[Dixielandjazz] New Orleans Jazz Bands

Stephen G Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue May 8 13:53:05 PDT 2012

To confuse matters more, there are those who opine that there were/are  
3 distinct types of New Orleans Jazz. For want of a better system of  
classification, they call them:

1) Downtown N.O. Where the musicians are trained, can usually read  
music, and play a very organized music, either by head, or written  
arrangements. Solo oriented, these include the King Oliver bands/ 
musicians, as well as individuals like Bechet, Noone, Dodd, Bunk  
Johnson, Louis Armstrong Hot 5/7,  Morton's Red Hot Peppers, Clarence  
Williams Blue Five, et al.

2) Uptown N.O Bands: Where the musicians are not well studied. Many  
cannot read. Much more blues based. As close to folk music jazz as you  
can get. Much more ensemble oriented. Examples are Kid Thomas  
Valentine, George Lewis, Willie Humphrey et al. There is little  
recorded evidence of this style from the 20s. No doubt because those  
bands which were recording back then preferred their musically trained  
peers, rather than "ear" musicians. (With the exception of Bechet who  
was a one of a kind genius player) British Trad, as well as  
Preservation Hall evolved from these musicians.,

3. White New Orleans: Bands and the musicians in them like ODJB,  
Original Memphis Five, Red Nichols NORK, Halfway House, etc. While  
this style seems to has almost disappeared, their repertoire lives on  
among all Dixielanders who play those tunes the ODJB takes composer  
credit for. And many white jazz musicians got their start by listening  
and idolizing ODJB (Like Bix)

As an aside and this is my opinion while the above paraphrases other's  
views; the early New Orleans players seem, in my ears,  to play the  
rhythm  as well as the notes. Armstrong and Bechet readily come to mind.

Steve Barbone

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