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Tim Laughlin: Bourbon Street in the Yucatn

By Published: November 4, 2005

AAJ: For example, yesterday people were dancing [during your show], how do you feel about people reacting, you know, like clapping after the solos, or standing up and dancing...Does it feed you?

TL: It feeds me in all kinds of ways [laughs]...dancing is the most sincere form of compliment to our music. And clapping after the solos, it doesn't really matter to me that much, you know; we played at a military base, for the army, and they didn't clap, but they clapped at the end. This music was never really concert music, it was dancing music, so you know, the protocols don't really apply.

AAJ: Of all the people you've played with, who are the people you have enjoyed the most?

TL: Oh God...these guys here, I've enjoyed playing with Connie Jones, my cornet player...some of the older players who are not here now, they've really taught me a lot...[pianist Tom McDermott walks in and announces that it's five minutes before the concert] general the people who really want to play this music, not just the "lab band wonders that go to college and they learn all this different stuff and they start playing traditional jazz, instead of guys who grew up listening to this music and did their homework, which was to listen and play... those are the ones that...

AAJ: This leads us to my next question: what do you think of the academic system of teaching jazz in the United States? Do you think it works?

TL: It does not. Well, it works for what they're looking for but it doesn't round-out the musicians. I think they start with the book in the middle, and kids are coming out and there's a big world out there that they don't know about...

AAJ: Like playing live with older musicians, paying your dues?

TL: Yeah. A little bit of showmanship, a little bit of listening to the other players and not worrying about yourself, having yourself in a situation of playing in a traditional jazz band and knowing what's going on, you know, to be like: "oh yeah, I remember this piece! , instead of being: "oh, now what do I do?

I wish they would teach more [of what was played] before 1947, because they're calling 1947's music "traditional jazz . I think it would really open their eyes. That's why I call these guys "lab band wonders, you know, because they come into my bandstand and they don't have a clue about the groove I'm giving or how to listen. I wish that weren't the case.

AAJ: And finally, what do you think is going to happen to New Orleans in the next few months, or the next year?

TL: I think it's going to be tough next year because I don't know who's going to come back. I hope the best and brightest do...I'm coming back because I think my city needs me, I don't want to go anywhere else, I want to be heard in New Orleans, and I want to be one of the first ones back, you know, I think I have an obligation. We'll see. I have no idea who's going to be there, but I know the music will continue and I just want to be a part of it.

Selected Discography

Tim Laughlin, Live in Germany (Gentilly, 2005)
Tim Laughlin, The Isle of Orleans (Gentilly, 2003)
Tim Laughlin, Straight Ahead (Tim Laughlin Music, 2001)
Tim Laughlin/Hank Mackie, Great Ballads ... Past and Present (Louisiana RedHot Records, 1999)
Tim Laughlin/Tom Morley, Talkin' Swing (Jazzology, 1997)
Tim Laughlin, Blue Orleans (Good Time Jazz, 1996)
Tim Laughlin/Tom Fischer, New Orleans' Swing (Jazzology, 1995)
Tim Laughlin/Jack Mahue, Swing That Music (Jazzology, 1995)
Tim Laughlin, New Orleans Rhythm (Jazzology, 1993)
Tim Laughlin, New Orleans' Own (Jazzology, 1991)

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