[Dixielandjazz] Fwd: Disavowing our roots

Marek Boym marekboym at gmail.com
Mon Jan 14 14:24:18 PST 2013

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Marek Boym <marekboym at gmail.com>
Date: 15 January 2013 00:23
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Disavowing our roots
To: ♫ Sharp Bill - - B# ♫ <A1tradtrmpt at att.net>
Cc: Dixieland Jazz Mailing List <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>

> A multitude of years past, while in my early adult years, and after watching a live Civil War enactment, I realized that some ... those of us who play the music of years past (OKOM) are also, in fact, historians. .... wanting to preserve this particular era of music,

Which is, Bill?  The 1920's and erly 1930's, or the 1940's and 1950',
the revival era?
> The era of OKOM is represented with hundreds upon hundreds of wonderful songs.  The real "historians" of the era know this and, as instrumentalists,  will draw upon this vast repertoire to play just those songs.
>  Much of the traditional  literature is not being played, as it was in the early days of our societies. Our festivals no longer stand on the rock on which the early festivals were built.

And how often did those early festivals feature such songs as
"Delirioum," "Feeling no Pain," or "My Pet?"  OK, "My Pet" is not
politically correct nowadays, but waht about, say,
Freshman Hop?"  The festivals featured warhorses.  When did you last
hear "Bozo," for example (it appears on the Caoba Jazz BAnd CD on GHB;
I heard that band play it at a jzz festival in Breda, the

   Bands playing at our society meetings often do not represent the
music we are supposed to be supporting,

Which is what, exactly?

 A huge blatant example is the hiring of the cajun band currently
making the rounds in our "trad jazz" clubs.  Cajun ! ! !! ??   Really
?  ?! ! !    Yes . . boo hoo, a true reason for sobbing.  Get out a
hanky to first dry the tears, then wave as a flag of surrender.  [
Hey,to be honest, I've gone and listened to them myself, where I
danced and had a great time, but  at the same time I kept asking
myself, what the hell are they doing at a dixieland club? I kept
wanting to request that they play "Dixieland One Step"]

And no, unlike you, I can't stand "CAjun."  But why "Original
Dixieland One Step" and not "Stockhol Hop?"
> Please, based upon the pride you should have in being a musical historian, don't you believe that we should stick closer to the literature?  Remember when we could call a tune like "Grandpa's Spells" or "South Rampart Street Parade" and everyone knew the tune?

Again, warhorses,  How about some variety?

We all had a copy of the Nabor's book and knew all the songs in it.
It was our "Bible" and we carried it with us.  Similar to church
membership, the "flock has gone astray" and needs to "return to the
fold".  With tongue in cheek, I say cast aside the "evil demons" of
songs and musical styles not appropriate to the intent of our original

Have you heard the French Anachronic Jazz Band?  It has been mentioned
on the list more than once.  The band played tunes by such cmposers as
Charlie Parker, Theolonius Monk, etc., in two beat, and sounded as
traditional as possible!  Give them a listen before you decide waht is
the appropriate repertoire.  By the way, the liner notes to Wilbur de
Paris at Symhony Hall quote de Paris as saying: "We have no book - we
paly wahtever can be jazzed on" (quoting from memory).

>  ... even whispered words like  "big band swing" , "gypsy jazz"  that the earth would shake and a volcanic eruption would occur on the spot.

The latter developed in the late 1920's, but culminated in the 1930's.
 The former developed in the 1930's in Europe, and caught the fancy of
such musicians as Benny Carter, Dicky Wells and Duke Ellington, all
active already in the 1920's. As JAZZ.  Why putting them n the same
bag as "Cajun?"  Since the "Cajuns" are descendants of French
Canadians who would not take an oath of allegiance to the King of
England, I believe the word should be spelled with a capital letter
(which does not make their music more acceptable).

 We are now operating under the assumption, and what I hear repeated
over and over like a mantra, is that we have to "play for the
dancers", so we play as much swing era tunes as anything ( and other
tunes outside the genre).

What?  Dixieland was dance music.  Ask Steve BArbone.  Our own New
Orleans Function plays trad, and packs dancing kids!  At one weekly
gig, on the first night, management would not let people under 30 in.
The gig folded in a short time, as the young dancers did not come
again.  And those kids dance to Dixieland ("gypsy swing" too - they
come to dance to Swing de Gitanes).  I've seen that happen in
Edinburgh, Blackpool, Bude - yo name it.  No need for "swing era
tunes' - Dixieland is danceable enough!

> We need to quit being wishy-washy and realize our place in upholding our role as historians for our genre. We need to perform in our roles just as seriously as do the players in the enactment of Civil War battles.

Goodness!   Do you really wish to put our music in formaline?

while our backs are turned. "They" are already among us.
> As music director of the Stockton Jazz Society, I hope as much as possible to uphold our traditions, hiring those bands that have continued to play traditional music with  traditional instrumentation.  I take my role seriously as a musical "historian" wishing to preserve our portion of musical history - -OKOM…traditional music  ( of which dixieland is a small slice), from the late 1800's to somewhere around the 1940's, when the swing era took over.

The "swing era" officially started with Goodman's Palomar show in the
mid-30's, and ladted through the mid-40's.  The revival was probably
as shocking as bebop to ears attuned to Goodman, Miller or Ellington.
thus, if you speak of "around the 1940's," it definitely includes the
swing era.

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