Talk:Buddy Bolden

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What Bolden Played[edit]

Being that Buddy Bolden never recorded, it is most likely that he played ragtime. I have read that several jazz musicians who played with him or heard him play said that he played different music from early jazz, even though there was a tendency for these early jazz musician to refer to jazz and ragtime interchangeably. Pitchka 16:44, Dec 17, 2004 (UTC)

No doubt arguments could be made as to where exactly to draw the line between "ragtime" and early "jazz". The style wasn't commonly known as "jazz" until years after Bolden was off the music scene. The point that some of the old generation sometimes used "ragtime" to refer to early jazz is valid. However the counter argument to yours notes that a large number of New Orleans musicians old enough to have remembered Bolden credited him with starting the style, such as Bill Johnson, all the surviving members of the Original Creole Orchestra when tracked down (separated around the country) in 1939, Freddie Keppard's older brother Louis, and second hand via Louis Armstrong, Joe Oliver also credited Bolden. Ory said something to the effect that Bolden started jazz, but didn't know what to do with it. Many more less famous musicians also credit him in oral history, black, creole of color, and white. As far as I know, Morton is very unusual if not unique in having extensive memory of Bolden but insisting he played ragtime but not jazz. Of course Morton wished to claim that development for himself. (Nick LaRocca, who also made such a claim, said Bolden was a myth.) I've gone through a fair amount of Bolden related oral history for radio shows and other projects, including a show with Bolden biographer Don Marquis. I'd like to know more about any musicians who played with Bolden who said he hadn't played jazz. -- Infrogmation 22:55, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)
According to Max Jones and John Chilton's book Louis: The Louis Armstrong Story, on page 43 Louis himself says that, "When ever, there was a dance or a lawn party the band of six men would stand in front of the place on the side walk and play a half hour of good ragtime music.... That was the only way us kids could get the chance to hear those great musicians such as Buddy Bolden, Joe Cornet Oliver, my idol, Bunk Cornet Johnson, Freddy Cornet Keppard..." On page 209, Louis also said that Joe Oliver was his main influence, "In my days he was top man, Buddy Bolden was the great man when Joe was a kid'" I am not saying that Bolden wasn't a great player and didn't influence all these musicians. But even after the jazz recordings of 1918 by 1923 the music had totally changed. It was like Elvis in 1957 compared to the Beatles in 1967. The music had changed drastically, yet Elvis was an influence. Also, the 1987 book Sidney Bechet the Wizard of Jazz states on page 4, "the early music improvised by black pioneers such as Charles "Buddy" Bolden was classified as ragtime, even by the musicians themselves." Sideny Bechet saw Bolden's last public performance in 1906. I think that is too early a date for anyone to be playing what is considered trad jazz. But I can't find all info that I've read. But I can say that it can't be proved. Even in the teens Sideny Bechet was playing ragtime in bands abroad. It's interesting to speculate and it's a shame that the legendary wax cylinder of Buddy Bolden that has been reported to exist in this archive or that has never materialized. Pitchka
The cylinder was recalled by members of Bolden's band, but seems to have already been gone when Bill Russell and the jazzmen writers started looking in the late '30s (there are some notes about it in the external link site). Certainly, exactly how Bolden and other hot New Orleans bands were playing in the dozen years before the ODJB first got to the recording studio remains speculative in absence of actual recordings, and the importance and accuracy of testimonly decades later and other circumstantial evidence can and is debated. From best testimony from multiple sources the playing of Bolden's band included improvisation (or at least "variating the melody" as the old timers called it) and elements of the blues, so in retrospect it seems to have been different from the common ragtime in other parts of the USA at the time. Would we recognize it as jazz if we heard it now? Who knows? If we could hear it, people might well still be disagreeing. The music of the ODJB is distinctly jazz to my ears, but I've known other people to whom it sounds mostly like ragtime. Cheers, -- Infrogmation 21:10, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Commenting on the ODJB's first recording, although some parts of the pieces do have some traces of what I think as ragtime, they most certainly sound like jazz to me also. The CD where I got the wrong info from about the supposed earlier recordings in Jan. of 1917 by Columbia has the two sides they recorded next and they are both out and out ragtime tunes played rather poorly I might add. I don't understand why their second recording session would be ragtime. Makes no sense to me. I have an album of James Reese Europe's recordings from abt 1919 and despite the fact that some of the tunes are named Jazzola and Jazz Baby, they are esentially still ragtime. Pitchka 23:04, Dec 18, 2004 (UTC)
It seems absurd to me that there is no mention of contemporary musicians labelling Bolden's music "rag-time" in the actual article, so I'm going to place mention of it in the introduction. Rag-time4 06:47, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
(unindent) Thanks, though I'm rewording it some as calling him "a key figure in rag-time" makes him sound to be a composer like Joplin. (He was said to have composed original numbers, but he didn't publish them). Perhaps Sidney Bechet should be described as ragtime as well, as he insisted that was the proper name for the heavily improvised blue note heavy music he played. -- Infrogmation 18:04, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
Glad my edit was generally acceptable, though I didn't label him a composer. Bolden's article is very light on sourced information (the introduction is no exception). We should take a few minutes and add some sources because there are many assertions made about his playing style that are not sourced. For example, that Bolden's style of rag-time was distinctive to New Orleans. Not that I disagree, but Bolden is a controversial historical figure so the more sources, the better. I still feel that there needs to be more mention of the fact that some of Bolden's contemporaries disagree on what he played. There is a section for this in the article, but there aren't any quotes from any contemporaries. I think if we could source some quotes about what Bolden played it would enrich the article greatly. Rag-time4 05:38, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for adding blues to the genre section. I looked at Sidney Bechet's page, and noticed that his genres currently are not separated by a /, but are separated by line breaks. I'll change Bolden's page to be consistent with Bechet's page since I think Bechet's page is easier to read. I noticed that Bechet's genres listed are classic jazz which has no page of its own, and dixieland. For Bolden, we have jazz listed, but not dixieland and not classic jazz. What are your thoughts on that?
That's also very interesting that Bechet labelled his own music rag-time! Maybe he was brainwashed by Jelly Roll? In all honesty, the labels that these musicians gave their own music are historically important, in my opinion, and should be treated with utmost respect and given mention in various wiki pages. Rag-time4 06:01, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

I also changed the statement about Bolden's band being tops from 1895 to 1900, which seems closer. Some early writing like "Jazzmen" seem to have things a few years too early, in part via Bunk Johnson who misremembered some dates, for example Bunk put incidents with Bolden at Lincoln and Johnson Parks before the Spanish American War whereas from newspaper records the parks didn't open until just after the turn of the century. Louis Jones said when he moved in to Bolden's block, Bolden was playing but not yet good nor famous, and Big Eye Louis Nelson Delisle recalled playing in a band with Bolden the night of the Robert Charles riots (certainly something that would stick in the memory, especially since Nelson Deslile's father was killed in the riot) at which time Bolden was working as a side man not yet a well known bandleader. -- Infrogmation 18:16, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Dixieland[edit]

This article is not politically correct. Dixieland is a derogatory term for Southern music. More appropriate terms are New Orleans Jazz and Memphis Jazz. Dixieland demeans the musicians. Musicians from the South who play Traditional Jazz do not like the term Dixieland.