[Dixielandjazz] Tempo markings

Eric Holroyd eholroyd at optushome.com.au
Sat Oct 22 01:44:28 PDT 2005

>From Eric Holroyd
Web:  http://members.optushome.com.au/eholroyd/

Hello Stan:

> You have indeed opened a can of worms regarding the tempo of the times.


> My experience as a listener is that while the recorded tempo is often
> considered the "standard" for a tune, it is not always the same as how the
> band will play a tune in front of the public.

Could that be part of the point I was making?

ie if they're playing for a 'Party Animal / Festival Crowd' it'll be faster, 
but if playing for knowledgeable cognoscenti they'd play it slower...

> Furthermore, musicians who  have recorded a work several times will do it 
> at a faster or slower tempo
> than their first recording. This is true for classical music as well as 
> jazz.

And in both instances it may well be as a result of a direct 'request' from 
the person footing the bill for a recording.
> What's important is whether or not the players are comfortable with the
> tempo which at which a tune is played.

Surely not ALL of those bands I heard at West Coast festivals with their 'el 
furioso' tempos were comfortable with the tempos at which their leaders 
kicked in a tune?

Unless you're Dizzy or Maynard it's not easy to construct a meaningful solo 
at 220 clicks or so...

> Speaking of Lu Watters, there are 2 cuts each of "Big Bear Stomp", 
> "Emperor
> Norton's Hunch", "Annie Street Rock" and several others of his 
> compositions
> on the Good Time Jazz compilation of the complete Yerba Buena Jazz Band
> recordings. If I have time later, I'll listen and let you know if Lu held
> the tempii on both cuts of the same tune. Perhaps others who've heard Lu's
> band will chime in with their recollections.

I have the Good Time Jazz compllation of the YBJB recordings, as well as 
many other LPs, CDs and cassettes so can listen again if I need to. But I 
don't think I need to do that.

I stand by my contention that he and Turk played the music at a good dancing 
tempo with plenty of soul.

I was never priveleged to have heard Lu's band live, but I heard Turk's band 
quite a few times and always felt that he was one of the most 'true to the 
music' guys I ever came across.

The wonderful Bay City Jazz Band with a young Ev Farey knew how to play a 
good tempo too.

As does Bob Schulz and one or two others in the Bay Area and the San Joaquin 

Best to all


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