[Dixielandjazz] Suffer The Children

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 23 17:14:44 PST 2004

Roses to you, Margaret Squires, for presenting the young ones. Please
continue to ignore those who are carping about it. They are fast
becoming extinct anyway.

Funny how that stuff works. Two years ago, I played for a Jazz Society
and at my own expense, brought 6 young swing dancers. (in their early
20s). Just before we started there were some rumblings about "kids".
During the program that all changed and the oldsters and the kids shared
the dance floor and even went to switching partners. This year, we did
that gig alone. Guess what? The old timers started asking me if the
young dancers were coming, they wanted them there. Go Figure.

Please also experiment with having young players join an older band for
a set or two. Let an older guy or two sit out while a teenager takes
his/her place. There is not enough of that these days.

This summer, we are adding an 8 year old jazz violinist to our group for
3 gigs so far. Jonathan Russell, who is a wonderful player. He has
played (sat in) with. Paris Washboard, Pearl Django, Grove Street
Stompers, Chicago Six, Bearcats etc. (Google search for Jonathan
Russell) His busy schedule and distance from us (120 miles) prevents us
working with him even more. He will be at N.O. Jazz & Heritage Festival
in May for those who might be visiting. Well worth your time to see/hear

The kicker? Our gigs are paying gigs for him, not sit-in gigs. If we
develop paying gigs for the young players, they will continue to play in
the style. If not, they will follow the money to other styles, like most
professional working musicians do.

Those of us who grew up in the 1940s and 50s, were fortunate indeed to
have older musicians look out for us, encourage us, and let us play with
them. Jazz Musicians were so much more accessible to kids then and the
audience did not mind a bit. Wannabes like me sat in at Nick's in NYC at
age 16. We were encouraged to attend "loft" sessions and cutting
contests downtown with the legends in jazz. Somehow that seems, in large
measure, to have changed.

Have we oldsters become a part of the jaded "ME" generation without even
realizing it? Hey folks, why not give something back?

Steve Barbone

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