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ARSCLIST  April 2013

ARSCLIST April 2013

Subject:

Re: revisiting an old thread -- jazz anthologies

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 4 Apr 2013 16:21:59 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (176 lines)

Guys, to be fair, it may not be accurate to lump Burns and Marsalis together. Here is the transcript 
of Wynton Marsalis's interview with Ken Burns:
http://www.pbs.org/jazz/about/pdfs/MarsalisW.pdf

It's worth reading, to see whose agenda is driving things in which directions. Just scanning the 
questions, it seems there were some preconceived notions ...

I doubt I'll have time to plow through all 33 pages anytime soon, but it's a project worthwhile for 
someone who thinks Burns and Marsalis were of one view and should be slagged with one brush. I'm not 
saying that view isn't true, just make sure the facts back it up.

-- Tom Fine


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Lewis" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2013 3:47 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] revisiting an old thread -- jazz anthologies


In a hurry, but briefly my research into Earl Fuller points up the
probability that there was a wide range of syncopated music coming out of
the late Ragtime era that got lumped under the "Jazz,"
"Jaz" or "Jass" moniker, and in the end the New Orleans strain won the day,
so everyone assumed it had to have originated there. But there was music in
the midwest, on the left coast and in the
south that was related, but not the same. Fuller sounds like Ragtime on
steroids, and even though most of the sources that refer to him state that
his band was influenced by, or even founded as
a way to compete with the ODJB that is not likely, because the Fuller band
was playing in New York City some months before the ODJB arrived.
Superficially it may seem so from the recordings,
but if you listen to the drumming it's not the same. The ODJB swings as a
New Orleans band should; it's a short swing, but its there,
Whereas Fuller's drummers all played straight up ragtime drums
which have a partly military field drum aspect; if it seems they are
swinging its because they temporatily move to another dance beat, such as
the Tango. Also as a band they lack the refinement and
elegance that is part and parcel of the New Orleans style, even in things
like "Livery Stable Blues." That's not to say that the Fuller Band is not
exciting in other ways, but they represent a different kind
of music than what we regard as "traditional jazz." It is more of a
New York sound, possibly inspired by midwestern syncopation practiced early
on by Jewish and African-American musicians living out
in the sticks.

One thing that the Burns documentary did was to hardwire non-experts to
think of the development of jazz in their way. When I was trying to pitch
Fuller to a very smart and well-informed museum
curator who is not a jazz expert, I found myself running up against the
Marsalis-Crouch agenda again and again and having to find a way to counter
those assertions. That puts a burden on me, as a
guy trying to advance the cause of research, having to go up against the
things these famous, respected and well-heeled gentlemen had to say, and to
say myself, "No, it was not really that simple."
Would you believe me? Maybe you wouldn't. Or if you thought I had at least
some credibility you might not want to get involved in advancing an agenda
that smacks of "original research" and counters
what is regarded as the scholarly mean.

Uncle Dave
Lebanon, OH



On Thu, Apr 4, 2013 at 2:58 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> Hi Cary:
>
> Burns might have started with Martin Williams first (early 1970s)
> Smithsonian Collection, which was super-heavy on Satchmo, Duke and Bird. He
> might have formed conclusions stronger than those put forth by Williams,
> and further backed off by Williams in the revised (1983) Smithsonian
> Collection.
>
> For the record, I definitely put Armstrong, Ellington and Parker on the
> Mount Rushmore of Jazz. I'm just saying there's more to Jazz History and
> innovation did not stop with bebop (the Burns and anthology version of
> history has all innovation moving to the obscure, inaccessible corners of
> free-jazz). I'm also saying that Armstrong and Ellington were quite popular
> in their day, indeed throughout their whole careers, so public acceptance
> or not should be a factor in considering "importance." Parker is a
> different matter, he was more popular among musicians and a certain type of
> jazz fanatic than the general public, but he was so popular among musicians
> that he had tremendous influence on what came later. I can see that,
> though. Imagine if you're a section player in the dying days of the Swing
> fad. You've played the same old over-arranged syrupy stuff for years, but
> you're a talented guy with great chops. Along comes this music with
> different beats and riffs, born out of jam sessions, that's purposely not
> arranged yet is played with full-on masterful chops (if that sounds
> familiar, it is because it harkens back to the original Dixieland jazz
> methods, but with a very modern twist on beats, melodies and chords).
> What's not to love?
>
> -- Tom Fine
>
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Cary Ginell" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2013 2:31 PM
>
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] revisiting an old thread -- jazz anthologies
>
>
> From what I could tell after watching the series, Burns had developed a
> theory or raison d'Ítre for the show, which would focus on Louis Armstrong,
> Duke Ellington, and Charlie Parker. Armstrong's career was rejuvenated by
> the traditional jazz revival, but he didn't spearhead it. That was done by
> the small indie labels I had mentioned before, in the 1940s. The Armstrong
> All-Stars didn't form until 1947, long after the initial revival recordings
> had been made (beginning with the Watters Jazz Man sides in 1941). If
> Marsalis didn't have as pronounced effect on Burns as is believed,
> certainly his point of view did, through his mouthpieces, Stanley Crouch
> and Albert Murray. Burns admitted to not knowing much about the history of
> jazz, but either he was led astray by the slanted points of view of Crouch
> and Murray or he was extremely selective in what he presented, in focusing
> on Armstrong, Ellington, and Parker to the exclusion of others who did not
> fit into that framework. Burns' "Jazz" wasn't interested in looking
> backward; jazz had a two-dimensional forward progress, and any revivals of
> previous styles were viewed as unnecessary or irrelevant to the progression.
>
> Bear in mind that I have not seen the show since it originally aired. It's
> been too painful to revisit it, however, it would be educational to look at
> it again in the atmosphere of calm reflection, whereas when I first saw it,
> I was in a blind rage and probably not thinking as critically as I would
> now as to how it was presented.
>
> Cary Ginell
>
>
> On Apr 4, 2013, at 11:20 AM, Arthur Gaer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>  Just a quick note: I saw Ken Burns speaking about his Jazz series on a
>> panel with Stanley Crouch at Harvard at the time of the initial broadcasts.
>>
>> Burns was pretty emphatic that Wynton Marsalis had little to do with the
>> content or structure of the series.  That they didn't talk to Marsalis
>> until they were well into the production of the series  when the content
>> and structure had already been established, and that they basically just
>> did one three-hour interview that was interspersed throughout the series.
>>
>> I probably have some of the details wrong (the talk was twelve years ago)
>> but Burns was quite adamant that Marsalis did not guide the series.  So
>> Burns may have adopted Marsalis's outlook as part of his conventional
>> narrative, but unless Burns was deliberately dissembling in his discussion,
>> Marsalis wasn't the one who was controlling the history in the series.
>>
>> So it may be that Marsalis *would have* or (even did) discuss the
>> traditional revival movement, Bunk Johnson, etc. but if so, it was likely
>> Burns who wasn't interested in putting that in his series, rather than
>> Marsalis.
>>
>> Arthur Gaer
>> [log in to unmask]
>>
>>
>> On Apr 4, 2013, at 12:38 PM, Cary Ginell wrote:
>>
>>  I might also add that the early world music efforts of Herbie Mann and
>>> Stan Getz and the bossa nova movement are also excluded from these
>>> so-called representative anthologies, more detritus from the ill effects of
>>> Ken Burns' "Jazz," which ignored all of this, probably because the trad
>>> jazz, world music, and boss nova movements were all spearheaded by white
>>> performers. You'd think Wynton Marsalis, a traditionalist himself and the
>>> Svengali behind Burns' myopic rewriting of jazz history, would have
>>> embraced the coming of Lu Watters, the rediscovery of Bunk Johnson, and the
>>> British trad movement of the 1950s, but I have not seen acknowledgement of
>>> this period at all from him.
>>>
>>> Cary Ginell
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>

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