[Dixielandjazz] What happened to Jazz?

Larry Walton Entertainment - St. Louis larrys.bands at charter.net
Wed Jan 10 08:58:43 PST 2007

SB---Actually, the Black Musicians who started bop wanted something that the
white jazz players hadn't heard yet. Plus, the innovators had one thing in
common, they were all virtuosos on their axes. Which you have to be to play
bop correctly.

LW-- Another important thing is that you have to enjoy it.  It seems that 
there is a trend for Black musicians to try to have a Black music that 
others can't or won't do.  They came close with Rap but when there is a buck 
to be made many will jump on the band wagon.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve Barbone" <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>
To: "Larry Walton Entertainment - St. Louis" <larrys.bands at charter.net>; 
"DJML" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2007 10:50 PM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] What happened to Jazz?

> Larry Walton Entertainment at larrys.bands at charter.net wrote:
>> 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.
> Actually, the Black Musicians who started bop wanted something that the
> white jazz players hadn't heard yet. Plus, the innovators had one thing in
> common, they were all virtuosos on their axes. Which you have to be to 
> play
> bop correctly.
> I think they just heard "music a little differently and were able to do 
> more
> technically which enabled them to play what they were hearing. Some of 
> what
> they heard existed in classical music, and in Bix's music. They just took 
> it
> a step further, went to 16th notes and syncopated the rhythm a little
> differently.
>> 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.
> Certainly many jazz players of the times could not play bop. That's why 
> many
> of the out of work Big Band Swing players went to Dixieland in NYC. They
> could play it, and Dixieland was really cooking in NYC until 1960 and 
> still
> going pretty well for a couple of bands until Eddie Condon died many years
> later.
> Remember that Bird was a Blues player. He loved the blues in F. IMO he was
> not so hard to understand. He just thought in 16th notes instead of 8th
> notes. And Clifford Brown swung his ass off. It was the guys who followed
> Bird, Diz and Brownie who became harder to understand. Like Coltrane, or
> Miles after 1960, or Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor and Charlie Haden. Some
> white Dixielander's, like Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd graduated to bop
> briefly in the late 1950s and then went on to avant garde when bop became
> passe in NYC by 1960.
>> 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.
> You could hum some bop, like "Now's The Time". Or even "Confirmation" if 
> you
> took the time to listen a few times. No more difficult then humming or
> playing Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke" today. But, as you say, jazz became 
> much
> more difficult for the average audience member to understand and/or like.
> So what happened? From the audience point of view, it morphed into the
> "Smooth Jazz" of today which may or may not be jazz depending upon how you
> define it, but is quite popular.
>> 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.
> The Preachers did exactly that in 1915 when Jazz became a big hit in 
> Chicago
> with Tom Brown's Band from Dixieland, closely followed by ODJB and the 
> rest.
> The venues filled up after the Preachers complained from the pulpit and 
> the
> Newspapers reported "shrieking women carousing" and "drunken laughter" 
> etc.
> That is exactly what made Dixieland Jazz so popular. You had to wait on 
> line
> to get into the joints. Then it became the "Speakeasy" music of the 
> roaring
> 20's. Al Capone's favorite music. Bathtub Gin, Loose Women, Gangsters, 
> were
> all part of the appeal.
> Even in NYC the joints were owned by the mob. Cotton club, et al. Slumming
> in Harlem by bored white folks with money etc. There was no "art"
> connotation. It was booze, broads and gangsters. In Harlem it was Duke
> Ellington's Jungle Music, with light skinned black girls dancing on a 
> stage.
> In front of a Whites only audience. It was hep to be a jazz fan, and
> slightly wicked to be a jazz flapper. If you are over 70 and from a middle
> class background, think back to what your parents thought about jazz, jazz
> musicians, and libertines.
> Not you Don Ingle, your dad was a jazz musician. :-) VBG.
>> 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 musicians were all cool then too and smoking grass. Even those playing
> Dixieland. The dancing venues like Central Plaza, Stuyvasent Casino, Glen
> Island Casino, Savoy Ballroom all faded away by roughly 1960. But the kids
> still danced and/or swayed. Those venues morphed into Discos and exist 
> today
> as Stadiums. Yes, there is more visual "show" but the kids still form mosh
> pits and rub up against each other. Maybe not the way we danced, but it
> still accomplishes the same purpose. If a band plays with a beat, the kids
> will dance to it. Happened to The Ambassadors of New Orleans is Israel and
> it happens with Barbone Street in the USA all the time. No doubt other
> Dixieland Bands are having similar experiences with kids.
>> 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.
> Yes, play more blues, play exciting music with a beat that the kids will
> understand, and they will dance to it as well as book you back. They react
> to much of the "esoteric" Dixieland the way we did to bop. They don't
> understand what is so appealing about "Float Me Down That Old Green 
> River",
> Or "My Canary's Got Circles Under Its Eyes". They do understand "Tiger 
> Rag"
> ODJB Tempo); "Muskrat Ramble" (Pop's Ambassador Satch Tempo); "Margie" (up
> tempo); Shine (Pop's All Star Tempo); and a whole bunch of Old War Horse
> swingers that many bands don't want to play for the usual Artsy audience
> these days.
> And C & W played in Western Swing style is very close to Dixieland.
> If we play it, FOR THEM (kids) they will dance.
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone

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