[Dixielandjazz] Getting OKOM to the kids

Bill Gunter jazzboard at hotmail.com
Fri Nov 3 23:15:20 PST 2006

Hi Steve, and all -

You wrote (about my story for the American Rag):

>Bill G wrote a great article about getting OKOM to kids via the digital 
>media and Ipods . . .

Thank you, Steve - it's pretty evident that you can't find OKOM on 
downloadable MP3s at the present time.

You continued:

>but that is only about 1/10th of the story. Heck, we didn't
>get OKOM to the kids when we were using the right media. From LPs to
>cassettes, to CDs

Sure we did only it wasn't so much on LPs or cassettes or even CDs . . . it 
was 78s!  That's what young people used to listened to. The older people 
were playing off of sheet music in the parlor piano bench and they were 
playing stuff they heard as youngsters. It wasn't jazz . . . the older folks 
hated that stuff!

>If we really want to get this music to the kids, we must do what the 
>Indie bands do . . . PLAY WHERE THE KIDS ARE.

The "kids" are everywhere. As a group they are pretty much evenly 
distributed around the world. What I mean is - you, as a musician, cannot go 
to where the kids are. You can only go where the kids who are "true 
believers" tend to congregate.  In Phoenix last month the Boondockers found 
such a place made up of youngsters who called themselves "The Lindy 
Hoppers." We all had a ball!

Let's see, there were about fifty kids there. What percentage of the Phoenix 
"kid" population does that amount to?

By going to where the kids are you are meeting the needs of an extremely 
small group. But you're not reaching the younger generation.

Frankly, I don't think we (your band and mine and others like ours made up 
of relics from the jazz days plus a few youngsters who have been nurtured to 
play OKOM from jazz camps and high school bands where we know traditional 
jazz is the most popular item of the curriculum . . . yeah, right) are 
reaching today's crop of teen-agers.  They listen to Rap!  Is that sad or 
what.  But that's what the labels are producing and it's what you find on 
websites that download music.

Most of the readers of The American Rag are likely unaware of what it means 
to "download an mp3 file."

A young person (son of a neighbor) told me about two years ago when I heard 
my first mp3 chunk of music, "mp3s are where it's at!"  - That was 
eye-openng. Why would anyone go and spend 15 to 18 bucks for a CD when they 
can download just the tracks they want off the internet for pennies and load 
'em into an Ipod.

By the way, newer Ipods can also download movies . . . how powerful is that!

In the opening of this e-mail I asked the question "What percentage of the 
Phoenix "kid" population [the fifty or so Lindy Hoppers] does that amount 

The answer is a ridiculously small number compared to "What percentage of 
the Phoenix "kid" population has an Ipod?

Finally, most of us (musicians like you and me, Steve) are basically what 
one might term "old." I know, I know, it doesn't seem like that to you and 
me, but it's the truth. Kids might love us because we play some music they 
wanna dance to (gawd knows why when they can stand in one place and gyrate 
their pelvic regions in time to some rap tune which has to be totally cool) 
but in spite of the fact that there are some kids who come to hear us play 
there is a HUGE, ENORMOUS, OVERWHELMING number of kids who don't even know 
we exist and even if they did they couldn't care less. They are happily 
downloading porn on the internet while they listen to Gangsta Rap (which 
they have also downloaded on the internet).

On the other hand, Steve, you pointed out: " . . . or if you are Bria or 
Jonathan or Brett, or one of
the kids out there with a young band, get your butt on the road and do it 
all over the world. . .  LIVE, WHERE THE KIDS ARE."

Good point!!

But in order to be Bria or Jonathan or Brett you require one esssential 
qualification . . . youth! Alas, you and I don't qualify. If anyone can 
produce OKOM that youngsters will download it will be these kids. But they 
have to do it on their own just like we did when we were young.

If my dad or any of his generation had tried to encourage me I'd have 
probably concluded that I was on the wrong track and done something 
different. I realize this is a pretty snide comment but how many of us 
really enjoyed listening to the advice of old farts?

As my Websters says:

anachronism, n. 1. a person, object, thing, or event that is chronologically 
out of place, esp. one appropriate to an earlier period.

What that means is that it may already be too late.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill "turn out the lights, the party's over" Gunter
jazzboard at hotmail.com

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