[Dixielandjazz] Re: Dixielandjazz Digest, Vol 8, Issue 17

DWSI at aol.com DWSI at aol.com
Fri Aug 8 14:51:13 PDT 2003

In a message dated 8/8/2003 1:15:40 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
dixielandjazz-request at ml.islandnet.com writes:

> Subject: Fw: [Dixielandjazz] Re: Future of Dixieland - Redux (long, but
>   PLEASEread!)
(Dan Spink adds a few thoughts)


I'm not sure I fully understand your  specific goals (beyond promote 
traditional jazz), your strategy or gameplan, but I would like to offer some 
suggestions based upon my day job (managing advertising accounts) work experience.
1. Stop "perserving" and focus all your energy upon "promoting." Change your 
mission statement accordingly. As soon as you put "preserve" and "traditional 
jazz" in the same paragraph people assume you want to create a Preservation 
Hall environment or a museum. Museums are to preserve the dead and gone. Live 
performances are to promote and enjoy the present.
2. Above all, stress the fun, the excitement and sheer joy of traditional 
Dixie, ragtime and the like. This is a difference even the dullest listener can 
understand. Cool jazz, by comparison, is not happy, fun-loving music. Happy and 
fun are what truly differentiate our music from the rest of "jazz." Build on 
that foundation of difference. How can you make your performances even more 
fun, or happier? Ask people to dance? Ask people to sing along? Be creative in 
fun making. Attract the little kids by a contest playing Kazoos 
maybe--whatever--to get their parents to attend with them. 
3. Since your work is truly missionary by nature, identify your core group of 
most highly motivated traditional jazz lovers. These are the people most 
likely to help you and to donate their time and money to make this kind of music 
happen. Make them feel important. Give them recognition with a special ID, or 
group name. Let them vote on decisions. 
4. People are most interested in other people--not in abstract ideas or 
movements. Try to identify other people who are newsworthy in a way that promotes 
interest in traditional jazz; invite them to speak, play or just show up, even 
if they are over 300 miles away. Pay to bring them to you. Let them be the 
subtle force that intriques, based upon who they are, what they have done (in 
traditional jazz) or what they can do now. The younger the better. I recall being 
knocked out one month ago by meeting a Dixieland trumpet player who was 17. 
And he was damned good. There are people like that but you have to find them. 
Use these people to stimulate interest in whatever performances you want to 
5. Make friends with some editors on a local newspaper, and/or broadcast 
announcers on local stations. Let them suggest ways to obtain what we call "added 
value" in the ad business; i.e., using their promotions, programs or other 
activities to promote your interests at the same time. Remember, they have their 
own goals which are not to preserve your jazz interests, per se. But you can 
find some common ground if you cultivate them and get to understand what would 
appeal to them, and thelp them out.
6. Find an "authority" you can borrow or call upon in traditional jazz. A 
name that musicians would recognize and respect, if possible. Get them involved 
anyway you can, even if it's only sending a letter that can be printed in a 
local newspaper, supporting your efforts. Have this "authority" show up, if 
possible to answer questions at a performance. Get him or her an interview on a 
local talk show. I was amazed to discover that a salesman in the clothing store I 
worked in while in college happened to have been a drummer in the Red Nickols 
band. His failing eyesight forced him to quite and get a sales job. Imagine 
what he might have talked about if asked.
7. Create a regular event to attract an audience and promote the hell out of 
it. Think of the Ragtime Festival in Joplin, as only one example. Make sure 
you have quality performers perform, get local press coverage, make it fun, 
exciting and have something for everyone. Think Disney, if you will. Your unique 
annual event, (e.g., the annual Trad Jazz Challenge), could be held outdoors 
with all kinds of food and even beer and sporting your own T-shirts.

To put it together simply, Margaret, stop thinking preserving, and start 
promoting it for the fun of it. Profit will come. I hope this is helpful. Good 
luck from the bottom of my advertising heart.

Dan (piano fingers) Spink

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