[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 
abandon it.
    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
Date: 1706
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! 
Al B 
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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