[Dixielandjazz] Boring The Audience

Steve Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sat Oct 21 07:12:38 PDT 2006

Dear Cholmondeley:

I appreciate your post and readily accommodate an opinion other than my own.
And yours is a very very valid opinion. In fact it agrees with what I have
been saying/preaching for years. Namely that Dixielanders need to break out
from the old folks venues and start performing more in those public places
where the bulk of the audience is.

Perhaps some of the supposed opinion differences result from where we draw
our experience. e.g. UK and USA venues. The performance of Dixieland is very
different between them.

Actually your opinions are very much like mine. Your 3rd paragraph is
exactly what I have said for about 5 years on the DJML and ever since I
started performing again circa 1990. after a 28 year lay off.

It is also exactly what Branford Marsalis is saying. The charisma, and/or
stage persona is just as important, if not more so, than the musicianship.
Since he used the term "jazz", my opinion is that it includes all genres of
jazz. He is "historically" developed as a musician and knows OKOM as well as
most of us and I don't think he meant to exclude any form of jazz.

Please permit me to have one disagreement with you. Namely that we should
"bury" modern jazz. I agree with the guy that said "Jazz is a big tent.
There is room for all under it." Why should you or I attempt to deny
enjoyment of a jazz genre we don't like, to folks that do?

Bottom line. Here in the USA, unlike your next to last paragraph statement
about the UK, we are not "too busy going to live performances and having a
good time." Simply because there are not enough live performances to go to,
and/or (as a general rule) the existing audience to too old to go out at
night to a club. (yes there are a few people that do, but too damn few)  The
other point of my post was that too many OKOM bands are totally devoid of
charisma, energy and stage personae. Yet they bitch about folks not liking
OKOM? It is not OKOM they don't like, it is the band.

Steve Barbone

on 10/21/06 4:38 AM, Cholmondeley Edkins at chom1ey at yahoo.co.uk wrote:

Dear Steve

I read your message just after arriving home from a shopping mall where a
trad jazz trio of alto, tuba and banjo were performing, provided by the
mamagement. I wish you could have seen it.

Contrary to the thrust of your message, I saw a trio of very proficient
musicians smiling, singing and relating to their audience. I'm sure it was
not the kind of jazz which Branford Marsalis was referring to, which was
most likely more contemporary. They gathered a crowd of people of all ages
especially very young and, older. It was great to see young kids in
strollers smiling and reacting to the music and people of all ages watching
and listening. Admittedly, some teenagers did not show as much interest but,
that is understandable.

I frequently see OKOM bands performing in public places and, even when the
musianship is not the very highest, the music speaks for itself. People love
to see instruments being played by people who are obviously enjoying playing
it to them.

I hope Branford Marsalis is right, and the intellectual and cool forms of
jazz are ready to bury. There is still plenty of danceable, enjoyable OKOM
of the earlier varieties, enough to last a lifetime. I have 78s and LPs I
havent had time to listen to yet. We are too busy going to live performances
and having a good time. If the band has washboard, banjo, tuba etc. who
needs anything else?

I hope that you can accomodate an opinion in the list which varies from your
own. To be consistent with what you said I really think you should have
signed off with "doom and gloom" rather than "cheers"


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