[Dixielandjazz] Helping the kids with gigs, passing the torch, etc.

Larry Walton Entertainment - St. Louis larrys.bands at charter.net
Sat Nov 21 21:27:46 PST 2009

That wasn't the case when I was 15 and getting in the business.  The better 
musicians never tried to help me at all and were extremely nasty most of the 
time.  They were cut throat and never missed an opportunity to put me down 
or laugh at me.  Worse still they would ignore me.

Later I found the symphony level musicians to be the most obnoxious of all.

I found the jazzers to be very clannish and too cool to bother with someone 
like me who had not a lot of experience.

It was the rock and country players that hired me and gave me a leg up.

There was only one musician that ever gave me a tip that helped me play 
better.  I did not have any advantages of lessons or being able to sit in or 
be mentored in the business.  Because of that I will always help a kid if he 
wants to be better.

My consolation is that I am still playing and very, very few of them are.

I think it made me stronger in the long run and made me completely self 
reliant in the music business.   I also think that it made me a better 
player than I might have been otherwise.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stephen G Barbone" <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>
To: "Larry Walton" <larrys.bands at charter.net>
Cc: "Dixieland Jazz Mailing List" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 1:30 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Helping the kids with gigs, passing the torch, etc.

> Back 60 years ago, or so, the older OKOM players were very much into 
> helping the kid wannabes get into the genre. They actively mentored  them, 
> and brought them on the bandstand at various clubs. For example,  Bechet 
> and Bob Wilber, Teagarden and Johnny Windhurst and  Brunies and  Mickey 
> Gravine. These kids were virtual proteges of the older guys.   Wilbur even 
> moved in with Bechet for a while, and Brunies used to call  Gravine "my 14 
> year old son." Even wannabes like me were able to sit  in at Nick's, 
> Ryan's and other clubs with the old pros and Dick  Sherman, the drummer in 
> my band, took lessons from Tony Sbarbaro which  were hapilly given at no 
> charge.
> A group of us older players were bemoaning the fact that sharing the 
> stage with young sit-ins doesn't seem to happen much anymore. There  are 
> some exceptions, but it seems to me that relatively few OKOMers  really 
> get into mentoring. And then, after touching base with Jonathan  Russell 
> the 15 year old jazz violinist, I found out, that, Wynton  Marsalis is one 
> guy actively helping (without much fanfare) to pass  the torch by bringing 
> the young on stage.
> Seems Jonathan had gone to Lincoln Center to see a 14 year old girl  jazz 
> pianist who had won a Mary Lou Williams competition and was  performing 
> with LCJB. Upon seeing him, Marsalis invited him back stage  after the 
> performance. "Where you been?", asked the band members. You  are part of 
> the family now after having performed with us, so don't be  shy, come 
> visit.
> Wynton invited him to attend any rehearsals that were convenient and  when 
> "J" stopped by the first time, he was asked to sit right behind  Marsalis 
> so he could see the music. The band members told he they  wanted to see 
> him more often, especially since he goes to school  nearby. "Come on 
> Wednesdays and sit in, jam with us,"they said  affirming again that he was 
> part of the family.
> Nice going Wynton. And nice going Jonathan. Nothing like being  recognized 
> by the folks who are really big time, and at the top of the  food chain.
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone
> www.myspace.com/barbonestreetjazzband
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