The Future of
Dixieland & Traditional Jazz
traditional jazz have been an obsession with me since my early teens, I haunted the record
stores spending whole afternoons listening to Louis, Bix, Scobey, Wild Bill Davison and
Fats Waller, among others. I frequented the jazz clubs in Toronto and New York absorbing
the live sounds of my idols.
Most of them are gone now and alas, with them much of the interest and popularity of our traditional American jazz. That happy, contagious music has all but disappeared, replaced all too frequently by loud , electrified screech contests to determine who can fit the most notes in a bar, regardless of rythm or melody.
I am very concerned that the jazz I grew up with and love is headed for extinction. The fans & supporters are generally in the 50 and up age group and although there are many good young musicians being developed by high schools and colleges, they are stage band players with little or no interest in traditional jazz styles.
There are many Traditional & Dixieland jazz societies active throughout the country, their prime objective being to ensure the survival of this vital part of American culture. I am an active member of "HAGS", (The Hot Jazz and Alligator Gumbo Society in S. Florida).
However despite our efforts, it is a very real possibility that within the next 10 or 15 years dixieland & traditional jazz will become but a fond memory, available only on old records & CD's.
Click Here to go to HAGS Home Page :
By the time I was 15 and in high school I had my own dixieland band, rented the local "Oddfellows" hall on Saturday nights and held my own dances. Our repetoire was somewhat limited at that time, so to kill time we used to play what we called the "Marathon blues" a slow improvised blues that at times went on for half an hour, needless to say that among the young people attending it definitely was a hit , but did notice that many of the couples left early :)
Throughout the ensuing years I have led and played in dixieland bands in both Canada and the USA.
I recently returned to Canada, and settled in London, Ontario. I was fortunate that shortly after my arrival back "home" , I "sat- in" on a gig with Ben White & David Neale.
Ben, David and Ben's father Eddie, had a hugely successful jazz trio in the late 90's, the "Jazz Rascals", just as they were approaching the "pinnacle" of their success, Eddie contracted cancer and passed away.
Both Ben & David were devastated, not only was Eddie a talented and dedicated musician and father, he was also a best friend. After his death the "Jazz Rascals" ceased to exist.
From the moment we played together we knew that it was "special", we thought alike, were passionate about the music and we had a ball. Discussions quickly turned to revival of the "Jazz Rascals", with planning underway for a CD release, and a possible promotional tour, the band is excited and ready to "rascalize" our audiences.
BRASS N' IVORY - 2008
foray into the music scene is the trio "Brass N' Ivory", formed in
late 2006. David Neale and myself decided to form a group that
extended beyond dixieland jazz, relying heavily on songs from "The
Great American Songbook", 60's & 70's pop and the TiJuana Brass.
We were fortunate to enlist the talents of Bill Stewart on guitar and banjo and the band was born.
Click below to see some of the other bands I have played with:
Click here for details - $99.00 website