TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by hyperbolica » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:12 pm

Yeah, Lassus is such a small hill to make a stand on. It's kind of pointless. The cancel movement overall seems like its working in a way contrary to its actual goals. And they seem to be above any kind of criticism. Which makes engaging them useless. They say "come together", but that's not at all what they mean. They are very eager to draw a sharp line, even if it's in the wrong place, and as Gabe shows, there's no part way with them.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by King2bPlus » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:15 pm

99% of the listening public doesn't know or care. I'd bet 90% of musicians don't know or care. They're canceling Stan Kenton at NTSU. What's next?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by timothy42b » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:19 pm

hyperbolica wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:12 pm
Yeah, Lassus is such a small hill to make a stand on.
Yes, and we don't all have to have the same causes, but it seems like this is an area where there is a real problem being unaddressed while we get to feel good about not playing a piece written in 1915 nobody ever heard of.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Burgerbob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:26 pm

hyperbolica wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:12 pm
Yeah, Lassus is such a small hill to make a stand on. It's kind of pointless. The cancel movement overall seems like its working in a way contrary to its actual goals. And they seem to be above any kind of criticism. Which makes engaging them useless. They say "come together", but that's not at all what they mean. They are very eager to draw a sharp line, even if it's in the wrong place, and as Gabe shows, there's no part way with them.
Lots of "they" speak here. "Cancel movement." Lots of scary words.

What's your counter-proposition? That we just play Lassus Trombone anyway because... because...?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Bach5G » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:33 pm

Not quite the same, but the last time I had to perform Christmas carols at a concert, I felt uncomfortable doing so.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by hyperbolica » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:39 pm

Burgerbob wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:26 pm

Lots of "they" speak here. "Cancel movement." Lots of scary words.

What's your counter-proposition? That we just play Lassus Trombone anyway because... because...?
Counter-proposition few posts up. Tolerance. Used to be a liberal thing, now "they" make it sound like a bad idea.

Keep playing Lassus as much as you did before. For most of us, that's rarely. It never offended anyone before. There's no reason why it should now. Very odd place to first manufacture a problem where there isn't one, and then make a stand.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by paulyg » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:52 pm

hyperbolica wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:39 pm
Burgerbob wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:26 pm

Lots of "they" speak here. "Cancel movement." Lots of scary words.

What's your counter-proposition? That we just play Lassus Trombone anyway because... because...?
Counter-proposition few posts up. Tolerance. Used to be a liberal thing, now "they" make it sound like a bad idea.

Keep playing Lassus as much as you did before. For most of us, that's rarely. It never offended anyone before. There's no reason why it should now. Very odd place to first manufacture a problem where there isn't one, and then make a stand.
America has "tolerated" racism for too long.

Also, your assertion that it's never offended people before is just unbelievable.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Burgerbob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:54 pm

hyperbolica wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:39 pm
Burgerbob wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:26 pm

Lots of "they" speak here. "Cancel movement." Lots of scary words.

What's your counter-proposition? That we just play Lassus Trombone anyway because... because...?
Counter-proposition few posts up. Tolerance. Used to be a liberal thing, now "they" make it sound like a bad idea.

Keep playing Lassus as much as you did before. For most of us, that's rarely. It never offended anyone before. There's no reason why it should now. Very odd place to first manufacture a problem where there isn't one, and then make a stand.
I'm sorry, but this doesn't hold up. Now that we know there's an issue with the composer AND the music itself- I can't go on playing like before. Why can you?

And since when has tolerance meant just openly performing racist things? Tolerance doesn't mean just dealing with everything all the time, no matter the source. Not in that way.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by hyperbolica » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:29 pm

But we've been over all this. Tolerance doesn't mean giving in, it means accepting that others have a different point of view, and not feeling the need to destroy them because of the difference in opinion. You have to be careful about what you mean when you say you won't tolerate something. That only leaves a few options, all of which severely escalate the problems in a way that's not helpful. That's exactly what we see happening right now. You're not going to "solve" racism. The only thing you can do with intolerance is make the same situation, but reversed. That's still not ok. You've got an angry mob. Most people just go along with the mob to avoid problems. That's not the solution you want - compliance out of fear.

The one common ground for most of civilization is peace. Most of us want peace. How do we get peace? By accepting each other as we are. Anything short of that is violence or unrest. Ever been to marriage counseling? If you're unhappy with the music that exists, write something better. If you don't like the way the police do their job, become a cop and be part of the solution. If you don't like laws, run for office. You can only make change by creating a positive alternative. Basic management/leadership training. Fear and destruction (physical and cultural) and angry yelling will only make things worse. As is evidenced by the last few weeks.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Burgerbob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:43 pm

Hyperbolica, you preach this "peace" message every time, but it's always in defense of something strange. And I have yet to see you act on it in any meaningful way.

This post is originally about Fillmore's Lassus Trombone, one in a series of works explicitly written to be racist. Why defend them? Are we losing some semblance of peace by not playing this dumb, novelty piece because it's 1. horrible and 2. also racist?

Why are you like this?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by paulyg » Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:49 pm

hyperbolica wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:29 pm
But we've been over all this. Tolerance doesn't mean giving in, it means accepting that others have a different point of view, and not feeling the need to destroy them because of the difference in opinion. You have to be careful about what you mean when you say you won't tolerate something. That only leaves a few options, all of which severely escalate the problems in a way that's not helpful. That's exactly what we see happening right now. You're not going to "solve" racism. The only thing you can do with intolerance is make the same situation, but reversed. That's still not ok. You've got an angry mob. Most people just go along with the mob to avoid problems. That's not the solution you want - compliance out of fear.

The one common ground for most of civilization is peace. Most of us want peace. How do we get peace? By accepting each other as we are. Anything short of that is violence or unrest. Ever been to marriage counseling? If you're unhappy with the music that exists, write something better. If you don't like the way the police do their job, become a cop and be part of the solution. If you don't like laws, run for office. You can only make change by creating a positive alternative. Basic management/leadership training. Fear and destruction (physical and cultural) and angry yelling will only make things worse. As is evidenced by the last few weeks.
Some people don't realize the hole they're digging for themselves, until they're in it- permanently. You can adapt as the world changes, or let it pass you by and wonder what happened.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by harrisonreed » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:13 pm

I think a lot of the talk here is from people in deep holes that aren't looking around and seeing the forest for the trees. This is good information, for the musicians to be informed about the set of pieces, yes, but even more so for the organizations programming them.

If I was running a community band, I wouldn't want to program the piece. Imagine the higher profile groups that have been programming this music without knowing the meaning behind it. All it takes is one informed audience member, and then you have a big problem. And if your group is something like a service band or some other group like that, you can't say "we didn't know" even if it's true.

There is no real argument for it, once you know. What do you do when your customer comes up after the concert asking why you programmed horrible racist music? "Oh, we didn't know"? At this point, now, that would be a lie.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by hyperbolica » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:19 pm

Burgerbob wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:43 pm
Why are you like this?
??? What an odd thing to say. Why do I want peace?
paulyg wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:49 pm

Some people don't realize the hole they're digging for themselves, until they're in it- permanently. You can adapt as the world changes, or let it pass you by and wonder what happened.
So peace and harmony are passe? I see a mob digging holes all over, and putting their collective heads in them so ifthey don't see something, it can't exist.

Why don't you take the rest of the night off and collect your thoughts. I'm done.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Burgerbob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:39 pm

hyperbolica wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:19 pm
Burgerbob wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:43 pm
Why are you like this?
??? What an odd thing to say. Why do I want peace?



Why don't you take the rest of the night off and collect your thoughts. I'm done.
You proclaim "peace" at every turn, but you're also advocating here for highly racist music written for a racist reason. Please, PLEASE think about it for a bit while your collect your thoughts.

I don't want to assume, but here you sound like the average older white guy that I have seen trying to defend the piece in various online forums. Of course it doesn't affect white people the same way. But just for a second, put yourself in the shoes of a Black musician that has to play this and doesn't want to, now that they know the history of it.

I am not representing the views of Disney in any way (please, lawyers!), but we play this piece at Disneyland in one our sets. I'm hoping it is no longer played.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by bigbandbone » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:44 pm

King2bPlus wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:15 pm
99% of the listening public doesn't know or care. I'd bet 90% of musicians don't know or care. They're canceling Stan Kenton at NTSU. What's next?
Maybe I missed something. Why are they canceling Stan Kenton?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Burgerbob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:50 pm

bigbandbone wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:44 pm
King2bPlus wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:15 pm
99% of the listening public doesn't know or care. I'd bet 90% of musicians don't know or care. They're canceling Stan Kenton at NTSU. What's next?
Maybe I missed something. Why are they canceling Stan Kenton?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by BGuttman » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:54 pm

Burgerbob wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:43 pm
Hyperbolica, you preach this "peace" message every time, but it's always in defense of something strange. And I have yet to see you act on it in any meaningful way.

This post is originally about Fillmore's Lassus Trombone, one in a series of works explicitly written to be racist. Why defend them? Are we losing some semblance of peace by not playing this dumb, novelty piece because it's 1. horrible and 2. also racist?

Why are you like this?
Do we really know this is racist? Racism usually involves some kind of malice. I think the Fillmore pieces are meant to be more parodies. Poke gentle fun at a group. Like Maggie and Jiggs in Bringing Up Father (which pokes fun at Irish-Americans). Jack Benny poking fun at Jews by pretending to be miserly. The problem comes when people look at the exaggerations and think them realities.

I think this is where I diverge from Doug Yeo and Sam Burtis. They look at the thing and see malice and I don't. I wish I had a Black friend whom I could ask whether they would take offense at it.

And I wouldn't confuse the music with Bach. But I consider it better than some of the stuff being blasted out by today's Rock groups
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by harrisonreed » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:03 pm

Bruce, I just sent you a PM. The piece, as advertised by the publisher, is racist. I don't want to post the ad here, because it's gross, but it is also in Doug's article. You must've missed what was actually written in the ad. The collection is actually titled "The N***** Smears"
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Burgerbob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:04 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:54 pm
Burgerbob wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 3:43 pm
Hyperbolica, you preach this "peace" message every time, but it's always in defense of something strange. And I have yet to see you act on it in any meaningful way.

This post is originally about Fillmore's Lassus Trombone, one in a series of works explicitly written to be racist. Why defend them? Are we losing some semblance of peace by not playing this dumb, novelty piece because it's 1. horrible and 2. also racist?

Why are you like this?
Do we really know this is racist? Racism usually involves some kind of malice. I think the Fillmore pieces are meant to be more parodies. Poke gentle fun at a group. Like Maggie and Jiggs in Bringing Up Father (which pokes fun at Irish-Americans). Jack Benny poking fun at Jews by pretending to be miserly. The problem comes when people look at the exaggerations and think them realities.

I think this is where I diverge from Doug Yeo and Sam Burtis. They look at the thing and see malice and I don't. I wish I had a Black friend whom I could ask whether they would take offense at it.

And I wouldn't confuse the music with Bach. But I consider it better than some of the stuff being blasted out by today's Rock groups
Bruce. For the 3rd or 4th time... The glisses in the piece are written with the intent to represent the laziness of Black people. That's malice, Bruce. Simple as that.

Plus, "poking fun" at a group that has been marginalized, killed, and enslaved for hundreds of years? Not something we should be ok with, on this level.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by WilliamLang » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:26 pm

racism does not need to involve malice. i recommend looking into the term systamatic/institutional racism if you have the time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutional_racism
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by mrdeacon » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:59 pm

Burgerbob wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:50 pm
bigbandbone wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:44 pm


Maybe I missed something. Why are they canceling Stan Kenton?
https://www.dallasobserver.com/arts/unt ... s-11921670
Wow. That's shocking and something I had no idea about.

This falls under Kevin Spacey for me.

Kevin Spacey is a terrible human being who made some amazing films and TV shows. Should Kevin Spacey have a hall named after him? NO! Should he still be working in Hollywood? No! Should his stuff be taken off of Netflix? Probably. Does that detract from the fact his films are amazing and he's a great actor? Not really. But it does make a few of his films like American Beauty borderline unwatchable considering his life choices.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by timothy42b » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:25 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:54 pm

And I wouldn't confuse the music with Bach. But I consider it better than some of the stuff being blasted out by today's Rock groups
Yeah, me too. And the audiences at a typical concert in the park love it, and there is currently nothing that comes close as a trombone feature.

So those of you who want to end it, fine, but again it causes you zero pain to do so, no skin in the game.

How about doing something about it? Get off your butt and write something.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by GBP » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:30 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:58 pm
You have to interpret it in light of the period when it was written.

It was the era of Vaudeville. Not far removed from the Minstrel shows of the mid 19th Century.

The original subtitles are certainly not PC by today's standards. In fact, a lot of other music of the period doesn't qualify as PC either. Pryor had a solo called "Coon Band Revue" which has been renamed "In Darkest Africa" because the word Coon was used to refer to an African-American, and not the animal that loves to ramble in garbage cans. How many people know that Darktown refers to a Black ghetto?

Wagner was a notorious anti-Semite. Do we drop all his music as well?

These pieces were not like the Confederate War Memorial statues intended to honor traitors to the US in order to remind Blacks of "their place". They are an attempt to describe a humorous (and fictional) culture.

It's like the folks who want to pull down statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson because they owned slaves. We don't honor them for owning slaves (we accept it as an unfortunate part of their history). We honor them for their contributions to the creation of this nation. Why pull down the Emancipation Proclamation monument because the Slave is kneeling before Lincoln? Incidentally, that monument was paid for by African-Americans. Frederick Douglass spoke at the dedication.

We need to step back and see if something is really deserving of being changed before we go tilting at the windmill.

Incidentally, I feel that Lassus is one of the lesser of the Trombone Rags. It's just the most frequently played
This post is BS. Wrong is wrong.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by GBP » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:31 pm

WilliamLang wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:26 pm
racism does not need to involve malice. i recommend looking into the term systamatic/institutional racism if you have the time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutional_racism


Thank you for posting this.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by BGuttman » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:49 pm

You guys are applying 2020's sentience to 1920s stuff. Just the same attitude that claims Mark Twain must have been a racist because he tries to capture the dialect of Jim as an illiterate. Jim was an ex-slave -- do you think he had a Harvard education? Ever see the dialog in Porgy and Bess? Not exactly portraying African-Americans as scholars.

If you didn't know anything about Lassus Trombone and I played it for you; maybe under the name "Slidin' Trombone" would you still think it racist? Is there something inherent in the music that is intentionally denigrating to African-Americans? Or is it just a result of the sales material trying to characterize it?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by brassmedic » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:55 pm

Inadvertent duplicate post deleted
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Burgerbob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:57 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:49 pm


If you didn't know anything about Lassus Trombone and I played it for you; maybe under the name "Slidin' Trombone" would you still think it racist? Is there something inherent in the music that is intentionally denigrating to African-Americans? Or is it just a result of the sales material trying to characterize it?
I'd think it's a dumb novelty piece. And now that I know it's a dumb novelty piece with a racist backstory, I'd rather not hear it or play it.

Again... what a strange hill to die on. This is NOT GOOD music. This is also RACIST music. What is there to disagree on? Good riddance.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by brassmedic » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:00 pm

Do we have to form some sort of personal moral code before we can act on anything? Is it really necessary to form a universal policy as to where we draw the line in every situation? Can't I decide I will draw this line, and when another situation comes up I will decide if I want to draw a line there or not?

I played Lassus Trombone at a concert, and a black man who I respect a great deal and who is my friend, told me that song had a racist background. I hadn't been aware of this, but I probably should have been. I think I had seen photos of those racist caricatures that were published with the music, and I just never made the connection. Maybe I didn't want to make the connection. Maybe I was too intellectually lazy to do that, and I wanted to still have an easy demo piece that the audience enjoyed hearing. But I am not going to play it anymore, and there are plenty of other things I can play.

I don't buy the slippery slope argument, nor do I buy the heritage argument. Those are the same arguments made by white supremacists to justify protecting Confederate statues and flags in public spaces, when these things are clearly hurting black people, and symbolize their oppression. "If we take down the General Lee statue, what's next? Abraham Lincoln?" How about we just do something, anything, today, and we worry about what the slippery slope will lead to when that comes up?

I also don't buy the argument that nobody knows what this music is anyway. Obviously people do, because somebody told me about it. He knew. Perhaps white people don't know. Perhaps they don't want to know. I don't think that's a very good excuse.

This is not a case of censuring an artist for being racist; this is music that is inherently racist. The music itself is racist. The very title of the song is a parody of what a white man thought "black" speech sounded like.

Walt Disney was a racist. When was the last time you saw Song of the South broadcast on television? Probably never, right? But we don't shut down Disneyland (well it is shut down, but not for that reason) and we don't remove the image of Mickey Mouse from the world. But just choosing not to show or perform a work that is inherently racist seems a perfectly fine course of action to me. All your hand wringing about slippery slopes shouldn't paralyze you and stop you from ever doing anything. Maybe it's just a convenient excuse for you not to do anything?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by brtnats » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:06 pm

@Gabe and Aidan,

I don’t normally indulge in slippery slope, but I’m having a hard time with this one.

I will concede the piece is not a masterwork of the Western canon. I will concede that Fillmore as a composer is not spoken of in the same breadth as Wagner. But I will not accept the esthetic opinion that his music is somehow inferior and therefore deserves a higher level of scrutiny, or vice versa, that Wagner gets a pass. That’s ridiculous, completely subjective, and at the whim of the winds of change.

I also fundamentally do not accept the position that the reception of works of art remains stationary over time. If it did, Bach wouldn’t have been studied after his death. We wouldn’t know the Messiah. Schumann would have wilted in obscurity. Schoenberg would be a ghost. The flip side of “cancel Lassus Trombone” on this ground seems very relevant. If you cannot accept the position that a work is received differently now than a century ago, then you need to cancel Jingle Bells. You need to cancel the Star Spangled Banner. You need to cancel half the songs in the Orff curriculum. You need to cancel all of early jazz. You need to cancel the entirety of the Kenton band, Miles Davis, and Coltrane. There has to be a position between whitewashing the nineteenth century and cancelling the nineteenth century.

Why is it such a heavy lift that our understanding of music changes over time, and that a piece of music is not indicative of the biography of its composer? Yes, these pieces had a terrible past. They’ve also been public domain for quite some time, rearranged and adapted by thousands of people who aren’t Fillmore, and have lost their racist liner notes. The absolute music that exists today is different than what Fillmore wrote. Why is that not a thing? The story of “this was a minstrel song intended on turning a profit at others expense” to “once people forgot this was a minstrel song, it was a trombone feature that was adapted in that spirit by a generation of musicians” is not inconsequential.


I am also going to make the point that the original author of the attached article has an established history of declaring moral superiority on a point and then putting a period at the end of that sentence. I think the period is what we’re arguing about.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by harrisonreed » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:07 pm

Applying 2020 thinking to things that happened in the past seems like a good idea to me, especially if we are thinking about doing the same thing people in the past were doing. Applying 1915 thinking to the things we do today makes no sense whatsoever.

In the past, people were ok with (or at least went along with) sacrificing humans in order to get better crops for the year. Luckily, applying 2020 thinking to this gives us a clear cut "no, that can't be right".

That doesn't mean we censure it or delete it. Doing that to Mark Twain would be foolish, no matter what the reasons were. The same can be said for these pieces. Once you know the background of the piece, it should be easy to make the call. "I have now understood where this piece comes from, and don't want to use it as a form of entertainment for others. Maybe I'll use it to illustrate some historical points." Once you know the background of Mark Twain's novels, and have context, again, it's easy to make the call "I've read Mark Twain's novels and have a different insight into the time period he was writing in, and possibly how his style affected writers after his time"

In both cases the info is there, but how we use it is what counts.

Should I know about people doing human sacrifices to improve crops? Yes. Especially when the concept is taken to the extreme, even in modern times...

Should I sacrifice humans to improve crops? No. Applying 2020 thinking to this problem tells us that it's not a good idea and won't work.

Should I know about Mark Twain, and the controversy about some of his portrayals of people in rural America? Yes. It's important, especially as an American or a writer, to know about Mark Twain and his work.

Should I read Mark Twain's novels? Yes. Applying 2020 thinking to his novels and knowing the context in which they were written gives the modern reader insight into many things, including a contemporary portrayal of rural America, the thoughts and attitudes of people at that time from the author's perspective, and especially the storytelling and writing style of an extremely influential writer.

Should I know about Lassus Trombone and Fillmore's ****** Smears? Maybe. As a trombonist or member of a concert band, you should know about these pieces that you will encounter. I think Doug's article provides excellent information and context.

Should I perform these pieces for entertainment to an audience? Applying 2020 thinking, probably not. What was acceptable as entertainment in the past maybe isn't acceptable today. Could a performance of the pieces, or parts of them, along with some of the info in Doug Yeo's article be a part of a larger project or documentary on racism in America, or the history of band music in general? Absolutely. Censor nothing.
Last edited by harrisonreed on Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Burgerbob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:11 pm

brtnats wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:06 pm
@Gabe and Aidan,



Why is it such a heavy lift that our understanding of music changes over time, and that a piece of music is not indicative of the biography of its composer? Yes, these pieces had a terrible past. They’ve also been public domain for quite some time, rearranged and adapted by thousands of people who aren’t Fillmore, and have lost their racist liner notes. The absolute music that exists today is different than what Fillmore wrote. Why is that not a thing? The story of “this was a minstrel song intended on turning a profit at others expense” to “once people forgot this was a minstrel song, it was a trombone feature that was adapted in that spirit by a generation of musicians” is not inconsequential.
Our understanding of it was clouded, the context lost (whether on purpose or not) to time. Now that we know it... I can't be comfortable performing it or listening to it. I'm sure others would feel the same.

I don't think anyone will argue against many composers having darkness to their lives in one way or another, but most of them (Wagner excluded, it seems) didn't see fit to bake that into their music in the manner Fillmore did.

Again! Not performing music does NOT mean the music ceases to exist. It just means it won't get played. Is that so bad?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by GBP » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:39 pm

Burger Bob, what you are seeing is institutional racism. Racism is so part of America, that a lot of people can’t see it. Many people who I would consider having racist beliefs swear up and down they do not. I had someone explain to me that there are black people and niggers. Nicest guy you would ever want to meet and he explained this to me with no malice. Many of these people will never come to grips with it because in their eyes they don’t have a problem. They feel like they are just stating facts. Remember Jimmy the Greek explains why black athletes made better running backs?A lot of times they will tell you about their black friend or the black guy at worked. The older generation like me, we put up with it. We didn’t want to be labeled uppity. I remember teaching at a high minority school and asking the music facilitator why my kids couldn’t get a bus like all the other schools. He accused me of being insubordinate. This younger generation, they are not having it. You will hear from them.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by brtnats » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:43 pm

Burgerbob wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:11 pm

Our understanding of it was clouded, the context lost (whether on purpose or not) to time. Now that we know it... I can't be comfortable performing it or listening to it. I'm sure others would feel the same.

I don't think anyone will argue against many composers having darkness to their lives in one way or another, but most of them (Wagner excluded, it seems) didn't see fit to bake that into their music in the manner Fillmore did.

Again! Not performing music does NOT mean the music ceases to exist. It just means it won't get played. Is that so bad?
I think, arguably, it is. If you were playing Fillmore’s edition, he was profiting off it, and both the audience and performers knew what was going on, then yes. That’s bad. But that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about a piece that has changed multiple times over a century, and hundreds of editions that have removed the materials that *absolutely were* abhorrent, but still decided that the piece was worth performing. I have a very difficult time seeing the piece as presented in 2020, as a novelty edited by whoever from the public domain, as the same as a minstrel piece designed to profit off of racism in 1920.

“Jingle Bells” was a minstrel song by an anti-abolitionist-turned-Confederate. The original text is incredibly racist. The modern tune contains none of that text. Are you going to judge the modern rendition of that song by its 19th century version or its 21st century version? If 19th, why are you going to pretend the last 200 years haven’t happened?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Burgerbob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:45 pm

I'm ok with tossing out Jingle Bells, too. No problems there.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Burgerbob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:55 pm

brassmedic wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:00 pm
How about we just do something, anything, today, and we worry about what the slippery slope will lead to when that comes up?
I think this is exactly the point that a lot of people are missing. Brad nailed it.

Is now the time to preserve the status quo? With this piece?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Bach5G » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:00 pm

I’m surprised people are against DY’s premise.

Let me know when they go after Parsifal or Merchant of Venice.

But The Trombone Family?
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Neo Bri » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:04 pm

Let's be sure to keep this topic ON-topic and germaine to music and trombone. Also, I feel it's important to not attack each other personally. This is not a political board; there are plenty of those out there.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by GBP » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:54 pm

Neo Bri wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:04 pm
Let's be sure to keep this topic ON-topic and germaine to music and trombone. Also, I feel it's important to not attack each other personally. This is not a political board; there are plenty of those out there.
Racism is not political.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:37 pm

This whole debate is just sad and embarrassing.

I teach beginner band to mostly black and brown kids. I like what I do. I think it's important. Recently I've been reckoning with this idea that band and orchestra are filled with lots of inherently racist traditions and cultural practices, and I've been debating with other colleagues of mine about how I have believed that it is absolutely possible and worthwhile to find a way to teach what I love without all of the racist baggage, where as there are several older and more experienced educators than me that have begun doing away with even trying to keep these things around at all and rebuilding from the ground up with new mediums.

Seeing just how many people are tying themselves into knots trying to defend and preserve this awful piece of music really makes me feel sad, and it also makes me start to believe that maybe my colleagues are right to give up on these things all together to start fresh.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by brtnats » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:39 pm

Burgerbob wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:45 pm
I'm ok with tossing out Jingle Bells, too. No problems there.
So why are you ok insisting that people who have looked at the same information and drawn different conclusions need to conform to your cancellation? I have no objection to someone refusing to perform a piece because they found it objectionable. I have a very real problem telling someone *they shouldn’t* perform a piece because I find objectionable.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by GBP » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:12 pm

Redthunder wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:37 pm
This whole debate is just sad and embarrassing.

I teach beginner band to mostly black and brown kids. I like what I do. I think it's important. Recently I've been reckoning with this idea that band and orchestra are filled with lots of inherently racist traditions and cultural practices, and I've been debating with other colleagues of mine about how I have believed that it is absolutely possible and worthwhile to find a way to teach what I love without all of the racist baggage, where as there are several older and more experienced educators than me that have begun doing away with even trying to keep these things around at all and rebuilding from the ground up with new mediums.

Seeing just how many people are tying themselves into knots trying to defend and preserve this awful piece of music really makes me feel sad, and it also makes me start to believe that maybe my colleagues are right to give up on these things all together to start fresh.

Both music and education are extremely racist institutions. Education has begun looking at itself and attempting to right the wrongs that have been occurring for many years. Music has always been behind the curve in these kind of things. I am Facebook friends with Weston Sprott. Awhile ago he posted something about the importance of giving opportunities to black performers in the classical arts. A person who, I think might have been a professor, posted a comment that stated black performers weren’t interested in classical performance. He then posted a bunch of nonsense to support his position. On the positive side Ralph Sauer made it clear if you post any nonsense on his Facebook page, he would unfriend you. A couple people challenged him on that and they disappeared off his feed.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:23 pm

GBP wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:12 pm

Both music and education are extremely racist institutions. Education has begun looking at itself and attempting to right the wrongs that have been occurring for many years. Music has always been behind the curve in these kind of things. I am Facebook friends with Weston Sprott. Awhile ago he posted something about the importance of giving opportunities to black performers in the classical arts. A person who, I think might have been a professor, posted a comment that stated black performers weren’t interested in classical performance. He then posted a bunch of nonsense to support his position. On the positive side Ralph Sauer made it clear if you post any nonsense on his Facebook page, he would unfriend you. A couple people challenged him on that and they disappeared off his feed.
That argument always blows my mind. I've seen it before. And the people promoting that claim never acknowledge that the reason that there are so few black people interested in classical music is actually just because they've been deliberately excluded for generations, at nearly every level.

And the people that do stick around are then tokenized over and over again by the white people in charge of the organizations that play or promote classical music.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Burgerbob » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:25 pm

brtnats wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:39 pm
Burgerbob wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:45 pm
I'm ok with tossing out Jingle Bells, too. No problems there.
So why are you ok insisting that people who have looked at the same information and drawn different conclusions need to conform to your cancellation? I have no objection to someone refusing to perform a piece because they found it objectionable. I have a very real problem telling someone *they shouldn’t* perform a piece because I find objectionable.
I'm mainly confused at the other conclusions they have come to. To my ears, I haven't heard a good defense.

I think the point is that plenty of people would be offended by this piece for the right reasons with context, and that's good enough for me to shelve it.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:28 pm

Burgerbob wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:25 pm
I'm mainly confused at the other conclusions they have come to. To my ears, I haven't heard a good defense.
Me neither. And most of the defenses seem to deliberately weave around or misrepresent what Doug's article (and many other individuals since) actually said.

It all just seems like bad faith reactionary criticism to me.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by BGuttman » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:21 pm

I guess Doug and Burgerbob will never agree with my point of view and I don't think I will ever agree with theirs.

I agree that the text associated with the original Fillmore Trombone Family pieces is abhorrent. Fortunately it has not carried on to today. If you were to look at the original Aunt Jemimah or Uncle Ben, they were also racial stereotypes. Both have undergone "mainstreaming" over the years and now Aunt Jemimah is going to be eliminated altogether. Good riddance. Maybe some day beards wiil be obsolete and the Smith Brothers will be clean shaven.

My problem is that some of these "offensive" labels were products of their time. We should explain them. Like the new prologue to "Gone with The Wind". We should collect all the Confederate general statues and place them in a museum with labels describing who they were and the awful system they defended. Then we need to turn around and treat everybody equally.

Incidentally, I like "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" from "The Jungle Book" even though I think the film deserves to remain in the vault.

But burning things smacks of 1930s Germany.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Redthunder » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:30 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:21 pm
I guess Doug and Burgerbob will never agree with my point of view and I don't think I will ever agree with theirs.

I agree that the text associated with the original Fillmore Trombone Family pieces is abhorrent. Fortunately it has not carried on to today. If you were to look at the original Aunt Jemimah or Uncle Ben, they were also racial stereotypes. Both have undergone "mainstreaming" over the years and now Aunt Jemimah is going to be eliminated altogether. Good riddance. Maybe some day beards wiil be obsolete and the Smith Brothers will be clean shaven.

My problem is that some of these "offensive" labels were products of their time. We should explain them. Like the new prologue to "Gone with The Wind". We should collect all the Confederate general statues and place them in a museum with labels describing who they were and the awful system they defended. Then we need to turn around and treat everybody equally.

Incidentally, I like "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" from "The Jungle Book" even though I think the film deserves to remain in the vault.

But burning things smacks of 1930s Germany.
Can you point to ANYBODY that has said we should burn and destroy Lassus Trombone and never speak about it again?

Seriously. This is exactly what I posted earlier about deliberately ignoring what Doug’s article said.

Doug DID explain the work, and provided the important historical context that was largely MISSING before!! Now people are actually doing the thing that you claim you want to happen, but you’re criticizing that as being some sort of purge!
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by brumpone » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:36 pm

Bruce, you are suggesting then that this piece only be played in a museum where it can be presented in its historical context. That seems proper.
If it is played at a concert, explaining its background and then going on to play it tells the audience “we know this was offensive in its time. We choose it to entertain you.”
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by GBP » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:52 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:21 pm
But burning things smacks of 1930s Germany.
I have a dear friend who played in one of the orchestras in Israel in the early 80 and maybe late seventies. I asked him recently if Wagner was performed when he was living there. He told me no, that musicians were banned from playing Wagner and List (I think). He told me that the National Orchestra attempted to. They gave the public advance notice, but there was an uprising. Many of the musicians refused to play. My friend told me a lot of the stage crew had numbers tattooed on their arms. My friend told me pain like that doesn’t really ever go away. All this talk about it being long ago and nobody knowing is crap. I have parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents who have told me of their hardships growing up. I know. I remember. I talk to my students about how it was. They know. They remember. These songs are a reminder that there was a time when the value of black people wasn’t much. Given, what has been going on (remember Rodney King?), we really don’t need to be playing music like that.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by GBP » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:57 pm

Thank you those of you have spoken up against this piece. This is the type of courageous conversations that must occur if we are ever to overcome the grip institutional racism has on our country.
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Re: TIme to ditch Lassus Trombone

Post by Burgerbob » Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:03 am

Bruce, if you can announce this piece at a concert (giving the full context) and then perform it with no shame, then bully to you. I couldn't.
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