05-11-2008, 02:17 PM
Been listening to several Dixieland Jazz classics this morning...
If I can't get back to NOLA for the day, this certainly reminds me
of having Brunch in the Crescent City...
this morning has been dominated by Al Hirt...
some Muddy Waters, Louis Armstrong, Pete Fountain too...
05-15-2008, 08:26 PM
Not too familiar with this genre besides some Louis Armstrong material and Bix. Though I do like it, I just never delved into into it too much, certainly a lot of fun. would some of the early Duke Ellington material qualify as Dixieland?
05-15-2008, 10:11 PM
I think that Ellington is really considered to be more swing than dixieland...
maybe his early stuff was more traditional...
but i like him too... and a bunch of others from that era...
and honestly i think that Armstrong is cross categorized that way too
they may have done an album together i think....
see the cross categorization into swing...
Armstrong is certainly dixieland, in my mind at least...
05-15-2008, 10:38 PM
pretty neat reading....
05-16-2008, 05:42 AM
Pretty neat indeed! thank you for that link, I think the first paragraph in the overview sums it up pretty well, at least for me, as my knowledge on the subject is fairly limited. Look forward to a bit of reading then :)
05-21-2008, 02:15 PM
3 new books have just come out on the subject of Early New Orleans Jazz...
if anyone is interested...
SUBVERSIVE SOUNDS: RACE AND THE BIRTH OF JAZZ IN NEW ORLEANS
By Charles Hersch (University of Chicago Press, $35)
The music we now call jazz flowered at the dawn of the last century, a time of grinding poverty and struggle for black people, as Charles Hersch writes in a provocative new history, "Subversive Sounds."
"Subversive Sounds: Race and The Birth of Jazz in New Orleans" By Charles Hersch
A political scientist by training, Hersch illuminates how musicians of color drew from realities that few white people experienced in forging a form of dance music for people of both races. In that sense, "Subversive Sounds" is more than timely. The social realities of New Orleans today resemble the city in 1900: racial polarization beneath a blanket of poverty and uncertain leadership. A century ago tourism was in its infancy; today's "cultural economy" markets an urban identity shaped by African-American traditions that ran deepest in downriver wards that were wrecked in the flooding of 2005, areas where tour buses show visitors the wonder of our Pompeii on the Mississippi.
As the major Southern metropolis of the late 19th century, New Orleans saw mounting tensions between ethnic white people and African-Americans over blue collar jobs. In 1870, according to Hersch, 3,460 black people worked as painters, cigar makers, bakers and other such jobs. "By 1904, under a tenth of that number had those jobs, although the number of blacks had increased by 50 per cent," he writes.
The ratty, blues-edged sound that swelled in black Uptown streets, like the rocking rhythms of vernacular churches, surged into the city from outlying plantation communities. That current reached the Downtown wards where classically trained black Creole musicians proved a quick study at absorbing and improvising new melodic lines. Tapping oral histories from the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane, Hersch orchestrates voices of musicians on both sides of the racial divide in underscoring how porous the music made the boundaries of race and class.
He writes, too, with an edgy sense of how music functioned. The early cornetist Chris Kelly "played in rough halls like the New Hall or Artesan Hall (Treme); the undertakers always looked forward to the balls there, because by night's end three or four bodies inevitably littered the floor. At the Tuxedo Hall, formerly a brothel, a band escaped through a back door after a gunfight."
Yet the spreading popularity of the music marked the onset of a gradual change in social patterns. As the Creoles reinterpreted the hot driving rhythm of blues and church song rhythms from musicians unable to read sheet music, it was only a matter of time before elite dances at the New Orleans Country Club and debutante balls hired the Creole bandmaster John Robichaux and his orchestra.
"Similarly, King Oliver played bluesy and rough at Big 25 in the District but sweetened his style for subscription dances at Tulane," Hersch writes. "In a sense, then, jazz musicians had to be chameleons as well as racial impersonators, playing and acting 'ratty' or respectable as the situation required."
The irony embedded in early jazz is that a white group, The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, traveled to Chicago, then New York, and in 1917 made the first recording of the new music. The leader of the group, cornetist Nick LaRocca, returned to New Orleans after a nervous collapse, and in his later years made bitter racial statements while insisting that his group, in effect, started it all.
As the recordings of Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton and others outpaced the Original Dixieland Band in popularity, the black musicians conveyed to journalists and scholars an oral narrative that put the white bands in a subsidiary role, anchoring jazz as a native American art form and the product of an emergent African-American culture.
LaRocca emerges as a pathetic figure by Hersch's lights as he traces his descent in tandem with the rise of Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton. In a wise coda, the author writes: "From the working-class or under class audiences that early on supported the music's most innovative forms to white audiences to whom musicians of color tailored performances, ordinary listeners in subtle ways were cocreators of the music, shaping its hybrid form."
Jason Berry, music columnist for New Orleans Magazine, is co-author of "Up From the Cradle of Jazz" and author of "The Spirit of Black Hawk."
FLYING HOME: LIONEL HAMPTON
CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF GOOD VIBES
Written by Stanley Crouch
Foreword by Wynton Marsalis
State Street Press, $29.99
By Susan Larson
Now that the last notes of Jazzfest have faded, it's time to seek out cooler chords. You could start with the exhibit at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, recognizing the centennial of jazz great Lionel "Gates" Hampton. A new book, "Flying Home," which celebrates Hampton's life and work, debuted at the museum last month.
Wynton Marsalis contributes an introduction to the book, calling Hampton "a pyromaniac of swing. You could depend on him to set fires on bandstands all over the world all night long. He started off hot and got hotter as the night wore on and pretty soon it was time to call the fire department. Hamp was still playing."
The text accompanying the photographs in "Flying Home" was written by the versatile critic Stanley Crouch, and provides the context for Hampton's humanitarian achievements as well as his musical ones. Hampton was breaking color barriers as early as 1939 with his music; he was also a political activist, campaigning for politicians such as Richard Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller, George Bush, Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton. "Be first of all an American" was one of his core beliefs, Crouch said. But Hampton was also a world ambassador for jazz.
The real glory of this book is the photography, of course, and there are many pictures packed into its 94 pages. Photos mark Hampton's ascent to fame; he appears in shots with Ed Sullivan, Bob Hope, with the Rat Pack in Vegas, with Billie Holliday, Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, Tito Puente, Stevie Wonder, Bette Midler, Diana Krall, Bucky Pizzarelli. What an astonishing range of collaborators and friends we see here.
Hampton died Aug. 31, 2002, and his New Orleans-style send-off is depicted in several photographs. New Orleanians Norman Francis and Timothy Francis were among his pallbearers. The New Orleans-style street procession was led by David Ostwald's Gully Low Jazz Band, with Wynton Marsalis. Crowds of mourners filled the streets, all captured in Frank Jackson's evocative photographs.
The book also includes a CD with eight recordings.
A TRUMPET AROUND THE CORNER:
THE STORY OF NEW ORLEANS JAZZ
By Samuel Charters
University Press of Mississippi, $40
By Susan Larson
In "A Trumpet Around the Corner," veteran music writer Samuel Charters pays tribute to the music that drew him to New Orleans for a half-century of participation in the scene here.
As a teenager in the 1940s, Charters felt an attraction to the rambunctious music he heard, and in writing about the music as an adult, he also found a metaphor for writing about race relations, gradually coming to the fore of the American conscience.
Charters goes back to the early days of the city and moves forward to the present era in this balanced account of the many influences in the creations of New Orleans jazz -- African-American, white, Creole, Italian -- and seminal figures such as Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and other such important figures as Jack Laine and Paul Mares, right up to contemporary brass band leaders.
Drawing on his own previous work ("Jazz: New Orleans, 1885-1957"), Charters is especially strong on the jazz figures of the 1920s, the hard times of the 1930s, the revival of the 1950s.
One of the strengths of this book is Charters' abiding curiosity and his methods of exploration. He looks at photographs and analyzes them closely. In a quest for the elusive sound of Buddy Bolden, he asks musicians who heard that band to hum or sing their parts as they remembered then. Even now, Charters writes of Bolden, "there seems to be almost no agreement about anything relating to his life and his music."
Returning to New Orleans post-Katrina, Charters ventures out to see if beloved landmarks have survived, sorts through early recordings with friend Barry Martyn, the British expatriate drummer and producer, as the two try to see what has survived of Jazzology Records on Decatur Street. He spends a night at the Maple Leaf Bar, dancing along with a jazz trio composed of James Singleton, Tim Green and Johnny Vidacovich.
One quibble with this book might be his dismissal of the contributions of the Marsalis family, which merit a single mention when he describes artists who have left the city in search of greater opportunity. He also gives short shrift to Terence Blanchard (who has since relocated to the city) and Nicholas Payton.
The evocative title is pulled from Charters' memories of working here in the 1950s. "On many afternoons I found myself walking along a quiet street in one of the old neighborhoods, listening for the sound of the Eureka and the soaring trumpet of its leader, Percy Humphrey. If I didn't hear him down the block, I knew that eventually I'd hear his trumpet somewhere around the corner." In these post-Katrina days, we can hear that trumpet, too -- in band practices at Xavier Prep, in brass bands along Camp Street, and recordings blaring from open windows. We are still listening to our long history, a history to which Charters has made a fine and enduring contribution.
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