[Dixielandjazz] Bill's remark about young members
W1AB at aol.com
W1AB at aol.com
Fri May 28 07:22:17 PDT 2010
In a message dated 5/27/2010 11:46:35 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
sharp-b at clearwire.net writes:
Yes we occasionally do have youth groups at festivals and concerts, but I
don't think there are "lots".
I would say there are a few, a tiny handful.
I am in general agreement with Bill's observations. Almost all of the
youngsters do traditional jazz for a short while -- for fun -- and then
The old expression that fits the typical youth bands and young
musicians is "flash in the pan." To quote m-w.com:
Main Entry: flash in the pan
Etymology: from the firing of the priming in the pan of a flintlock musket
without discharging the piece
1 : a sudden spasmodic effort that accomplishes nothing
2 : one that appears promising but turns out to be disappointing or
Hmmmm ... both those meanings seem appropriate to the case at hand.
Another consideration that I would point out -- in all kindness but also
in truth -- is that most of the youth bands and young musicians are so early
in their musically formative years that they don't improvise well. I have
seen and heard those bands at festivals. The puppy effect comes into
play, and music that's barely mediocre gets big rounds of applause. Nobody
gets angry at a puppy when it piddles on the floor, because it's so darn
If those youth bands and musicians stuck with the music, magic moments
would eventually occur where they finally "get it." But they seldom work at
the music long enough to reach that epiphany. For young people, there are
too many fish to fry (or, rather, cars to drive, girls to meet, etc).
There are, of course exceptions. Two that come immediately to my mind are
David Jellema and Dave Sager. They "got it" early on, and they played
well when they were still in high school. Both of them used to come to the
Shakey's in Rockville, Maryland, to sit in with Southern Comfort on Friday
nights -- when they were still too young to drive themselves to the gig. But
they are the exception, rather than the rule.
There will always be people who enjoy listening to and playing traditional
jazz -- just as there are still people who like to maintain and drive
Model T cards, operate antique steam engines, stage Civil War reenactments,
etc. But they are all very small minorities.
We may as well stop talking about keeping traditional jazz alive and
accept the inevitable ... distasteful though it may be to us.
We old farts have lived through some magnificent years, but let us face
the end of the music with grace and with appreciation that we were able to
enjoy it. It's better to celebrate the good times of the past than to bewail
the unavoidable bad times that appear to be ahead.
Why beat to death ideas that no one will ever implement anyway? Let's put
away the defibrillators and just PARTY!
Life-jacketed passenger on the deck of the Titanic to one of the musicians
who has just finished playing "Nearer My God, to Thee": "Nice! So ...
where's your next gig?"
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