[Dixielandjazz] Panama - Original Sheet Music

David M Richoux tubaman at tubatoast.com
Tue Oct 6 22:00:41 PDT 2009

For the edification of us all, was there any indication of who wrote  
the arrangement you saw? Is there a publication date on this  
mysterious photocopy?
I know there were many marches and Panama themed songs written in the  
early 1900s as the canal was being built or promoted, but I cannot  
find any early piano scores or other sheet music in the "regular  
places" that relate directly to the New Orleans jazz / Brass Band  
version. Yet.

I have not done a deep dig through the archives, but nothing specific  
is popping up... must be out there somewhere!

I like the idea of doing the song with a strong Latin Beat throughout  
- works for me!

James Dapogny's Chicago Jazzband did it that way on their "Laughing at  
Life" CD.   They reverse the concept and swing out only on the last  
strain (except for a final return to the top in Latin style, with a  
descending chord tag I have not heard many bands do.

Dave Richoux

On Oct 6, 2009, at 9:06 PM, Stephen G Barbone wrote:

> Well, I got an education about "Panama" earlier this evening. I  
> rehearsed with Tex Wyndham's rehearsal band and I asked him about  
> it. (Whether or not you like Tex, IMO, the man knows as much or more  
> about OKOM than anyone else out there)
> Sheet Music:  In all his 60 years of collecting original sheet  
> music, he never saw an original  of Panama. HOWEVER, he does have a  
> photo copy of the original piano sheet music which I looked at.
> Surprise Surprise. It is a 4 strain tune plus intro and tag. We  
> almost all play the correct intro (more or less) but I'd bet the  
> Farm damn few of us play the original tag. It is not the ending that  
> is in Sheik's fake book (which most bands play) but an entirely  
> different one that I have never heard anyone play. Tex has no info  
> on who first added the current tag.
> AND, the tune is written with a LATIN BEAT.  Rhumba or Tango time?  
> Possibly influence of the Spanish Tinge which was prevalent in Jazz  
> at the time Panama was written.
> PLUS, the descending chorus (E Strain Out Chorus in Sheik's Fake  
> Book which almost all bands play) is not in the original sheet  
> music. Tex has no info on who first added the descending chorus.
> So if we want to do the original Panama, maybe we should listen to  
> some Tito Puente. <grin>
> Regarding the chords, I posted previously (Tex's Version) His are  
> pretty close to the original sheet music, except for the tag and the  
> descending chorus. He added those from records. Probably from Turk  
> Murphy's version. As he put it, his version is an amalgam of  
> original sheet music and various records.
> We also listened to and discussed a Condon gang recording and found  
> that the solo chorus they use is not in the original sheet music  
> either, but a variation.
> So as Sheik asked, "What is the definitive record of Panama?"
> I figure there are two possible answers.
> 1) There is none. OR
> 2) Which ever one you like best.
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone
> www.myspace.com/barbonestreetjazzband
> PS. I have heard there is a Stomp Off record release with a band  
> doing the latin beat Panama. Possibly The Louisiana Repertory Jazz  
> Ensemble or New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra or Pacific Coast Ragtime  
> Orchestra? Neither Tex nor I are sure if any are done to the  
> original sheet music, not having heard these versions.
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