Dixieland (Jazz)

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New Orleans Traditional - a traditional Dixieland jazz band in New Orleans in 2005

The style of Dixieland developed in the 1910s from the imitation of New Orleans jazz by white musicians and spread from New Orleans to Chicago and New York.


In Dixieland jazz, compared to traditional New Orleans jazz, the original tone formation, grinding tones, expressive vibrato and overall expression take a back seat. The melodies are smoother and the harmonies are cleaner. Since the early 1930s, Dixieland jazz can no longer be sharply separated from New Orleans jazz. Over time, musicians played both styles regardless of their skin color. Louis Armstrong, for example, also played Dixieland with his All-Stars . Today there are three mainstreams of Dixieland jazz: the Chicago Style, West Coast Revival and New Orleans Traditional.

The typical line-up of a Dixieland formation is a melody group consisting of trumpet or cornet , clarinet , trombone with the three main voices and a rhythm group consisting of drums , piano , double bass or sousaphone or tuba as well as banjo or guitar . General stylistic features are collective improvisation , breaks , the trumpet as the lead instrument and the playing around the melody by clarinet and trombone. The melodies and improvisations are often catchy and usually less artistically ambitious.

Musical characteristics

Dixieland jazz is particularly characterized by collective improvisation or variant heterophony, which is realized by the melody group. Thus, for example, a kind of call and response function ( call and response ).

The rhythm section is responsible for “time keeping” - that is, keeping the tempo. Consisting of bass drum, tuba, double bass, banjo and piano, this also takes on the task of emphasizing the 1st and 3rd beat. This is another important characteristic of Dixieland jazz - the "two beat".

The primacy or lead position of the trumpet is just as undisputed in Dixieland jazz as it is in New Orleans jazz. As a further part of the melody section, the trombone forms a kind of foundation part, and the clarinet ensures a harmonious play around the trumpet part.

To take breaks, such as B. ragtime breaks , the piano takes care of primarily.

In contrast to classic New Orleans jazz, the melodies of Dixieland jazz are smoother, the harmonies are cleaner and the technique is more accomplished. The components of "hot intonation", i.e. dirty tones (uncleanly intonated tones), "off-pitchness" (slight pitch deviations), vibrato , growling (tone breaking by playing several tones at the same time), " tailgate " of the slide trombone (glissando-like, i.e. sliding Filling parts) and the slapping of the double bass (technique for creating a clapping noise) take a back seat with Dixieland. Occasionally animal voices can be found in works of Dixieland jazz (e.g. in the original Dixieland Jass Band : “Barnyard Blues”, 1917).


Dixieland jazz was born when white musicians interpreted New Orleans jazz. The father of Dixieland Jazz - less because of the music he played than because of the white musicians in his band, who became prominent in early jazz - is Papa Jack Laine , who marched through the streets of New Orleans with his street band . Nick LaRocca was one of his musicians .

The original Dixieland Jass Band and the New Orleans Rhythm Kings were the main contributors to the spread of the new style . Around the mid-1920s, the Dixieland style developed into Chicago jazz . There was a resurgence of Dixieland in the late 1930s, when the swing era began to delve into the origins of jazz. Band leaders such as Tommy Dorsey or Bob Crosby formed Dixieland formations for recordings from the members of their swing orchestras (so-called "band within a band").


This style came to Europe only after World War II through bands like Wilbur De Paris . In the 1950s there was a real Dixieland revival that brought some titles to the top of record sales. Dixieland was sometimes no longer played in its original form. Rather, playing experiences from the New Orleans style and from the skifflemusic also went into this traditional jazz . Names like Chris Barber , Acker Bilk , Ken Colyer , Monty Sunshine and the Dutch Swing College Band are associated with the revival .

Some Dixieland musicians

Some of the best-selling and best-known post-war Dixieland artists:

  • Tony Almerico , trumpeter, played Dixieland live on Clear Channel WWL Radio in New Orleans and in many downtown hotels and was a tireless promoter of the music.
  • The Dukes of Dixieland , the Assunto family band in New Orleans. A successor band still plays in New Orleans today.
  • Eddie Condon , a guitarist and band leader who ran a chain of nightclubs in New York and had well-known radio shows. Successor bands played until the 1970s and their style is still heard today.
  • Turk Murphy , a trombonist and band leader for Earthquake McGoons and other San Francisco locations from the late 1940s to the late 1970s.
  • Al Hirt , a trumpeter with a series of top 40 hits in the 1960s, was a band leader in New Orleans until his death.
  • Pete Fountain , clarinetist, leader of pop bands in New Orleans, now retired.
  • Kenny Ball from England had a top 40 hit in the early 1960s with “ Midnight in Moscow ”.
  • Jim Cullum Junior , cornet player from San Antonio, Texas. Has led bands in San Antonio with his father since 1963, known as The Happy Jazz Band . Today he leads the Jim Cullum Jazz Band , which has long been heard on US radio shows.
  • Tim Laughlin , clarinet player, protégé of Pete Fountain, led several well-known bands in New Orleans and often tours Europe over the summer.

Today's festivals

  • The International Dixieland Festival Dresden , Europe's largest old-time jazz festival, always takes place in the second week of May. Half a million visitors experience up to 350 musicians from all over the world at a variety of events within 8 days.
  • A smaller event called the Riverboat Jazz Festival takes place annually in Silkeborg , Denmark .
  • The largest traditional jazz festival in the United States is the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee . It takes place in Sacramento, California on Memorial Day weekend. The event has 100,000 visitors and 150 bands from all over the world play. Other smaller festivals and jazz parties sprang up in the late 1960s when the rock revolution ousted many of the jazz nightclubs.


See also


  • Reimer of Essen: New Orleans. In: Joachim-Ernst Berendt (ed.) The story of jazz. From New Orleans to rock jazz. Reinbek 1978 (1991), pp. 17-38.

Web links

Wiktionary: Dixieland  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations