[Dixielandjazz] What happened to Jazz?

Larry Walton Entertainment - St. Louis larrys.bands at charter.net
Tue Jan 9 18:42:49 PST 2007

Could it have been that they just got tired of the old stuff and wanted a 
change.  I personally am very tired of two guitars and a drummer and am 
looking for the next new style that will wipe away all the rock as sure as 
rock wiped away everything before it.  Rock isn't forever and when something 
comes along that resonates with the collective soul of the people it will be 
in the past.

Jazz just got too hard to understand by the 50's and lost it's beat in the 
minds of the audiences.  Bop just happened to be among the last major 
innovations of jazz and gets blamed for it's demise.  As I see it in the 
40's a good player could at least come close to the really good players in 
sound and style.  Bop just got too hard to play and instead of copying the 
styles musicians misunderstood (IMHO) or couldn't pull it off in the same 
way that a Coltrane or several others could.

Bop was also a more radical departure that required real listening skills. 
No longer could the listener go away whistling or humming the tune.  The 
beat was gone too.  Rock came along with a hard back beat and everyone, at 
least the kids, listened.  You can't dance to Bop.  Who in the world wants 
to work at having a good time or relaxing. As I see it the last great gasp 
of jazz came when Dave Brubeck hit with Take 5.  Since then it's been a 
slide from the mountain.

Couple all of that with the sin aspect of Rock and Roll.  If preachers had 
gotten up in the pulpit and denounced jazz and if radio stations had jazz 
record breaking sessions the kids would have been drawn to it.  The 
forbidden fruit aspect of early rock was a draw for the kids. The kids 
reasoned that if the preachers and parents hated it so much it must be 
pretty good.

Dancing at least ballroom is pretty much a thing of the past too.  People 
just quit dancing in the 60's and 70's and got a concert mentality.  Dancing 
was a chance to hold a girl close but by the 70's the cool thing was laying 
in a pile and smoking grass.

The only thing that people dance to in any great numbers is C&W.   The 
appeal is that the music is easy to understand, it's fun, has a beat and you 
can go away humming the tune.  Another thing is that it doesn't take a super 
advanced player to play it credibly either.  Jazzers should take a lesson 
from that.
St. Louis
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve Barbone" <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>
To: "DJML" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2007 12:14 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] What happened to Jazz?

>I don't agree with the popular notion that Bop started the decline of trad
> jazz, In fact far from it.
> Trad jazz, e.g. small band Dixieland, Louis Armstrong type stuff etc.,
> started to decline much earlier than when bop became popular as a jazz 
> form.
> Remember, the "West Coast Trad jazz Revival" began in the late 1930's 
> which
> would indicate that trad had been in decline before that time. And during
> the 1930's, Louis was playing with and/or fronting larger dance bands, not
> playing the good old Hot5/7 stuff. He didn't come back to small band
> Dixieland until 1947, during the so-called bop years. He and the All 
> Stars,
> became immensely popular all over again.
> And the "New Orleans Jazz Revival" in NYC started in the mid 1940's when 
> Bop
> was also getting popular. That Revival co-existed nicely with bop into the
> early 1960s.
> Bop itself had a very short life span as "popular" jazz. From about 1945 
> to
> about 1960 by which time it was no longer revolutionary. Miles and Ornette
> then took Bop to other places. Fusion, Free Jazz etc.
> If you want to pin a primary causal factor on the demise of Trad Jazz, 
> IMO,
> it would be "Swing". But even then, we fall into the trap of thinking that
> as one style becomes popular, the other one dies. That is not the case 
> IMO.
> They all coexist together. None really dies, some just become less 
> popular.
> What I remember from the 1950s in NYC was first that bop was already in
> decline. And Swing was also in decline with the breakup of most big swing
> bands. The ex-swing band musicians then became Dixieland players because 
> in
> NYC, at least, Dixieland was booming. More so than bop. Swing players like
> DeParis, Eldridge, Jonah Jones, Vic Dickenson, even Hawkins, and countless
> others all came to play Dixieland.
> But, since neither Swing, nor Dixieland was played for dancers any more, 
> the
> kids had to go elsewhere. And that elsewhere was Elvis, Beatles, and
> countless other Rock bands who were simply playing The Blues for kids who
> liked to dance.
> Much is made over supposed hip bop musicians disrespecting mouldy fig
> Dixieland players and vice versa and a lot of that is politically correct
> bullshit created by the media types. Many of those quotes are taken out of
> context and do not reflect what was really happening on the scene.
> Like when Clifford Brown became known, it was Pee Wee Erwin who told me I
> should listen to him. And Davern was aware of, and saw the positives in 
> Free
> Jazz. He even played it with Archie Shepp, Roswell Rudd Charlie Haden and
> others. Many of the "real" jazz players in the 50s were not only cognizant
> of, but could appreciate what the "other" guys were doing. Even if they
> didn't completely agree with what the others were doing. Contrary to 
> popular
> belief, Dizzy and Louis were GREAT FRIENDS as well as neighbors in Corona.
> What killed trad jazz? The fact that it was no longer being played for 
> kids
> who were interested in Booze, Dancing, Carousing and Hooking Up. It is 
> that
> simple, and any of you old farts out there who went to the Central Plaza 
> or
> the Stuyvesant Casino in NYC in the 40s and 50s will surely remember that
> truly wonderful scene. Too bad it ended.
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone
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