Editor, Webmaster:  Phil Cartwright       Editor@earlyjas.org
In Tune -- by Bill Fuller
Additions, comments, corrections,
contributions to Bill Fuller %Earlyjas, or
e-mail: jazzytubs@aol.com
We Need A New Revival

In 1938, in the midst of the turn American popular music had taken with
swing, the jitterbug, and the big band era, some surviving New Orleans
“old-timers” were “rediscovered” and promoted in order to prove the
longevity and excitement of authentic New Orleans jazz. People such as
Bunk Johnson, Kid Ory, Alphonse Picou, and Kid Rena were put in the
limelight by a handful of jazz writers whose efforts were rewarded by a
new wave of performances and recordings. This wave extended quickly to
the Pacific shores where one Lu Watters formed his Yerba Buena Jazz Band
and, quite suddenly, became the spearhead of a nationwide resurgence of
New Orleans jazz that played old New Orleans tunes, as well as some
idiomatically faithful new compositions – and the revival took hold
including such new Watters tunes as:

ANTIGUA BLUES-written by Watters at sea, during his W.W. II stint with
the Navy aboard the  S.S. Antigua
ANNIE STREET ROCK-Annie Street in San Francisco was where the Yerba
Buena Band started. This one was one of Turk Murphy’s (Watters’
trombonist) favorites.
BIG BEAR STOMP-(1944)-tune named after a California roadhouse in the
Berkley Hills where Watter’s  Yerba Buena Jazz Band was formed in 1940.
SAGE HEN STRUT- a Lu Watters” original about which there doesn’t seem
to be much information.
YERBA BUENA STRUT-a mostly ensemble piece as played by the Yerba
Buena Band according to Lu’s composition and arrangement.
The hope for a new revival these days seems pretty dim. In a lecture
printed in a  2007 edition of the British journal , Just Jazz, Australian
jazzman Graeme Bell was quoted as saying: “Some people talk of the
demise of traditional jazz but this is only part of a general drought in all
‘live’ acoustic music....[Now] Trad jazz is confined mostly to special events
such as festivals...Where are the ubiquitous trios in restaurants and hotel
lounges now?.....[and] the big shopping centers used to be a regular outlet.
But...I remember my band playing in one of these well-known and popular
malls and children walking by with their hands clasped over their ears...It’s
hard to compete with electronically enhanced entertainment which relies
on flashing lights, ear-splitting noise, sex, and the smashing of stage props
– all to support ‘music’ of a very dubious quality....[These days at jazz
concerts] you will encounter a veritable sea of white-haired seniors, and
the young people of today wouldn’t be seen dead sitting amongst them.”


(Editor’s note:    Some very good traditional jazz musicians of a “certain
age” are playing alongside younger musicians who are helping the growth
of the swing dance movement.  Perhaps there is hope!)
Earlville Association for Ragtime Lovers Yearning
for Jazz Advancement and Socialization