From Dixie to Swing: The Dick Wellstood All-Stars

As a musical term the word Dixieland is hopelessly vague and capable of so many different meanings that it is probably indefinable. For exampled, I had played piano in various Dixieland bands for something like twenty years before I finally played down South and found out to my amazement that to many Southerners Dixieland music meant music from Dixie! To other people in other parts of the country it conjures up other images, perhaps one of a group of amateurs re-creating Jelly Roll Morton on a Sunday afternoon in a college-town rec room, one of an inept sing-along piano player in sleeve garters or of five guys in tuxedos playing cheerlessly through Hello Dolly! at a Bar Mitzvah. In New York it has another meaning.

After the break-up of the big band era around 1950, many of the finest swing or Mainstream players found themselves without an outlet for their abilities and took to playing Dixieland for economic reasons in clubs such at Eddie Condons and The Metropole. In so doing, however, they showed the meaninglessness of the Dixieland label, for the tunes were good, the musicians were good, and the music continued to be good no matter what it was called. In fact, the New York, Dixieland scene of the fifties and sixties became the depository for the legacy of the wonderful jam session music of the thirties the sort of thing you hear on the Teddy Wilson Billie Holiday sides. And so it is this New York version we celebrate on this album. No banjos, no tuba, no steamboats, no Rebel Yells or magnolias. Just classic improvisation in a classic style.


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Way Down Yonder In New Orleans Red Sails In The Sunset Second Hand Rose Royal Garden Blues Rose of Washington Square The Sunny Side of The Street I Want A Little Girl Exactly Like You

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist Dick Wellstood
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer No
Accompanist/ Conductor Dick Wellstood, piano; "Doc" Cheatham, trumpet; Vic Dickenson, trombone; Kenny Davern, carinet & soprano sax; Gerorge Duvivier, bass; Gus Johnson, Jr, drums


Customer Reviews (3)

"Superlative Stars, All!"Review by Big Toots
CJ 10 from Dixie to Swing – Dick Wellstood All-Stars

At times, categorizations – especially those that relate to jazz - fail to adequately describe what’s out there for one’s ears. “from Dixie to Swing” as a title is assuredly a failed, but honest, attempt to describe the marvelous music which this album offers. Why pigeonhole? Sure, there’s “Dixie” orchestrations of selections dating back to Storyville and classic ‘Nawlins combined ensemble improv present. However, the wonderful musicians on the date take what’s given them – old shoes - and shine ‘em up most gloriously. Whether it is “Swing,” Dixie, “Hot” or a corned beef sandwich eaten between takes, this effort is sublime.

Pianist Wellstood, a true stride savant, leads his highly energized and swing-with-it team of true stars. Woodwind man, Kenny Davern, a la Sidney Bechet, dons soprano and clarinet and cooks it up Cajun spicy. The great “Doc” Cheatham, a true Armstrong acolyte and bridge therefrom, is at his high-flying and swinging best, and Vic Dickenson lends humor, chops and superior gut-bucket flair to the proceedings. George Duvivier, here, as always, is one of the bass voices of the jazz Gods (the others being Charles Mingus, Rufus Reid and Christian McBride) and drummer Gus Johnson, Jr. drive the stagecoach mercilessly.

The material covers classic “Nawlins dishes (“Way Down Yonder in New Orleans,” “Royal Garden Blues”), as well as a number of selections which emanated from other sources (“Second Hand Rose,” “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” “I Want a Little Girl”). Although not referenced by name on the liners, Cheatham and Dickenson truly stand out, letting all fly each time brass touches lips. Davern, a solid soloist, swings and Wellstood plays “Goldilocks” piano – where every note is just swingingly “right.”

“from Dixie to Swing” is a half-hour plus of truly great music. While you might already know the tunes, the only genre category you’ll encounter is the one called “superlative.”
(Posted on 6/17/2015)
The Dick Wellstood All-StarsReview by Simon Sez
When Dick Wellstood first started playing stride piano in the late 1940s, he must have felt like a loner for practically the only pianists who were playing in that style at the time were all decades older than him. However Wellstood survived long enough to inspire another generation to follow his lead.
From Dixie To Swing has, as one would guess, both Dixieland and swing tunes. But this album is not a history lesson and it really does not matter where the tunes came from. What matters is that Wellstood and his all-star band, which includes Doc Cheatham, Vic Dickenson and Kenny Davern, all dig into the tunes and swing them to pieces.

Simon Sez: From 1973, Dick Wellstood’s From Dixie To Swing (CJ10) with Doc Cheatham and Kenny Davern is full of swinging solos.

(Posted on 5/6/2014)
Review by -Scott Yanow
"Stride pianist Dick Wellstood teamed up with some notable small group mainstream stars on this all-star date to perform standards from both Dixieland and swing. Trumpeter Doc Cheatham, trombonist Vic Dickenson and Kenny Davern (on soprano and clarinet) are each legendary names who help make this a powerhouse band. Whether jamming “Way Down Yonder In New Orleans” or “Exactly Like You,” these masters all sound as if they were having a great time.

Whether called dixieland or swing, this CD will be enjoyed by fans of spirited small group jazz." (Posted on 6/12/2013)

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