[Dixielandjazz] Jazz Must Die

Patrick Cooke patcooke@cox.net
Tue, 13 Aug 2002 09:23:42 -0500

Steve wrote:

    >>> because like Pat Cooke, we are old.<<<

Steve...I'm 75...when I get old, I'll let you know...

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stephen Barbone" <barbonestreet@earthlink.net>
To: "Dixieland Jazz Mailing List" <dixielandjazz@ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Monday, August 12, 2002 9:00 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Jazz Must Die

> Ron Gable posted an interesting site on the problems of jazz and it's
> declining audience. Pat Cooke took a different tack pointing to the
> amount of "Festivals" out there. Here is my "short" two cents.
> I think a little of both is true. I don't remember exactly when the OKOM
> festival scene took hold but probably around 1970. Why not before?
> Because before, you could go the a thousand clubs in the USA and hear
> OKOM. When the club scene disappeared for OKOM, the Festivals flourished
> and the trad jazz societies grew like weeds, all over the place. Because
> there was an aging audience, with a few bucks of disposable income that
> still wanted to hear the music. However, the total audience was bigger
> during the "club days".
> Today, the aging audience is almost dead. Perhaps there are 10,000 fans
> that make the OKOM festival circuit. The same folks go to several
> festivals a year. But since they are declining, festivals are shrinking
> from 3 days to 1 day. Or going out of business. Or including more and
> more non-OKOM music to their programs because OKOM no longer attracts an
> economically viable audience. Sacramento is a case in point. Used to be
> Sacramento Dixieland (or Trad Jazz?) Festival. Now it is Sacramento
> Jubilee with 50% non-jazz.
> That is a fact of life and it is happening all over the USA.
> Does that mean Jazz will Die? Not if jazz musicians figure out how to
> get to the young people who make up the "new" audience. There are bands
> such as mine that have figured this out. When we play a "Jazz" Festival,
> we draw better than Ike Turner, as well as most other performers there.
> Typically, when we play in a public park, we draw better than the other
> 30 bands that appear there over the summer. We constantly get new gigs
> from our public performances. We get lots of dancers when we perform. We
> do club dates in bars and restaurants where young people come to see us.
> We get press and TV coverage. Etc., etc., etc. We do about 160 gigs a
> year, stopping there by choice because like Pat Cooke, we are old.
> It is a plain simple fact of any business endeavor that you must get new
> accounts each year if you expect your business to survive. You must
> search for them. You must sell them. Because every year you will lose
> 20% of your customer base. Some will die, some will move, some will get
> pissed at you, some will go bankrupt etc. Music is no damn different
> than any other business. In fact it is a bit simpler.
> Like Pat, we don't play gigs where we don't have fun. And, we don't play
> for people we don't like. Those are our limits. But we find that if the
> joint ain't jumpin when we get there, it will be very soon after we get
> there. And we are having so much fun that we'll play till 2 or 3 in the
> morning and love every bit of it. Our record so far? 12 hours of playing
> during a jazz festival, from 12 PM Saturday till 6 PM Sunday. For those
> who are math challenged, that's 12 playing hours out of 36.
> Rest of the time we spent chasing women, who BTW tell us we're awesome.
> ;-)
> Why, because even at our advanced ages (70 on average) we love it so
> much we get our endorphins flowing. It is a natural high. I actually
> think it helps us stay younger than our chronological ages. Sweet young
> things tell me they thought I was about 50 when I tell them that I am
> 68.
> Hopefully, there will be more bands who have it figured it and can carry
> the torch when we pull up for the hand-off.
> Simply stated: Jazz as "listening only" music has come full circle. Now
> it's time to get them dancing. Hey you festivals out there, put the
> dance floor up front and go after all those swing dancers out there.
> Hire some "Condon Style" Bands. Let the music blast forth. Let the good
> times roll. Hire bands that get the audiences involved. Even if they
> can't dance, they can still jump around.
> Can't you just see it? A mosh pit filled with 80 year olds?  :-)
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone
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