[Dixielandjazz] Phil Napoleon & more

Stephen G Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed Jun 1 09:41:36 PDT 2011

Dear Marek:

No, I did not ignore "younger". We are arguing semantics. Napoleon   
and Daily were the leaders. Napoleon, who was one of the innovators in  
"Dixieland" jazz in New York City of the early 1920s, was using his  
own original arrangements. His band was playing them. Daily, who did  
not play Dixieland jazz until the 1930s, and even then, sparingly  
until the post WW2 years, was recreating.

Certainly a sideman like McHargue had played in the 1920s. With a  
variety of bands including the Wolverines. But Daily was neither  
playing in Bix's style,  nor in the style of most of the bands Rosy  
had played with in the 1920s, or the 30s, or the 40s. Rosy was  
adapting to Daily's style, not the other way around.

And Joe "Country" Washburne, while older, was not primarily a  
"Dixieland jazz" tubist  in his youth.

Below is a review of the 1950 release of their battle of the bands  
that seems to agree with that of Mr. Stearns:

"A 1950 10" LP release showcasing two of the top-named bands in  
Dixieland jazz, amid the brief postwar revival in popularity of that  
sound. Phil Napoleon's outfit features a lot of original players from  
the 1920s, including drummer Tony Spargo, while Pete Daily has a  
somewhat younger generation of players in his band, playing in what,  
for them, was a deliberately retro style. Either way, they delivered  
what was called for, in a series of performances that were good enough  
to justify a second volume, and also a limited revival to recording  
for both veteran leaders." ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guide

I agree that Daily's band might have been older but believe that Daily  
was fronting a band that was consciously reviving an older jazz style  
(generic) while Napoleon was fronting a band that played the same  
style his bands played in the 1920s.

One could take issue with the statement that "Napoleon's outfit  
features a lot of the original players:. since there are only 2,  
himself and Spargo. Then again,Daily's band features at most  2  
original player, Rushton & McHargue.

Semantics I guess, but In my ears, Napoleon & Spargo trump McHargue  
and Rushton.

Steve Barbone

On Jun 1, 2011, at 11:01 AM, Marek Boym wrote:

> Hello,
>>> Pete Daily on one side and Phil Napoleon and his
>>> Memphis Five on the other.  The liner notes describes the Napoleon
>>> band as "a large slice of jazz history," whereas, according thereto,
>>> "the Pete Daily band represents a conscious revival of the old style
>>> by a rough and ready group of younger men."
> Steve, did you ignore the "younger" on purpose?  Three of the Daily
> sidemen played in the twenties, and were not "consciously reviving"
> anything - just playing 'their thing," as did Phil Napoleon.
>>> True, Napoleon's group contains Tony Spargo of the ODJB, but the
>>> others: Phil Olivella, Billy Maxted, Andy Russo and Jack Fay - can
>>> hardly be regarded as real veterans (or rather, could not in those
>>> days).  The Daily band, on the other hand, in addition to the leader
>>> (a little younger than Napoleon) includes Joe Rushton (hardly a
>>> "younger man"), Rosy McHargue and Country Washburn.
>> after he had reformed his "Original" Memphis Five. As you say his  
>> various
>> groups there were not all "original" veterans. Certainly Spargo, who
>> appeared with him frequently was, but the rest were not.
>> However, the music was true to Napoleon's concept at the beginning  
>> of the
>> jazz age. He was not "consciously reviving" it, but rather playing  
>> what his
>> groups had always played since 1917 and using his own arrangements.
>> A subtle distinction, or a play on words perhaps, but Napoleon was  
>> doing
>> what he had always done. Whereas Daily's band was making a  
>> conscious attempt
>> to revive a style that others had played before him.
> Again - perhaps before Daily, not Rushton.  And I am not at all sure
> that the first bands in which Daily played did not play the music of
> the '20's - 1930 was a transitional year, with music still closer to
> the 1920's than to the later swing style.
>> I think he would have used Miff Mole (an original in his early band)
> But he used Andy Russo, who was definitely "consciously reviving the
> old style, " as were Maxted and several others " a rough and ready
> group of younger men," playing an old style.
> Cheers,

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