[Dixielandjazz] Don't people dance anymore?

Charles Suhor csuhor at zebra.net
Thu Dec 2 12:57:45 PST 2004

Re Tom and Larry's exchange below, much as I hate to admit it, I 
believe that people DO dance nowadays, with and without alcoholic 
lubrication--but most don’t know how to respond to Dixieland jazz--it’s 
not what they usually “let go” to.

But innumerable bars and dances that feature blues bands, pop/rock 
cover-the-hits combos, nostalgia groups playing Beatles/70’s and beyond 
  tunes, zydeco and hip-hop bands—events that use such bands get people 
on the floor because so many of them were raised on that music or hear 
it a lot currently. Dixieland, swing, and ballroom style music are 
before their time. It takes both exposure and cultivation of a taste 
(plus some good showmanship) for people to respond to them.

It’s different In New Orleans, as Larry says, where people dig OKOM. 
But I think this is to a large extent because people both hip and 
square go there expecting to “get with it” when they hear marching 
bands, early jazz styles, etc. The mystique of the city is both a rich 
cultural heritage and tourist bait, and it’s plain fashionable when 
you’re there to second-line behind a street band, sway on the dance 
floor to a Cajun group, applaud after every jazz soloist, etc. 
Musicians there really appreciate this leg-up—they get to work, after 
all. But they’re also aware that there are some compromises involved, 
like playing loud as hell too often, working with over-amped 
instruments, and meeting audiences’ often stereotyped expectations of 
the music. All in all, it’s a good trade-off, I suspect.

DJMLers have written often about the need to go the extra mile to 
create audiences beyond our small “niche” fans in most places—inventive 
marketing and promotion, showmanship, going to the schools, etc. I 
reckon that’s what it takes. But I don’t think the problem is that 
dancing has gone out of style, not in the least. And I don’t see 
loosening restraints on alcohol consumption and driving as a point of 
attack on the problem. It’s not clear that laws against drunk driving 
are really limiting the music business, but if it were, I’d rather have 
fewer gigs and fewer traffic deaths than be the victim of overdoses of 
booze and libertarianism.

Charlie Suhor

P.S.--Don't know why this message came out in boldface-- a computer 
belch, not an intentional choice.

On Dec 2, 2004, at 1:43 PM, TCASHWIGG at aol.com wrote:

> In a message dated 12/2/04 10:31:35 AM Pacific Standard Time,
> sign.guy at charter.net writes:
>> .  A sell out crowd.  Last week I saw him performing for a European
>> audience.  Same group, almost the same music etc.  That audience 
>> almost tore
>> the house down dancing swaying and clapping.  A big difference.  Those
>> people came to have a good time.  The St. Louis crowd didn't, at 
>> least not
>> in the same way.  To be completely fair there were several ushers 
>> that were
>> having a really good time off in the wings.
>> It's difficult to change that but we have to keep trying..
> Yes, I agree Larry:
> In this great Land of the Free and Freedom  we have in many places 
> simply
> forgotten how to have Fun.
> When I tour and play in Europe I always find great audiences and
> participation and great feedback for the band from people of all walks 
> of life and they
> are not all drinking Alcohol either.
> Our great country now has so many laws that we have greatly restricted 
> the
> everyday quality of life, and unfortunately the more they pass and try 
> to
> enforce the less and less Freedom we really have.
> The Insurance companies and Police and Security folks would have us 
> all sit
> quietly in concert seats and not ever get up and dance, let our hair 
> down and
> have a good time, less liability for them.
> Drunk Driving has not stopped just because they passed laws against 
> it, and
> it did not stop most of the habitual drunks that still drive even when 
> they
> have been convicted several times and had their driving privileges 
> taken away.
> What it has done however is repress all the regular folks and the non
> drinkers to stay at home for fear of being killed by one of the drunk 
> drivers, or
> worse getting put in jail at the sole discretion of a policeman 
> looking for a
> bust.
> I would venture that there are far more accidents of all kinds 
> happening at
> home by intoxicated folks than there are drunk driving accidents on 
> the roads
> or injuries at dances and concerts.
> I would venture an assumption that there are more Drunk driver arrest
> potentials at the conclusion of major Sporting events than dances, the 
> sports fans
> are restricted to sit there and drink all during the game and then get 
> up and
> leave and drive home.
> The Music world offers the consumer the opportunity to get up and 
> dance and
> move and shake your booty and work up a sweat and expend the alcohol 
> much
> faster.
> Cheers,
> Tom Wiggins
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