Letters to the Editor November 2019

The many letters received on the Dixieland essays are gathered here: Reader Responses to “Reconsidering Dixieland Jazz: How the Name has Harmed the Music”

Forget Not the Banjo

To the Editor:
In his article in the October issue Professor Cunningham failed to mention banjos. There is perhaps no other instrument that gets and deserves insult to itself and its players as music as the banjo. As a banjo player I can tell you that banjo players love and exchange banjo jokes more than anyone.

Hot Jazz Jubile

I’ll recount only two. The first is not a joke but a definition of a gentleman from around 1900. “A gentleman is someone who knows how to play the banjo and doesn’t.” The second is a riddle. “Why do some people take an instant dislike to the sound of the banjo? It saves time.”

Eliot Kenin
Martinez CA

Remembering Tom Pletcher

To the Editor:
I’m saddened to read of the death of Tom Pletcher. I had the good fortune to become acquainted with him at an IAJRC convention sometime around 1980 in Chicago. The session broke up on Sunday morning and he was invited to a couple of open sessions that afternoon and evening. I was, then as now, playing jazz on my euphonium, and luckily I made a good enough impression that he invited me to go with him. At some point during that day I coined my description of his music.

UpBeat Records

His playing had more beauty than one could believe. I finally said that you didn’t dare get too wrapped up in admiring the beauty of the phrase he had just created and played because if you did you might miss the equal beauty of his next phrase. Tom was a truly great player and a hell of a nice guy.

John R. March
Nampa ID


To the Editor:
Thanks for the birthday note!
It gives me a reminder to reply with my congratulations on the Sync Times—I look forward to every issue. Thanks this month for the piece on Vince G…Remarkable guy whose life has been committed to the music. Keep up the good work. I don’t see how you do it—Far as I can tell you haven’t missed a deadline yet!!

Max Morath
Duluth MN

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