[Dixielandjazz] Jazz in Europe

David Dustin postmaster at fountainsquareramblers.org
Mon Jan 1 12:30:48 PST 2007

Marek wrote:

>> So, perhaps jazz has emigrated and is alive and well in Europe (and
>> other places, Japan for example)/

Sigh, I shouldn¹t take this bait but I worked overseas for many years and
have always been amazed at the superlative quality of jazz performance in
Europe. Everybody has probably heard of Ronnie Scott¹s in London. But it¹s
far beyond that club.  It¹s non-OKOM, but for my money, the hottest big band
today is the Janne Errsson Big Band which tours and plays out of Sweden.
They have a website ‹ check it out if you want to hear a KILLER big band in
the Buddy Rich mold.  And for OKOMers, a Dutch group called the Beau Hunks
laboriously and meticulously transcribed the music tracks from the Little
Rascals films and put out a terrific homage CD in the early 1990s.  Then
they recreated/recorded the 1930s/1940s jazz of composer Raymond Scott, a
year or two later.  These are FINE musicians and scholars of American jazz
in the OKOM tradition.

But my all-time favorite BIG band has to be the Netherlands¹ Metropole
Orchestra, which has been playing jazz since about 1945, now has about 50
players (I¹m not making this up), all on state salaries, and is or was led
by a monster arranger by the name of Rob Pronk who has been compared to
Quincy Jones and arranged for Artie Shaw (before his death) and other
American jazzmen.  

Even if you don¹t like big band jazz, OKOM people should at least know that
this kind of EXCELLENT stuff is going on in Europe (and Down Under), where
it is treasured and nurtured in the way that it IS NOT here in the U.S.A.
where it was born and came of age!  Ask me if I am proud of Hoppity Hip or
Rap which is blasted out globally as the emblem of our current state of
cultural achievement.  (Hell, I even heard solid OKOM jazz being played in
MOSCOW in the 1970s, and it had been outlawed there by Stalin. Go figure!)
Besides our current deplorable foreign policy and worldview, Americans
should be ashamed at the manner in which we ignore the cardinal arts of our
country and culture.  (IMO, of course.)

Marek, my jazz friend, I¹m buying a plane ticket and we¹ll pub-crawl and
listen devoutly to some of the fantastic JAZZ that is supported and
propagated by your enlightened country...

Dave Dustin

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