[Dixielandjazz] Porte ñ a Jazz Band/"cartoon music"

Russ Guarino russg at redshift.com
Tue Jan 16 13:40:01 PST 2007

Call it what you will,

If you have ever sat in a band that played this kind of music, you know how
challenging it is.  Requires fast, precise playing in ensemble settings.  Everybody
had to be an exceptional musician.  I have always found it exhilarating to play this
music.  Trad jazz is easy by comparison.

Russ Guarino
Alto sax  and Clarinet

Charles Suhor wrote:

> Hi, Bill, Steve, and all--
> Steve's "cartoon" adjective is literal, and probably connected to the
> still-going label (in the U.S.) of "Mickey [Mouse] band." The music
> behind the cartoons of the 30s and even beyond shares many of the exact
> pre-jazz, corny qualities of the dance bands of the 20s and 30s (kept
> alive today by the Porte ñ a Jazz Band, New Leviathan Orch., and a few
> others). Some of these characteristics, also heard in vaudeville
> backups and in intros to musical shorts by various slapstick comedians,
> were carried on by the mickey bands, a genre that matured with Guy
> Lombardo, Shep Fields, etc.
> To be fair, you hear a lot of these elements in players and
> arrangements in early jazz and swing bands. The first Ellington records
> had a good deal of corny phrasing and mickey-like lines, along with
> characteristics we call jazz today. There wasn't yet a differentiation
> of the qualities of jazz, cartoon/corny, ragtrime/sweet, military,
> etc., in a lot of the music. The genres of jazz and jazz-based swing
> hadn't "shaken out" in early groups like Whiteman, Ted Lewis, and the
> cartoon bands that had some jazz elements but lots of ricky-tick
> articulation, rapid vibratos, etc.
> I've long believed that "corn" should be a legitimate term in
> musicology and jazz criticism and purged of its judgmental
> connotations. And "cartoon music" is a subset of that, all the more
> valuable because it points to sites where the music can actually be
> heard.
> Charlie Suhor
> On Jan 16, 2007, at 9:45 AM, Steve Barbone wrote:
> > Dear Bill
> >
> > Are you kidding?
> >
> > Just what the hell is wrong with cartoon music? I did not say cartoon
> > music
> > was bad. It is simply, in large measure, what those bands you describe
> > play,
> > and it attracted several generations of old codgers like us.
> >
> > Note also the last sentences of your post. I specifically said "in the
> > USA'
> > because I was aware that European/Asian/Oz audience might actually like
> > cartoon music. And no doubt they might be huge Paul Whiteman fans, as
> > say
> > opposed to Duke Ellington. So how can those audiences disagree with
> > what I
> > said? "In the USA". (which you even emphasized)
> >
> > What's past is prologue. That's what the music is about. And what's
> > past is
> > cartoon music.
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Steve Barbone
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