[Dixielandjazz] Lawrence Welk

ROBERT R. CALDER serapion at btinternet.com
Fri Jan 25 08:27:04 PST 2013

I am sure Lawrence Welk featured Dixieland because it was regarded by the audience as not out of style at the time. I only ever saw the man on TV when I was an exchange student in Kentucky -- the time I might have managed to see, hear and be evangelised by Ethel Waters (a mere coincidence of dates -- and only marginally different from the rest of us who didn't see her). 

My host looked unhappily at the TV screen and observed that Mr. Welk was looking very old. If he'd liked Dixieland and it had been out of style I fear Mr. Welk or his producers would have kept the delight a more private one. 
Likewise Mr. Whiteman. 

Joe Loss, the description of whom as a JAZZ GREAT made the idiot column of JAZZ MONTHLY long ago, also featured trendy pop on his British band show, and indeed Billy Cotton was noted for promoting the Armstrong close follower but also advance guard, Nat Gonella (first recruiter to jazz of the redoubtable Albert McCarthy) but long, long before television or the twinkle in my father's eye which preceded me. 

Later on, even when my interest in jazz was no more than my mother reading the words of Wally Fawkes' cartoon strip Flook to me, there was I do believe an Elvis imitator on the staff of the Joe Loss band, cringe-making as it now is to conceive of such up-to-dateness suddenly emerging jiving from a platoon dedicated to second-hand dance band music. The programme of the band, as Al Cohn used to say of incest, was such that the whole family could take an interest. 

Of course Joe Loss's Elvisator was later revealed to have been an Elvis creator, father of the Elvis Costello who tried to sound like a jazz singer on TV with Chet Baker, and who turned out to be a very decent one.
In those pre-Costello days Tommy Dorsey even had Elvis himself, witness one broadcast recording on a CD boxed set of Dorsey. 

It is however, as some jazz musicians have complained to me, rather a misfortune how easily older jazz has been pigeonholed into nostalgia. Or served up lukewarm, too far from the cooker, soggy of pastry... 

Our noble webmaster applauded the quotation I ferried in some time back from Johnny Griffin, telling Archie Shepp not to take out his anger on the music. 

I suspect some OKOM musicians might have been happy to keep their musical powder dry if (as Albert McCarthy observed) rather than being guests with Mr. Welk there hadn't been a large expectation they would emulate the bits of the show between which they appeared. 

and this page is the better for preservation of Netiquette, the only string that attaches is of not repeating everybody's mails with lots of vertical >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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