[Dixielandjazz] Jazz insularity
zenith at ans.com.au
Tue Feb 11 11:08:31 PST 2003
Hi! email threaders and fellow DJMLers,
A current summary of opinions/comments listed as follows:
Luis Daniel Flores, Argentina
Answering to "As far as jazz, most of the leading exponents in the various styles have
been in this country and so no desire to look further. "
what about in present days...., are there more and better jazz band
Jim Beebe reply & some previous comments
It is hard to say as there is less and less interest in any kind of jazz here in the US.
So, Tom, all of this to acknowledge your concern at our insularity and
to try and explain it.
John Petters reply & some comments
Quite agree. Arguably the only non American innovator was Django. Though we have produced and do produce good players, there have been few original voices outside the USA.
As far as jazz, most of the leading exponents in the various styles have been in this country and so no desire to look further. Also a contributing factor in the low interest in non-American jazz groups has been the unavailability of foreign recordings.
Bill "Thimbles" Gunter
How can "jazz" be mentioned in the same paragraph as "insularity"? One of the reasons jazz
was able to spread around the world as quickly as it did was because the
language is universal! That's why!
I won't sign on completely to either view. Certainly, xenophobia is not an exclusively American sickness. I grant you, we have had our moments. But insularity, as a national trait, I don't think it fits. In the world of OKOM the name that comes to mind first is Django Reinhardt. Come to think, I can't make a second name, but its early on Sunday. Tom, I do a fair amount of sail boat (never say yacht) racing. Think of it this way. Jazz is to America as racing boats is to Kiwis. It's in the DNA.
Some of the replies seem to be at cross purposes to what I was trying to say so it is my fault for not explaining myself properly. As a person with no focus on life, with low self-esteem, basically lazy and without any marketable skills I respond to all the above in this e-mail. I respectfully agree to all the following:
There is less and less interest in any kind of jazz here in the US. (and generally overseas as well)
There have been few original voices outside the USA. (emphasis on the original)
A contributing factor in the low interest in non-American jazz groups has been the unavailability of foreign recordings.
One of the reasons jazz was able to spread around the world as quickly as it did was because the
language is universal.
Jazz is to America as racing boats are to Kiwis
However, even though America is a large country (and beautiful with many excellent musicians) it never-the-less is smaller than combined Europe plus other English speaking countries excluding (say) all the so called third world countries. I rest my case on statistics - lets assume that the population of jazz musicians TODAY ranges somewhere between 0.01 and 0.10 percent of the population, say between 25,000 and 250,000 in USA. Then over (approximately) two-thirds of the current (as distinct from past) jazz world musician population live outside America. To ignore anything outside USA, in my humble opinion, can be construed as having slightly insular thinking (polite snipe) and I think it is arrogant. However, I suppose most of us are now living in the past.
International Jazz festivals exist in places that probably (if speaking honestly) some listers will have never heard of, such as Turkey, Tunisia, Malta, Iceland, Belize, Czech Republic (where Australia's Graeme Bell virtually introduced jazz) Cuba, (where there are probably more musician per head of population than anywhere else in the world), Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Gibraltar, Israel, Hungary, Finland, Portugal, Singapore, Thailand, to name only a few as there are about 260 countries in the world of which perhaps 100 or so have no jazz experience. For example, there has been jazz in the Peace Hotel in Shanghai since before the revolution over 50 years ago. The Nottingham Rhythm Club in UK just pips Australia's Annual Jazz Convention as being the longest continuously running (as far as I know) jazz event in the world. I think the Merseysippi JB in UK have been playing together for over 50 years. I respect the American history and was introduced to jazz via Bunk Johnson, Kid Ory and George Lewis. We had an unofficial visit to our Climax JB Stud Club in Edinburgh in 1959 when the full George Lewis band played and jammed together with us. Our Climax JB had a 40 year reunion in 1993 (good God its now 50 years!) with all members still alive (each running their own bands) and kicking.
Tom (respectful submitter) Wood
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