[Dixielandjazz] Mike Vax's remarks

Patrick Skiffington sunshine.trail at gmail.com
Thu Jan 17 15:32:10 PST 2013

Thanks for the kind words, Bill.

But I'm afraid I have to burst your "youth" bubble. The Crescent Katz are *
actually* between the ages of 25-36. Nor are they a "new" band. The band is
over 2 years old, and the players have been playing for many decades. This
band has played at many STJS meetings. They are ALL products of STJS's Jazz
Camp and most of them are current counselors there. I agree with you that
they have an incredible sound and energy, and they are THE face of trad
jazz in Northern California. Yet *STILL* they only get 2 sets at the
Jubilee...er, "Music Festival" this year. They are the torch bearers the
older generation *allegedly* wants. Go figure.

-Patrick Skiffington
Washboard player and Canned beer drinker.

On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 8:26 PM, ♫ Sharp Bill - - B# ♫
<A1tradtrmpt at att.net>wrote:

> Mike -
> I wish the entire board of the Sacramento Jazz Society and other festivals
> would take note of your remarks.  Actually it's all the past boards of say
> the last 10 years  that should have taken notice, and not let the festival
> deteriorate into simply a musical festival, embracing multiple styles in
> order to, as you say, "sell more tickets".  What the Memorial Day festival
> evolved into is actually devolution, complete evolution in reverse.  Hope
> looms eternal:   I heard rumor at my last attendance at Sacramento's
> Traditional Jazz Society ( and they use the word "traditional" very
>  loosely) , is that there will be a Labor Day Truly Traditional Festival.
>  Should this rumor be true, I wholeheartedly applaud those responsible.
> Perhaps I gave the impression that I wanted bands to sound like clones of
> the 20's, 30's,40's.   It's just that I so much enjoy bands that play a
> whole lot of the traditional literature available because it's such great
> stuff,  using mostly the traditional instrumentations, which includes brass
> and woodwinds of all kinds. Include banjos and rhythm guitars whenever
> possible.  Set up a nice 2 or 4 beat, then go at it. I've played Lady
> Madonna (Beetles), On the Road Again (Willie Nelson) and Sentimental
> Journey with a disco beat for trad societies, but used the traditional
> 5-piece "dixieland" band to do it, and they "rock".
> What I believe in strongest is not letting go of the sound created with
> traditional instruments. I have played at Farmer's Markets with the
> standard 5 piece:   trumpet, trombone, tuba, clarinet, and banjo.  The
> people love it because it's happy music. ( I have a friend who plays
> contemporary jazz guitar who chides me and says,  "I can't play that.  It's
> way too happy for my blood".)  Here's the sad part of the market experience
>  - - -when I ask a passing 10 year old to name the instrument I'm pointing
> to (clarinet, or tuba) they can't identify it.  That's what I mean when I
> say that I feel like a person trying to preserve our musical heritage - - I
> mean playing the instruments so that kids of today and tomorrow know what
> they are, and what our particular configuration sounds like.
> Here's another thing that needs to take place at these festivals - - as
> musical director at our club I've made enemies operating on this principal
>  --do not invite bands that once might have been exciting, but have seen
> their day, yet some think that should be invited back because "they always
> have been".
> Also at the last Sacramento rent party I saw a new band, the Crescent Kats
> comprised of musicians between the ages of 17 and 25. Their band was so
> spectacular that they would have more audience attraction and attendance
> than 4 of the old guard bands.  If you want traditional flaming-torch-hot
> jazz, they were it.  They are going to be at the next festival, but were
> only given 2 sets.  Why? Because they are new.  That is an example of not
> staying in touch with what the crowds like.  And oh how the dancers will
> love them. Had I not filled up the year's calendar with very traditional,
> yet still exciting trad bands, I would have instantly booked the Crescent
> Kats for 2, maybe even 3 of our club dates.  Who's to say that you have to
> have a different band every month?  Back in the day, wouldn't excited
> jazzers go to see the same band perform the same songs night after night?
>  This group is that exciting. (Only two sets at the festival? )
> Bill ( watching-my-back) Sharp
> Some days you are the dog, some days the tree.
> There are two rules for success:
> 1.  Don't tell all you know.
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