[Dixielandjazz] Why certain things get written badly

Steve Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Jan 25 07:37:01 PST 2007

Bill Haesler <bhaesler at bigpond.net.au>

>> Barbone wrote
>> Just goes to show what taking things out of context can do.<
> Dear Steve,
> I wholeheartedly agree.
> However, I was really interested in the full text of the notes for the new
> CD 'Introduction - the King of Bourbon Street' (Universal 61637)
> which used the quote "He is not a jazz trumpet and never was a jazz
> trumpet.".
> I am certainly not going to purchase the CD to find out.

Dear Bill:

Funny how certain things get badly written. Like those liner notes to which
you refer. It should be fairly obvious to us by now that Al Hirt was a Jazz
player, as well as a classical player, as well as an Instrumental pop
player. And he was more talented than most in all three genres.

Why then, that quote above saying he was not, and never was a jazz player?

Theory 1) Someone took Hirt's own words that he was a player of instrumental
pop and not a jazz player out of context, without the rest of the quote that
anyone who can translate an idea to music coming out of the horn can be a
jazz player. (paraphrasing, not quoting here) But out of context, one can
believe that: Since Al Hirt said he is not a jazz player, he wasn't.

Theory 2) Al Hirt got tired of rabid jazz fans taking him to task for
playing some instrumental pop and "selling out". Though he did not desert
jazz, he got pissed and said irritably as a defense; "I am not a jazz
player." (So get off my back you dummies)

Theory 3) There are many jazz addicts who have a view that if you have too
much technique, you can't play jazz because technique gets in the way. And
so to them Hirt, because of his prodigious technique could not play jazz.

And so on.

How one's jazz player colleagues view another player is usually (but not
always) a good indicator of whether or not one is a jazz player. The facts
in Wynton's story about how Hirt gave him his first trumpet are a good
indicator of how Hirt was perceived by a couple of Internationally respected
jazz musicians. Clark Terry and Miles Davis. They were sitting together at a
table with Hirt, and Wynton and Ellis Marsalis (the pianist in Hirt's band)
in Hirt's New Orleans club.

Surely Miles (who is often wrongly accused of hating Whites largely because
of out of context quotes) would not have gone there unless he wanted to be
with Hirt. Same for Terry. Hey, if two great jazz trumpeters went to be with
Hirt, then one can infer that they wanted to listen to the man play and/or
talk about jazz, not instrumental pop.

Those liner notes? Written probably by some wascaly wabbit who saw some out
of context quotes somewhere and took them at face value. So why would you
want to read the rest of those, seemingly badly written, liner notes?

Steve Barbone

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