“Jazz can be a popular music all over again.”

Vanity Fair Logo
As does Jazz&Jazz, 
Trevor Stent aims to promote our emerging young generation jazz bands and musicians, especially at Fest Jazz in Brittany. Sadly, when I visit Jazz Clubs in the UK I find that many ageing fans and even older musicians are totally unaware of these bands and musicians. Their lament is that Modern Jazz has stolen the scene. So when Trevor sent me this Vanity Fair article I simply had to share it on Jazz&Jazz.

So how about a couple of quotes:

“Modern jazz has grown increasingly into concert music, over the last 50 years especially, with musicians more or less looking like a string quartet—just sitting and playing, sometimes reading music from stands.”

“Modern jazz is often mainly about star soloists.”

Both are from the Vanity Fair article by Will Friedwald about the current revival of “New Orleans jazz, Dixieland and most recently, “trad” (short for “traditional”) jazz … ever since the swing era relegated to music’s margins”.

Until now!
In his article “How a Swath of 20-Somethings Have Tuned In to 1920s Pop” Will Friedwald reveals how “Gradually, over the past few years, more and more young jazz musicians – mainly in their 20s and even younger – have begun to play this music and, in the process, started again to refer to it by the name it was known by when it was new: “Hot Jazz” –  with “hot” bands, like King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band or Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers.”

Extracts from Will Friedman’s Article
“Hot Jazz is so prevalent now that New York has almost become like New Orleans in the fin de siècle period: in covering the city’s jazz scene for The Wall Street Journal, I find that I can go hear a 20s-style band, almost inevitably made up of musicians born well after 1980, playing somewhere in the city virtually every night of the week.”

Peter and Will Anderson

Peter and Will Anderson

“I enjoy playing all styles of jazz, because it is all rooted in the music of the 1920s – harmonically, rhythmically, and melodically… Twenties jazz has a clarity and beauty that anyone can identify with; it expresses the most bitter sadness and complete joy, simultaneously.” (Will Anderson, 26 year old reed player).”

“Within a few months of being formed in the Crescent City at the start of 2013, The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys Traditional “Jass” Band was already drawing crowds in New Orleans as well as in the New York area.”

“None of these bands has been on a top label, although some sell their own self-produced CDs. … To these groups, it’s much more important to be well represented on the social networks, to have a compelling Facebook presence, and to get noticed on YouTube.”

“Hot Jazz bands do everything they can to keep the audience engaged, making the music visually appealing.”

The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys

The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys

“Jon Ramm, the 27-year-old trombonist with the Swamp Donkeys says, “A lot of people write off this kind of jazz as antiquated, but the truth of the matter is it’s still pop music. Twenties music has those qualities … a connection with basic human emotion. All the music we play is basic, structure-wise, chord-change-wise. And it gives us an ability to reach all people.”

“As the names of these groups imply, this music is about the bands, many of whom have colourful and unforgettable appellations like the Hot Sardines (who featured on Later With Jools Holland earlier this year), the Swamp Donkeys, Baby Soda, the Grand Street Stompers, Emily Asher’s Garden Party, Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band, Jesse Carolina and the Hot Mess …whereas modern jazz is often mainly about star soloists.”

“These musicians … are working conspicuously to prove that jazz can be a popular music all over again.”

Featuring Our New Generation Jazz Bands
In an earlier Jazz&Jazz post entitled “Let’s Avoid the Generation Gap!” I feature a list of UK and overseas “new generation” jazz bands. It needs updating with bands I have covered since – and as and when I can seize upon opportunities to feature more of our young stars.

Meanwhile, Jazz Fans, however old you are, don’t miss out on opportunities to get to see these young stars. I know for sure that a good many “ageing” musicians relish opportunities to play gigs with them. 

Peter M Butler
Editor & Proprietor Jazz&Jazz

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  1. Ian Boyter says:

    Last Saturday night I played 40s swing music in a jazz trio at a 21st birthday party in Glasgow and was pleasantly surprised to be well recieved by all the youngsters. (I had thought that they would grumble about the style of music). We played all evening, no disco. By the end of the night they were all up on the floor dancing and having a great time, and they gave us a rousing cheer and applause. I’m 72 and the others in the band are of a similar age.

  2. Peter Butler says:

    Very, very encouraging, Ian. Clearly demonstrate that it’s not only the new generation of young musicians and bands that can attract a following of younger fans, but also “70 plus young” bands and musicians.

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