
Eddie Bert on trombone. I always admired and got on well with Red, and later
on he married my sister."

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