[Dixielandjazz] Miff Lives

ROBERT R. CALDER serapion at btinternet.com
Fri Aug 14 22:54:17 PDT 2009

Miff is surely an example of what has happened now and then in jazz, and I say "now and then" rather than "often" because there are not that many musicians of that quality. And what they have in common is of considerable interest, but has tended to be neglected because something newer and at least as interesting came along  . . . 
and people get into habits of not hearing 
I wonder who influenced Claude Jones, who seems to be spoken of with a little more respect than used to be the case, where he used to be taken for somebody who couldn't rather than didn't play trombone in the more Dickie Wells-like manner. and he was in the 1940 Armstrong-Bechet studio group and as I understand even played I think around 1960 with some British musicians of DJML persuasion when in regular employment out of music. 
Presumably he hadn't tired of touring, since his job was as a steward on an ocean liner between Southampton and New York, and he was identified when somebody in a record shop (remember them?) wondered who was this perhaps Caribbean gent browsing jazz LPs. I know people who brindle at mention of J.J. J....  would not be impressed by the reference of some critics to Claude Jones as a precursor of bop trombone, but I'm not saying that. The evidence is that JJ was a Dickie Wells man, who having started to record in that style found a diametrically opposite approach all on his own. 
Miff wasn't left behind by musical development, his merits were obscured by the pathoogical side-effects of the superstition of inevitable progress in human affairs. 
Bah! Trendies!


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