[Dixielandjazz] Varying from melody ...

Robert Ringwald rsr at ringwald.com
Mon Oct 5 17:57:51 PDT 2009

 richard.flecknell at ntlworld.com wrote:

 > It's rare for me at least to be inspired by a dire definitive original dance band version (it's not impossible though).
> But I'll carry on listening to Hots Lips rip up The Sheik, Louis triumphantly converting Sweethearts, Ed Hall on King Porter, Bonano's When the Saints, Roy Eldridge sweeping through Body and Soul, Bunk's One Sweet Letter, and on and on. Of the above mentioned I've never wished they had played the original line.
> Did the N.O.R.Ks play their own tunes as written?
> I too have used the original sheet music and first recordings if possible.
> There I've said it.
> Hope your not critizing Tatum for changing the melody and chords, your'll upset Waller.
> Richard (forgive me)

Dear Richard,

I am not quite clear as to what you are saying.  

Dave, (Sheik) started this whole thing by asking for the definitive recording of Panama.  

If someone wants to put a correct (or as close to correct) version of a song in a fake book, naturally that person would try to find an original source -- Whether it be a reliable piece of sheet music, the song as performed by the composer or by someone who heard the composer perform it, etc.  

Just because the song, then is put down in a fake book, doesn't mean that I, or another musician then would come along and play it note for note as written.  Me, or another musician then could start his interpretation of the song as close as possible to the original, rather than from someone else's interpretation.  

And, I'll bet that the musicians named above heard the songs mentioned as close to the original before they played their interpretation...  

--Bob Ringwald

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