[Dixielandjazz] Creating and Recreating

Vaxtrpts at aol.com Vaxtrpts at aol.com
Tue Sep 20 09:08:03 PDT 2005

In a message dated 9/20/2005 8:23:30 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  
dixielandjazz-request at ml.islandnet.com writes:

How is  this relevant to enjoying OKOM? You professional jazz people have
your own  brand of tunnel vision: when you put down mouldy figgism, you
ignore the  fact that the music the dead guys recorded had its own aesthetic
validity  that exists regardless of what they might have done later in life,
and  therefore will grab 
some folks who listen to music purely to enjoy it and  others who play music
for enjoyment.
David W. Littlefield,  Piano, Guitar, Banjo, Washboard  

Ah, David, you hit the proverbial "nail on the head!"  The "dead guys"  
played it GREAT!
By just recreating something that will never be done as well as the  original 
players did it, you are in my opinion, doing a disservice to their  legacy.  
THEY would not have wanted their music recreated note for  note.  
I know for a fact -- after hanging out with people like Louis Cotrell, Frog  
Joseph, Sweet Emma Barrett, Placide Adams, Percy Humphrey, Freddy Kohlman,  
Wallace Davenport, Pappa French, Alvin Alcorn, and many others during  my time 
in New Orleans more than 25 years ago, that they were always  searching for new 
ways to play the music that they had been playing for so  long.  They didn't 
just want to recreate what they had done 40 - 50  years earlier and they 
didn't want to hear younger guys like me do it  either.
I love this music because of the freedom it gives the musician to "be their  
own person."
If you want to recreate old music, then that is your prerogative.  And  I am 
sure that you do it well, and that you have an audience that will  listen.  I 
just don't feel that it should be called "Jazz."  The term  I like to use for 
that kind of playing is "Early 20th century American popular  music."  That is 
NOT a put down, it just describes the kind of music you  are playing.  As I 
said before, for ME -- in order for it to be called jazz  music, there needs to 
be creativity and improvisation.
Mike Vax

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