[Dixielandjazz] In search of a non-tragic jazz hero

Jerry Gordon jerrygordon at juno.com
Tue Dec 9 11:41:42 PST 2014

How 'bout telling them about some of the still-young kids making names for
themselves in the jazz world? Folks like Jonathan Russell
(http://www.jonathanjazz.net/), who's only about 18 (I've been following him
on and off since he was about 10), or Bria Skonberg
http://www.briaskonberg.com/), who's not 30 yet. And there are many more in
this age group, some even younger. 
Jerry Gordon
Troy, NY

-----Original Message-----
From: Dixielandjazz [mailto:dixielandjazz-bounces at ml.islandnet.com] On
Behalf Of Gary Lawrence Murphy
Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2014 1:35 PM
To: Jerry Gordon
Cc: Dixieland Jazz Mailing List
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] In search of a non-tragic jazz hero

Greetings Jazz Friends -- I have a favour to ask: I am in search of another
jazz hero's story to tell, and having trouble finding an appropriate

for the past two years we have mounted a traveling road show to bring jazz
music to elementary school children across our region; we are playing to an
audience of children aged 5 to 12 typically, and the first year was easy, we
did an overview of jazz history from ragtime to swing in an hour, it was a
little scattered and eclectic but was well received and we were asked back
and invited to even more schools.

Last spring I wrote a carefully researched biographical show on the life of
Louis Armstrong, who is the perfect figure to bring to a rural gradeschool
audience, he'd personable, rags to riches the nicest possible way, he had
even played here in Owen Sound in the 50's so we had a local connection, and
the show was greatly loved, we were even approached for autographs by the

But now ... how do I follow an act like that? It is very hard to find a
subject that doesn't end tragically or involve the sorts of occupations and
activities that may not be, shall we say, age appropriate (had to skirt a
few details in the story of Louis too, but it was relatively easy to do than
it might be for, say, Bix or Jelly Roll Morton)

I have a constraint too of the skill level of some of my band kids; my own
kids could do anything I threw at them, but they like to include their
school friends in the band, which I think is a Good Thing, so I'm limited as
to instrumentation and skill level; we pretty much need to tell the story
with two or three horns + rhythm section.

I'd thought of Bix, he started as a kid, came from a nowhere's-ville and
rose to great fame and influence, but the end of the story poses the
technical problem of carrying off Rhapsody in Blue ... and then the cause of

Another candidate I'm pondering is Kid Ory, also started as a kid and his
career takes us from Bolden to the mid-century dixieland revival, but I
really don't know that much about him yet other than the story of his sister
nix'ing him joining Bolden's band at the age of 8 (was that even
true?) I have only one biography on him that I haven't read yet.

and then there's the ODJB although 100 years later they are still a bit hot
in controversy and which ever way I went I could alienate half my friends ;)

Any other potential subjects?

*Teledyn Addendum: teledyn blogspot ca*
*eso: **EighthStreetOrchestra blogspot ca*
To unsubscribe or change your e-mail preferences for the Dixieland Jazz
Mailing list, or to find the online archives, please visit:


Dixielandjazz mailing list
Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list