i did a gig last night with a scratch quintet of guys i didn't previously know.  although, it was a quintet, the horns were clearly primarily trad/dixieland-type players and, as i'm not a huge fan of that stuff, i don't play with those kind of players very often.

i quickly found myself simplifying the comping harmony and not adding too many dissonant extensions and, when soloing, to maintain the consistency of sound in the group i played a lot of chord tone based, bluesy stuff and avoided too much chromaticism or diminished whole-tone scales and the like.

in that respect i think it was ok, however my question is about comping behind those kind of players.  as i don't play with those guys very often, i wasn't sure how to approach it rhythmically and ended up comping simply as i would in a very mainstream gig or behind a less experienced singer.

are there particular rhythmic aspects of comping in this style or any idiomatic devices that i should know about if this situation arises again?  i'll be off to the library later to see if i can find some small group, cotton-club stuff, but thought some of you guys may be able to give me some tips.

thanks in advance

barry
There are 11 comments, leave a comment.
i remember the first few times i played with some of the old timers, they wanted me to play simpler and lightly lay down 2 & 4 when comping.  i found it to be quite a challenge (and a very enjoyable one)to solo within the confounds of traditional harmonies (like no ii chords:)
the interest come from the line itself.

any other hints and tips guys?
"it is quite an enjoyable challenge to blow over simpler changes.  kind of like modal playing, you can't let the harmony do any work for you so you have to make all the interest come from the line itself."

that is so true and i guess louis armstrong someone to "study"?
hi barry,
if it's really dixiland guys you are playing with i would not go for the and of 2 garland pattern. rather i would use some kind of stride piano. on major chords i would play major6 chords and never major7. sometimes i also play umba bass (root and 5) in between stride. when i do this i will often alertnate between a major 6 chord and a augmented dominant chord.  
if you search youtube you might find a clip with dick hyman explaining the pianist' role in a dixiland setting.

cheers
nihonjin
just the little bit that i've picked up...i would either play stride left hand and do fills where appropriate in the right hand, or split the usual stride left hand into bass notes in the left, chords in the right.
nihonjin, yes '2 and' wasn't what i had in mind but i was just thinking of red to remind me of a repetitive, two chord per bar approach.

you're quite right that maj6 chords are a definite, although i nearly always play maj7 in a mainstream setting.

would you (and you ziggy) recommend playing stride even with a bass player?  i wouldn't have thought of that...
an artist who has this down pretty good is butch thompson.
that guy can really play with feeling.  he's good on clarinet as well.
i don't know...a lot of the trad players that i've seen live play stride during their solos and some of their comping (with the one or two handed approaches outlined above).  the problem is that the bass notes may or may not be stepping on the bassist/tuba, and the chords might clash with the banjo/guitar (although that's really an issue in any jazz setting with two chord instruments).  

oh, and the last time i was in new orleans, about a year and a half ago, i was told that "they" still prefer "dixieland" as a label.
for what it's worth i did a lot of stride type playing when i was playing those gigs.  the changes are simple enough that there usually wasn't any clash between me and the bass - although sometimes someone messes up...then there is:)
i think it's ok to play stride even with a bassplayer. dixiland harmony is very simple and chances are big that you and the bass are hitting the same notes makes so that clashing because of different chord tones is mostly not happening.
fair enough, i'll definitely give the old stride lh a workout next time i play in that situation.

thanks for the input guys.
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