In his 2005 book Pioneers of Jazz, Lawrence Gushee traces the development of the Creole Band, the early touring group that helped disseminate what would eventually become known as jazz outside of New Orleans. For Gushee, the Creole Band was a critical link between the early twentieth-century New Orleans scene and the later recording groups of the post-1917 era. As he recounts in vivid detail, it was largely through the Vaudeville stage, and through an identification as a novelty band, that the group would achieve notoriety. Yet the overall sense from Gushee's study is that the Creole Band represented something different, distinct from Vaudeville or novelty. In short, they became “pioneers of jazz.” This idea is made clear in an epigraph for the introduction, in which Jelly Roll Morton asserts in a 1938 interview that the band “really played jazz, not just novelty and show stuff.”1 Morton's...
Smears, Laughs, and Barnyard Hokum: Early Jazz Trombone and the Problem of Novelty
Ken Prouty is Associate Professor of Musicology and Jazz Studies in the College of Music at Michigan State University. He earned a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Pittsburgh and a master's degree in jazz studies from the University of North Texas. Ken's publications include the book Knowing Jazz: Community, Pedagogy and Canon in the Information Age, as well as works in journals such as Popular Music and Society, American Music, Critical Studies in Improvisation, Jazz Research Journal and Jazz Perspectives, for which he formerly served as Editor-in-Chief. His most recent book, Learning Jazz: Jazz Education, History, and Public Pedagogy, is forthcoming in 2023 from the University Press of Mississippi.
Ken Prouty; Smears, Laughs, and Barnyard Hokum: Early Jazz Trombone and the Problem of Novelty. American Music 1 October 2022; 40 (3): 388–413. doi: https://doi.org/10.5406/19452349.40.3.07
Download citation file: