Regardless of what one thinks of the music, marginalizing a musical
movement by saying no one black listened isn't a valid argument.
I can find one notable example of a black audience enthralled with
well-done revival music. I cite Bob Mielke's Bearcats first and most
important gig where they jelled and developed their style as a band in
1955-56 at the Lark's Club in Berkeley:
*It was a long room with the bar to one side and the bandstand deep in the
back of the room. With an integrated clientele, about half were
African-American, Lark’s Club was located in a black neighborhood of
Berkeley and was owned by Bill Nelson, a former trombone player in the
Jimmy Lunceford orchestra. *
But I admit that was an exception. Was it *Not-Jazz* becaue it I fell in
the forest and no African American, or respected critic, heard it? Invalid
because it broke no stylistic ground?
Innovative = If that is your main criteria, you've made your point. But is
that the only value by which to judge? I have other criteria.
And I never claimed 'significant artistic innovation' was going on in the
revival. You're entitled to your opinions and value judgements about
music. But they don't invalidate it as a form of expression. Anymore
than the entire genre of classical music is pointless in recreating music
of the past.
I think I said -- or meant -- "creating something new within an existing
form" -- but I will reject your term *atavistic*:
*"reverting to or suggesting the characteristics of a remote ancestor or
primitive type." *
Again, that's neither articulate or fact-based, just an old and recycled
On Sat, May 23, 2015 at 9:13 AM, Aaron Levinson <[log in to unmask]>
> I for one am very curious to see the hard statistical evidence that SF
> trad bands had "significant black audiences". What does that mean? Half the
> audience or 3% ? I am pleased that these older cats like Bunk or Wellman
> found a new career playing music that they loved long after the initial
> period that produced the first flowering. But the plain fact is that no
> significant artistic innovation that I am aware of was produced by the
> movement and it remained largely atavistic from what I can tell.
> In the 1950's, during the height of the trad revival Charles Mingus was
> releasing such classic albums as The Clown, Ah-Um and a host of other
> groundbreaking recordings. He embraced both New Orleans and Ellington among
> many others but also stood at the vanguard of forging a new vocabulary. He
> was in no way dismissive of older jazz forms but he did not "recreate"
> anything in the process. Jazz (at it's best) has always been a field that
> respected its own past but concomitantly had both feet planted quite
> squarely in it's own zeitgeist.
> Mingus borrowed freely from these earlier innovators like Armstrong and
> Duke (who he adored) but he did so in service of making an evolutionary
> leap. A leap that encompassed all of jazz up to that point and yet was
> entirely contemporaneous. Listen to "Fables of Faubus" as substantive proof
> of my assertions. Much of his ensemble work incorporated the controlled
> mayhem of New Orleans group improvisation but it cannot be mistaken by
> anyone as anything but integrating these ideas into a totally idiosyncratic
> and vital context and not in the service of "recreating" a bygone age. In
> both message and sound it was entirely immersed in the present day.
> I am perfectly happy to agree that (overwhelmingly) white people sat back
> on a sunny day and enjoyed a recreation of a bygone age on a Sunday
> afternoon in 1956. But to suggest that they were creating something new
> considering the extraordinary and genuinely innovative work being done by
> people like Mingus and the Jazz Workshop at the same moment in time seems
> to me hubristic at best.
> One man's opinion,
> Sent from my iPhone
> > On May 23, 2015, at 9:47 AM, Dave Radlauer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Tom --
> > Thanks for your note.
> > << The young guys driving the revival were second generation white guys
> > playing dixieland, with little or no personal connection to the original
> > musicians. >>
> > Again, not supported by facts. There were just as many interactions
> > between the Frisco guys and Black musicians from New Orleans -- if not
> > more. Watters, Helm and those guys sought out black musicians & music
> > (given the segregation in America at the times), and visited New Orleans.
> > And the best bands had significant black audiences -- at least in the
> > Bay.
> > The whole tradition of Sunday afternoon sessions came from the Watters'
> > Hambone Kelly's club: Sunday pm was for special guests and jammers like:
> > James P Johnson, Danny Barker, Mutt Carey (and even Eddie Condon!). This
> > tradition led to most of the Jazz Societies, and eventually Festivals
> > around the country.
> > Many New Orleans/Black guys came west to LA and SF. And interacted with,
> > hired, or jammed with the younger revivalists:
> > A partial list of New Orleans or 'original' black musicians active and
> > engaged with the young West Coast white guys included:
> > Bunk Johnson - spent a year in SF 1942-43 and played with the white guys
> > rump YBJB (& roomed with Burt Bales)
> > Kid Ory - Club in SF hired all kinds of musicians
> > Amos White - popular trumpeter at Bill Erickson's Pier 23 jam
> > Pops Foster - jammed and played with young dixielanders
> > Wellman Braud - I heard him play with a revival band in the 1980s
> > Earl Hines - performed, broadcast, hired young white guys
> > Darnell Howard - close relations with many Frisco jazz guys
> > Frank Big Boy Goudie - played almost exclusively with 'dixielanders'
> > 1957-63 - Born near and played NOLA golden age
> > Clem Raymond - few facts but played and recorded with Oxtot
> > Sister Lottie Peavy
> > others
> > And several old NYer/Chicagoans were also active here into the 1950s and
> > 60s: Muggsy, Marty Marsala, Joe Sullivan, Joe Darensbourg. But I can
> > you that the impact of early jazz and swing on those guys was just as
> > profound an experience as it had been for the Chicagoans.
> > There were gradations of 'revival.' Nor was it simply
> > Dave Radlauer
> > --
> > hm# 510-848-8323
> > cell# 510-717-5240
> > www.JAZZHOTBigstep.com