[Dixielandjazz] The Roots of Jazz was Struck by a comment

Stephen G Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed Mar 25 07:18:05 PDT 2009

Dave Richoux wrote:

"From everything I have read on the subject, the closer "dirty word"  
linked to Jazz & Jass was "J*zz" / "J*ass" ( or "J*azzum" /  
"J*assum" ) (or what was found on the "Famous Blue Dress") - the  
barnyard links were also there, but the links to the world  
ofprostitutes and pimps was much closer."

"Sorry if anybody was offended by this fact, but it is pretty well  
documented! Maybe knowing the true roots of the music will bring all  
those young people to our performances. (but maybe not)"


Rest assured, Dave and Listmates.

If your presentation  (in adult venues)  includes some of the raw  
facts of life about the world of jazz, the young people will flock to  
your performances. If you get back to making the program a bit bawdy  
or sexy, they will become involved. It works for us.

Lots of other ways to do this. Like play "Four or Five Times" and then  
follow it with "All Night Blues". Just imagine how you can link a sexy  
patter between those two tunes. Or link sex to jazz with, (I Want A  
Little Girl) and link drugs to jazz with (Hello Central Give Me Doctor  
Jazz). Or link Social Diseases to Jazz with "Blues My Naughtie Sweetie  
Gives To Me." Then you can kid the kids about how their great  
grandparents were not lily pure, but were also into drugs and sex,  
Talk about how all the gangsters loved this music during prohibition.  
Link booze to jazz. You can create a program that is relevant to the  
young audiences, and a lot of fun to present, while commenting on  
social mores.

Let's face it, many of us in my generation, growing up in NYC, loved  
this music initially because it was slightly naughty, presented in  
nightclubs owned by gangsters, and we could rub shoulders with the  
mafia, show business stars in the audience who were there for the same  
reason, and musicians who were on the edges of polite society. The  
rough social aspects of it were just as intriguing as the music.  
Somehow, we've lost all that today in deference to a shrinking  
audience of "knowledgeable" jazz fans whose average age is dead, and  
who have re-defined the music as art that must be heard in a sterile  

That older audience might be horrified when a band plays "Four or Five  
Times" and then follows it with "All Night Blues", while imparting a  
sexy patter of cause and effect between those two tunes. And many  
would be horrified if a band program explained what  "Jazz Me Blues"  
really meant. Thank goodness they are not Barbone Street's primary  

There are lots of ways to connect with the young. Heck, that is what  
the American Songbook Composers did. (Love for Sale) (Birds Do It,  
Bees Do It etc) (Makin Whoopee) etc, etc, ad infinitum.

If anyone wants to see a program along the above lines, come see us at  
The Mainstay, in Rock Hall Maryland. It is an eclectic place, small  
enough to be intimate, yet large enough to pay our fee. And it is a  
superb venue to hear jazz. Thursday - June 11 - 7:30 to 9:30 PM.  $15  

If anybody is offended by the above, get over it. <grin>

Steve Barbone

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