[Dixielandjazz] New Players--a sad situation

Larry Walton Entertainment - St. Louis larrys.bands at charter.net
Thu Jan 25 13:26:01 PST 2007

I play Ipod

The problem is universal, the size of town makes no difference - I'm still 
trying to find a trombone player and drummer and can't for the exact reasons 
you mention.  Most of the guys here that play Dixie are very good but almost 
none can or want to read.  I want both readers and players.  Drums are 
different because most want to play swing and only have a cow bell and wood 
block on their set for decoration.  They either play swing or rock.  I would 
like to have someone that can switch gears.  The two or three that can are 
very busy.

Very few want to play this kind of music and very few are interested in the 
work it takes to put together a band that jells.  This stuff isn't easy and 
it takes some dedication, desire and a lot of hard work.  Most of these guys 
are 70 years old and their desire and dedication went out the window 30 
years ago.  Younger musicians either don't have the concepts, the chops, the 
reading or faking ability or the desire. or all the above.  Worst of all 
they don't know tunes.

I think the thing that separates me and a lot of us from newer players is 
that we know hundreds and hundreds of tunes in many styles and as you 
pointed out that if it isn't like H.S. band they can't or won't do it.
St. Louis
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "billsharp" <sharp-b at clearwire.net>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 2:08 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] New Players--a sad situation

> Unless you live in a large metropolitan area, most of us live in a
> barren wasteland of available talent for new players for OKOM. For 2
> years I have played in a Django-style Hot Jazz trio, and have searched
> high schools and colleges for persons who 1) can read, and 2) would
> like to learn the older tunes by putting themselves in the center of an
> already-formed group.  We consist of 2 guitars and a bass, and for this
> type of music, you really need a violin, or clarinet, or accordion, to
> play the lead lines and  the hot solos characteristic of the Gypsy
> style music.  We have followed numerous leads, and have had many
> players  express an initial interest come to a rehearsal, but never pan
> out basically because 1)  they can't read, even though we try to take a
> gentle approach to the initial tunes we give them, tunes consisting
> simply of whole, half, quarter and eighth notes, such as Exactly Like
> You, Limehouse Blues etc.  If they showed even the slightest interest,
> we'd supply them with Example Cds and the music leadsheets.   2) They
> won't be committed to the practice element involved on their part,
> since it (the ability to play the stuff ) doesn't come "right now" -- -
> I mean immediately, then they either don't have the time for the
> commitment, or won't take the time, even though we offer to slowly move
> them along, and help them in the process of learning.  We even tell
> them that we don't expect them to be proficient in the field until they
> have had ample time and opportunity to learn.
>  One of the great tragedies we're finding is that those who teach
> violin,  either in the schools or privately, are all classically
> trained, and when I speak to these instructors, they've never heard of
> Stephane Graphelli, or what role the violin might play in jazz.
> They're almost reluctant to give you the names of any talented
> violinists because they seem to be afraid that we might corrupt the
> kids. (Oh, by the way, the youth jazz camps are incredible, and there
> are some mighty talented kids attending them, but have there been very
> many cases where they try to get violin players into the camps? Do they
> even believe they should?)
>  Accordion players are in a breed all by themselves, since most of them
> are trained to be soloists, rather than group players, and are happy
> leaving it that way.  These "musicians" learn a mess of tunes at which
> they get really good playing, but put them into a group situation, with
> new music in front of them, and their eyes begin rolling in their
> sockets. When we've invited "really good" accordion players over to the
> house to see if they might like to learn this "jazz stuff",  the
> rehearsal goes something like this:  Accordionist gets out instrument
> and warms up by playing a few tunes they know, sounding incredibly
> talented, seeming to know their instrument inside and out - -oops, they
> don't - -put a piece of music in front of them, and you get the feeling
> they'd like to Google-map themselves a way out of the room.
> Most young clarinet players just don't seem to have any kind of chops
> for even the simplest jazz.. One would like to have just a minimal
> amount of proficiency to begin working with, but aside from the notes
> they play in concert band, or on the marching field, these kids have
> very little notion that there is any other type of music available for
> clarinet players. . ..also true for trombone players.
> For the majority of young players,  after they leave the band room,
> their main instrument seems to be iPod.
>  .. . ..  almost ready to bring in a washboard player to play lead -
> -(that's  in the dictionary under the word "frustration")
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