[Dixielandjazz] Condon called it Music.

Steve Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Feb 4 13:32:54 PST 2007

Russ Guarino asked what we call it when people ask; What kind of music do
you play.

I answer "Jazz, America's Music". Then, if further questions arise, go from
there to "Dixieland, New Orleans Jazz and Swing", because that is what we
play more narrowly defined.

Eddie Condon called it "MUSIC". Perhaps because, if the assertion in the
below clip about the book is true, in the 20s/30s; "'Jazz' was popularly
associated with Paul Whiteman and Irving Berlin. It is a GREAT book for
realizing what Condon thought about Jazz as opposed to what the audience
thought about jazz. May also shatter some of our illusions about Jazz as
America's popular music back then.

It is available in paperback. And for those who have not read it, a MUST
READ if you seek to understand the historical context of "Jazz" during that
time in the USA.

Especially relevant is why Condon considered "true" Jazz an outlaw music and
why he considered himself and the gang, outlaws. Which also relates to some
of the divisions today in OKOM players and audiences about the music.

Steve Barbone 

WE CALLED IT MUSIC, A Generation Of Jazz
Eddie Condon & Thomas Sugre
Da Capo Press, 1992 (first published in 1947 & 1962)

Eddie Condon (1905-1973) pioneered a kind of jazz popularly known as
Chicago-Dixieland, though musicians refer to it simply as Condon-style.
Played by small ensembles with a driving beat, it was and is an informal,
exciting music, slightly disjointed and often mischievous. The same could be
said of Condon's autobiography, We Called it Music, a book widely celebrated
for capturing the camaraderie of early jazz. . .

These were the days when jazz was popularly associated with Paul Whiteman
and Irving Berlin. Condon considered true jazz an outlaw music and himself
an outlaw. He and his cohorts tried to get as close as possible to the black
roots of jazz, a scandalous thing in the '20s. Along the way, he facilitated
one of the first integrated recording sessions.

We Called It Music, now published with a new introduction by Gary Giddins
that places the book in its historical context, remains essential reading
for anyone interested in the wild and restless beginnings of jazz, or in the
wit and vinegar of Eddie Condon.

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list