[Dixielandjazz] Jazz on Star Trek-The Next Generation

Bill Gunter jazzboard at hotmail.com
Tue Sep 27 13:37:28 PDT 2005

Hello all,

I just finished watching a rerun of "Star Trek - The Next Generation" 
featuring the captain, a bald headed older guy with an English accent and 
the improbable French name of Jean Luc Picard.

Perhaps you remember the series. Picard's first officer was dashing 
Commander Will Riker who, to make this relevant to the DJML, liked to play 
jazz on the trombone.

Well . . .

In this one scene, Riker is in the holodeck - for you non-trekkies, the 
holodeck is a space where a computer can set up a realistic three 
dimensional scene within which the individual (in this case, Will Riker) can 
interact with the scenery and other characters generated by the computer.

So there is Riker in the holodeck and he programs the computer to generate a 
new orleans jazz joint circa 1950 complete with a three piece jazz combo 
(pianist, drummer and bass player) and a trombone just sitting on top of the 
piano. The object is that Riker will pick up the trombone and sit it with 
the combo which he does.

But before he plays he has the computer generate an audience for his 
audition and he has the computer generate a sexy brunette sitting at the bar 
who oogles Riker up and down with "come hither" glances.

Riker casually strolls over to this computer generated lady at the bar and 
the following conversation ensues:

RIKER: Hi there. I'm Will, what's your name?

BAR LADY: Trixie

RIKER: Well, Trixie, do you like jazz?

BAR LADY: I like all kinds of jazz except dixieland.

RIKER: Why don't you like dixieland?

BAR LADY: Because you can't dance to it.

BILL GUNTER: (aiming remote) Click!

Excuse me . . .

By my reckoning the most danceable music there is may be found in a solid 
two beat dixieland performance.

And here I thought that Star Trek bore some relationship to reality. Silly 

SUBJECT MATTER CHANGE ALERT: the above material about Star Trek deals with 
the subject of Jazz on a TV series. The paragraphs which follow are not 
about jazz and probably belong somewhere else, but I think it's funny so 
I'll include it anyway.  If you don't like non-jazz stuff you can stop here.

There was another Star Trek series called "Star Trek Voyager." This series 
must have had the most politically correct casting of any of the Star Trek 

The Captain was a woman named Katherine Janeway who stood around with her 
arms akimbo most of the time looking masterful. She wore her hair in a 
strict "no-nonsense" style. Nothing "soft and feminine" about Capt. Janeway 
(at least when she was on the bridge).

The Executive officer was a Native American (we used to call them indians) 
whose name was Chakotay. Because he was an officer on a Star Ship he 
couldn't very well go around with a feather headdress so the producers had 
Chakotay's feathers tattoo'd on his forhead.  Nice touch.

The Operations officer was an Asian American named Ensign Harry Kim. His 
character never seemed to be fully developed and his role in the series was 
pretty bland but it helped round out the "multi-cultural" aspect of the 

The Science officer was a vulcan (like Spock, sort of) except that he was 
black. I guess he was an African Vulcan (rather than an African American). 
He was obviously the smartest guy on the mission. He always spoke with 
snotty precise English and he had zero sense of humor.

There was another female with no particular assignment on the star ship - 
she was white with red hair and there was no question that she was female 
because she always wore a skin tight body suit which left no doubt. She had 
the unlikely name of "Seven of Nine" which was derived from the fact that 
she was assimilated by the Borg (don't ask) as a child but then later 
reassimilated back into the human culture by the good guys.

Ths ship's doctor was played by a white guy. But his character was that of a 
hologram image and his name was "Emergency Medical Hologram AK-1 (EMH Mark 
1)."  This was an interesting development because sick or injured crew 
personnel could only be attended to in a "hologram" sick bay where 
everything was a virtual 3D image generated by a computer.  A responsible 
white guy was cast as the doctor, but only as a "hologram" and not a real 

The only good looking and dashing white guy was an Observer/Scout name 
Lieutenant Tom Paris who was a good pilot and was pretty smart but he had 
been young and wild and had a bad record. He had been found guilty by Star 
Fleet of several infractions of proper behavior and had been discharged and 
imprisoned as an irresponsible and untrustworthy officer. He has been 
assigned to a rehabilitation program and placed under the command of Captain 

There were no "Mediterranean" types or Arabic characters presented nor did I 
see any crew members from India.  But, to be fair, they made a real effort 
to include most ethnic and gender variations.

Unfortunately nobody played jazz on this star ship so my recounting of the 
"Star Trek Voyager" casting is probably not appropriate material for the 
DJML. However, I did warn you above that such would be the case.  Address 
all complaints to Bob Ringwald.

But I think the conversation Will Riker had with Trixie, the Bar Lady in the 
"Star Trek Next Generation" series definitely is an appropriate posting.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill "Trekkie" Gunter
jazzboard at hotmail.com

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