The World In A Jug: The Lore of New Orleans and Dixieland Jazz by Robert F. Brodsky

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Robert F. Brodsky
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The World In A Jug: The Lore of New Orleans and Dixieland Jazz

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Book review

This is a book in remembrance and in praise of what we used to call "Hot Jazz". Now, in obeisance of the many forms of music that are called 'jazz', it is differentiated by being called "Traditional Jazz" or OKOM (Our Kind Of Music). This is a book for and about Moldy Figs - those who remain rooted in the hot jazz music of the originators! My purpose is to give the curious, wanting to learn more about the old music, a place to start; and those - like me - still in love with it, a chance to reminisce. The stories herein will give avid readers a better understanding of what the music was, and what it is now. For those versed in the genre, the book may be an updating of 'Jazzmen' and the other sacred texts. The soul of hot jazz music is in ensemble playing, with the front line backed by a solid, unobtrusive driving beat, more sensed than heard. The Cornetist, with bell-like tones, or the more screeching Trumpet, is carrying the melody. The best play mostly in the middle registers and drive the band on down. The Trombonist is either playing complementary back ground rhythm - playing 'figures' as the old New Orleans masters used to call them - or filling in the spaces between cornet phrases with wild glissandos or raucous smears. The other voice, the Clarinet, plays throughout, complementing and sailing above the two deeper voices. This is the stuff that evokes the emotions; this is the stuff that lets the musicians release the sum of their life experiences. When you get right down to it, what I like is best illustrated by my selections in the two music appreciation 'lecture' programs that I first developed in the mid 70's and continue to present: One devoted to New Orleans jazz and the other to Dixieland jazz. These are my "Serenades for Mouldy Figges"; slide-shows-with-music lectures; discussed herein. Why the title? It comes from the words of Bessie Smith's first recording in 1923, "Downhearted Blues": "I've got the World in a Jug; Stopper's in my hand".


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