Tex Wyndham’s Three CD Guide to Dixieland Jazz

Tex Wyndham has played, studied, and written about Dixieland Jazz for over 50 years. He has won awards for his writing and his bands, the Red Lion Jazz Band, and The Rent Party Revellers, have been popular at major festivals for decades.

The three discs in this set contain two educational performances recorded at Dixieland festivals in the late 1980s. This educational series was unique in trying to give casual fans and non-musicians a foundation for listening to Dixieland so that they could expand their appreciation of the music and ultimately enjoy it more. They were also, of course, as lighthearted and fun as the music they covered.

Hot Jazz Jubile

The recordings were made by the late Dixieland advocate Dan Polin, and for one show the band was unaware that they were being recorded or what would come from those recordings. Despite that primitive set up the sound quality is good and importantly the listener is able to recognize in each track what they have just been told to listen for.

In the early 90s the shows were released on cassette tapes, and in that format, they “sold like hotcakes” for several years. I came upon rave reviews of these tapes in a listserv archive from the early days of the internet.

Tex Wyndham went on to write a column about all aspects of Dixieland for the West Coast Rag. It was the most popular part of that paper, so much so that under the new name, The American Rag, all seven years of the column were republished beginning in the late 90s. Called Texas Shout, we are currently running the columns one every ten days on SyncopatedTimes.com. They are also available as a book: Texas Shout: How Dixieland Jazz Works.

UpBeat Records

He has also continued to give in-person classes sharing his broad knowledge of Ragtime, Early Tin Pan Alley & Dixieland Jazz first as part of an Elderhostel program and more recently at sold-out Road Scholar retreats held several times a year on Jekyll Island Georgia.

As I mentioned earlier, these tapes were the only educational offerings of their kind, and because they still are the decision was made to republish them in the CD format. The discs consist of a track of commentary followed by a performance by the band. The ability to jump around, repeat a track, or repeat a bit of commentary, without messing with a cassette’s forward and rewind functions makes the CDs even more useful than the tapes were.

They are a perfect listen for a long road trip, maybe on your way to a festival, and they stand up well to repeated listening. The interactions of the band are entertaining and the music is top notch. The educational segments are informative without being overly technical. If you want to start learning more about Dixieland music in an entertaining way this set is a great place to start.


The CDs and the Book are both available directly from the Wyndhams:

For the 3 CD set send $20  plus $2.95 shipping to Tex Wyndham, P.O. Box 831, Mendenhall, PA 19357, Phone (610) 388-6330. On request, Tex will autograph the inner sleeve and add a personalized note (be sure to tell him to whom the note should be addressed).

The full run of “Texas Shout” has been collected into a lavishly illustrated trade paperback entitled Texas Shout: How Dixieland Jazz Works.  This book is available @ $20.00 plus $2.95 shipping from Tex Wyndham, P.O. Box 831, Mendenhall, PA 19357, phone (610) 388-6330.  On request, Tex will autograph the book and add a personalized note (be sure to tell him to whom the note should be addressed).

WTJP

Joe Bebco is the Associate Editor of The Syncopated Times and Webmaster of SyncopatedTimes.com

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