[Dixielandjazz] You Are What You Listen To

Stephen G Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed Aug 26 08:49:40 PDT 2009

We all hate to generalize BUT. . .OKOM audiences (fans) are now mostly  
conservative in my experience.  OKOM itself is now mostly conservative  
music, as played,  to please those audiences. Yet that was not always  
true. Consider the lineage. <grin>

In the beginning OKOM was sexy, bawdy, alcohol fueled, played in mob  
joints, by social misfits, drunks and druggies, and and loved by the  
hippies of the day. It was loud, fast, and danced to by libertines.  
Its fans were on the cutting edge of free thinking, liberal values.   
It was scorned by those who played and listened to "legitimate" music.  
And its followers were scorned as trash, the dregs of society.

Then, along came the saviors, Paul Whiteman and George Gershwin. The  
made a lady out of the whore called jazz. They put it in concert halls  
and wrote orchestral arrangements and songs around the edges of jazz,  
even borrowing a real jazz player now and then for their  
presentations. And so the "people" came to view "jazz" as legitimate  
music. And the people then declared it "Art" music, to be savored in  
silence and on bended knee. It became elitist.

OKOM is that kind of jazz. Those folks who loved it as young liberals,  
grew conservative with age as did those who discovered OKOM late in  
life.  Meanwhile jazz has grown apart from its OKOM roots, for better  
or for worse, and its young followers are in the same place we old  
folks were 60 years ago.

Same old S***, different day, that's all. As Bob Haggart might say;  
"What's New?"

Steve Barbone

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