Germans and Jazz (and a comment)
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 99 10:09:20 -0700
Subject: Germans and Jazz (and a comment)
Forwarded-by: "Stacey Erdman" <StaceyErdman@worldnet.att.net>
Forwarded-by: Kevin Santos <email@example.com>
MAN SLIDES HIS TROMBONE & KILLS MUSICIAN IN FRONT OF HIM!
By Randy Jeffries/Weekly World News (January 23, 1996)
Bocholt, Germany - A band musician died of a brain injury when the
trombonist behind him jerked the slide of his trombone forward and struck
the trumpeter in the back of the head! Police say the tragedy occurred as
the Gratzfeld College band was rehearsing the spirited American jazz
classic, "When the Saints Go Marching In."
According to other band members, trombonist Peter Niemeyer, 19, "got carried
away" with the music. He started gyrating and thrashing around as he played.
At one point, he jerked forward and the rounded metal slide on his
instrument hit trumpet player Dolph Mohr, 20, dropping him instantly to the
floor. "Niemeyer was pumping the slide very hard," said medical examiner
Dr. Max Krause. "But it wasn't just the force of the blow that killed Mohr.
"The slide struck him in the worst possible place-the vulnerable spot just
behind and below the left ear. "Bone fragments pierced his brain, killing
The incident has provoked a storm of controversy over whether or not
American jazz should be played in German colleges. "I believe the music is
to blame," said Gratzfeld band director Heinrich Sommer. "I was pressured
to play that selection by school administrators. But I've always said jazz
is dangerous music, "Our musicians can't control themselves when they play
it. They move and rock back and forth, creating chaos. If I had my way,
American Dixieland would be outlawed in Germany. I've been directing bands
for 30 years and I've never heard of anyone dying while playing a German
In a message dated 8/19/99 3:02:35 PM, StaceyErdman@worldnet.att.net writes:
> "... I've been directing bands for 30 years and I've never heard of
> anyone dying while playing a German march."
Judging from that last remark, Gratzfeld [band director Heinrich Sommer]
obviously never played the French horn. All you past and present French horn
players know all to well the part you got in any march - a relentless
stream of monotonous notes played on the off beats 2 and 4, broken up only
by being given a stupid melody to play in the trio section. For you non-horn
players, think of Sousa's "Stars And Stripes Forever". Imagine having to
play this figure over and over and over again for the first four minutes
(or is it four hours?) of this chestnut: _daht_daht_dah-dah-daht-daht. Your
big reward for indulging in this stimulating exercise is to that you get to
play the melody for the big finish (you know, the part that often has these
words sung to it: "Be kind to your fine feathered friends, for a duck can
be somebody's mother"). Whoopee.
I guess you can all tell how I feel about the march as a musical form.
© 1999 Peter Langston