[Dixielandjazz] Getting music to the kids.

Steve Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 4 10:31:13 PST 2006

"Bill Gunter" <jazzboard at hotmail.com> wrote (polite snip)
> Hi Steve, and all -
> You wrote (about my story for the American Rag):
>> 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!

Sorry Bill, I was talking about "we" in the present tense. Bands playing
OKOM that are alive and kicking today, or were say from 1975 to present.
None of us produced 78s that got to the kids. Those 78s that were sold from
the 20s to the 60s, were sold to kids, however, those kids heard the music
first on radio, or saw the bands live in concert, read about this sinful
music in the newspaper, or got turned on by word of mouth. Or as very young
kids, saw/heard it in the Cartoons at the movie theaters. But, it all
>> If we really want to get this music to the kids, we must do what the
>> "young"
>> 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!

Of course they are everywhere so it's easy to go where the kids are. There
are lively nightclub scenes all over the world where kids hang out. That's
what I'm talking about. And they hang out at Street Fairs, Restaurant
Festivals, Concerts in the Park, Modern Jazz Festivals, Grammar Schools,
High Schools, Colleges, etc. "We", generally speaking, do not go there, but
we sure as hell can, any time we want.
> Let's see, there were about fifty kids there. What percentage of the Phoenix
> "kid" population does that amount to?

About the same percentage of the old folks population that you reach when
playing a jazz society venue, or OKOM Festival venue with 50 senior citizens
attending. (The senior citizen population in the US exceeds 30 million)
> 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.

I agree, certainly not by playing one gig 500 miles away from your home
base. But we don't reach the older generation by playing at Jazz Societies
and/or at OKOM Jazz Festivals either. To reach the younger generation in
your territory however, can be accomplished by playing those venues above.
> 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.

Give the kids more credit. This year I played OKOM in front of at least 5000
different kids, within 100 miles of my house. Not reaching the younger
generation by any means, but certainly creating visibility among the young
for my band, and selling CDs to the young, at gigs, on CD Baby, and at the
local record departments of local bookstores.

About Rap, give the kids more credit. Rap is old news. So far in 2006 the
top selling CD is "High School Musical" soundtrack. And Justin Timberlake's
latest CD release is now number 2.

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL? WHAT'S THAT? See below review: Certainly NOT RAP.

"Disney has struck platinum with High School Musical, a made-for-cable movie
that was mega-popular on the Disney Channel before spawning a mega-popular
soundtrack. Echoing Grease, the plot involves two students (Zac Efron and
Vanessa Anne Hutchinson) who fall for each other while on vacation, only to
realize they go to the same high school‹though they belong to different
cliques. Fortunately they both love singing! The songs are typical Disney
pop: on the bland side but also very well-crafted, they stick to your head
like strawberry-flavored gum."

Heck, if Disney can sell music to young kids, why can't we sell cartoon
music to young kids? :-) VBG. Does this mean tuneful music is coming back?

BTW, 2005 top CD seller was Mariah Carey's "Emancipation of Mimi". 50 Cent
came in second, but Kelly Clarkson came in a close third.

2004 top CD seller was Usher's "Confessions".

Steve Barbone

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list