[Dixielandjazz] Jazz - The Spiritual Side vs. Technique

Elazar Brandt jazzmin at actcom.net.il
Mon Dec 6 23:32:16 PST 2004

Amen to what Tim said.

I went to a supposedly New Orleans jazz concert last year in Jerusalem where the
players were technically top notch, but the New Orleans songs (song themes,
really, they didn't do the whole songs) only served as excuses for more esoteric
modern jazz style solos. Only the first and last half a chorus was recognizable.
The show had none of the pizzazz of a traditional N.O. jazz performance. Halfway
into each song you'd forget what song they were playing. Unless you were into
the technicalities of each soloist's abilities, you might as well have been
waiting for a bus. On the other hand, I get a lot of compliments about my Dr
Jazz Band even though two players are beginning students and the other two are
Russian and not veteran OKOM players, and I am new on the cornet, because what
we play might be elementary in technique, but in spirit it is probably much
closer to the original N.O. music than what a lot of pros are playing today.

Similarly, I went last week to a brass quintet concert of American jazz
classics. I think only one of the players was American. All of them were
seasoned pro players with formal training. Again, the show was technically
excellent, but there was something missing from the heart of the music that
didn't quite come across. I actually had one colleague comment that she liked
the brass band schtick that I do at our annual folk music weekend retreat
better -- and that's with 10-15 players who have had only 1 hour of instruction
and have otherwise never played before. Technique? There isn't any. Heart?
1000%. But people love it. When the bit was not on the original schedule for the
retreat this year, there was a groundswell of queries about "Where's the brass
band?" and I was promptly contacted to verify that I would be there and do the
routine again.

In other news, the Ministry of Jazz is about to launch a new venture -- a brass
ensemble of our own. So far we have 3 trumpets (students) and me either on
trumpet, or possibly trombone or F mellophone. If I can recruit another bone
player, I'll go to tuba, and we'll have a relatively balanced combo. Our local
folk club has an Israeli duo coming that does the music of Simon and Garfunkel,
and we decided to take on the challenge of arranging "The Sound of Silence" and
"Bridge over Troubled Water" for ourselves and performing them as an opening for
the show. The performers eagerly accepted our offer. Other club members, when I
mentioned doing Simon and Garfunkel on 4 trumpets, they laughed, thinking that
we're talking "Simon and Garfunkel meet the Charge of the Light Brigade". But
they won't laugh when they hear it. Even at our current rehearsal level of too
loud and too slow, it sounds quite good.

People have forgotten what real live acoustic music sounds like, especially from
horns. Talk about playing with heart and soul and spirit, you play a horn with
your own breath, and properly played, it becomes an extension of your soul. Over
here, in Hebrew, breath and soul are even the same word. So let's get out there
and blow their minds, and set them free from this synthesized, homogenized,
plastic pop music scene. I cannot fathom why people over here will pay more for
a DJ at their events than for a live band, but they do. Sure would like to break
them free from that business too.

Doctor Jazz Band
Jerusalem, Israel
Tel: +972-2-679-2537

> -----Original Message-----

> From: Tim Eldred [mailto:julepjerk at surewest.net]
> Please deliver me from sterile, technically-correct performances, and let me
> listen to those in which the performer has put a bit of his/her unique self
> into it.

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list