[Dixielandjazz] Trad (?) Bands

Tim Eldred julepjerk at surewest.net
Mon Jun 13 20:46:15 PDT 2005

My wife and I are major fans of Mike Vax and his Great American Jazz Band
and try to catch them several times at the Jubilee if at all possible.  On
the Sunday night set, he had an entire youth band come up and play two
numbers with his group.  The youth band was reading their arrangements, but
Vax and his crew were improvising.  (The four-handed piano was terrific!)
The solos were shared, and the kids were brought to a whole new level.
Regrettably, attendance was sparse.  Truly a pity.  At the Monday morning
10:00 set, my wife and I were the only ones in the audience when the group
arrived.  A few others wandered in, but it had to be disheartening to the
band.  They still played with energy and fire, often seemingly playing to
and challenging each other.  We have never understood why some "trad jazz"
fans dismiss such groups - they are the ones who are playing music that
energizes youth.  (You should have seen the youth band's response both
before and after they played - attentive and appreciative.)

And, while I am commenting on the Vax group, one of our favorite sets for
many years was the combination of Vax and Stan Mark in the Edgewater
Ballroom.  Cutting up, creativity, and cutting contests were the norm.  I
imagine that was like it was in the older days, when bands met and competed.
Bring it back!!!!

Tim Eldred
Roseville, CA

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