100 Years of Jazz: The Prohibition

Blog written by Louise Balkwill for The Becky Dell Music Academy

As what we have come to know as “Traditional Jazz” grew in popularity and spread from New Orleans across the whole of America, new inventions and political changes also began to shape the music.

The Prohibition in the United States of America (a constitutional ban on all alcohol in America between 1920 and 1933) kick-started the “Jazz Age” and made way for a new secret night life culture, where people would find any way they could to smuggle, brew or distil their own alcoholic drinks.

Hoagy Carmichael, one of the great 20th century composers, said that the prohibition..

“came with a bang of bad booze, flappers with bare legs, jangled morals and wild weekends.”

According to novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, during prohibition…

“The parties were bigger…the pace was faster…and the morals were looser.”

Jazz music became the popular music of the day among the young and ‘hip’ crowds, many of whom were at the forefront of the rebellion.

They would meet in secret clubs, “speakeasies”, to eat, drink and dance all night long to the ever-growing variety of live jazz music that had become an important part of the youth culture of the day.

Because jazz music became associated with seedy illicit bars, alcohol culture and crime, and because racism was still so rife, the white middle class saw jazz as a dark, rebellious and uncouth genre.

This didn’t stop the musicians of the 1920’s!

They continued to compose and play music that has since become timeless, shaping all popular music to follow it.

Check out this 1927 recording of “Potato Head Blues” by the great Louis Armstrong’s “Hot Fives and Sevens”

100 Years of Jazz: Traditional Jazz

Blog written by Louise Balkwill for The Becky Dell Music Academy

If you have been following this blog series, you have read about ragtime music – a genre of piano-based music played from sheet music for high society. You will have also heard some blues – heavily improvised music, used primarily as a form of expression among black slaves and musicians and frowned upon by the upper class white folk.

Now picture this – a story of the origins of jazz that I was told a couple of weeks ago in the birthplace of jazz by a pianist at the New Orleans Jazz Museum;

“You’re a black musician. It’s 1900, or thereabouts. There’s a gig this evening at one of the hottest clubs in the quarter, but the trumpet player is ill, or has taken another gig, or, for some other reason can’t make it, and has asked you to step in and do the gig instead…

At the time, “rags” were popular and had become more complex, with various written parts for various instruments that the musicians were expected to play. However, if you were offered a gig but your part was missing, you couldn’t afford to turn down the gig – you’d just have to make up the part!

And thus began improvisation in a band setting, using preconceived chord patterns and melodies.”

As time went on, new compositions were written in a way that supported this new improvisational style. To begin with, songs still felt very “arranged” and could have all manner of forms that sounded “rag”-esque. There were written melodies, chord patterns and some harmony parts, but the nature of being a busy musician in this era had changed; You had to understand the role of your instrument and be able to improvise in a band setting.

Roles of Instruments in a Traditional Jazz Band

If you wanted to play in a band in early 1900’s America, you had to understand how your instrument worked in a collective sense. You also had to develop technique and a good understanding of musical harmony.

Voice: Most instrumentalists would double as singers. The vocal chorus would appear in the middle of a performance instead of being the main feature of a song.

Trumpet/Cornet: `Frontline (plays the melody and solos)

Clarinet: Frontline (plays an agile countermelody/obbligato that weaves in and out of the melody. Also plays improvised solos)

Trombone: Frontline (harmonises with higher brass and fills in with scoops and slides)

Piano: Frontline & Rhythm section (plays “stride” but can also solo and play countermelodies)

Banjo/Guitar: Rhythm section (plays on the beat every beat – “chg-chg-chg-chg”)

Bass/Sousaphone/Tuba: Rhythm section (plays generally roots and fifths on the 1st and 3rd beats of each bar

“Dixieland”

The first jazz recording dates back to 1917, and was recorded by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band:

“Dixieland” is, however, a controversial term. It was used by white musicians to describe their generally sped-up, “cleaned-up” version of the slower, more blues influenced traditional jazz music that was being played by black musicians. This term is not well received to this day amidst New Orleans’ traditional musicians.

The “Invention of Jazz”

Jelly Roll Morton was said to be the self-proclaimed “inventor of jazz”, although his actual words were quite different. He wrote;

“All my fellow musicians were much faster in manipulations, I thought than I, and I did not feel as though I was in their class.”

So he would write songs to be played at a slower tempo, leaving more room for flexibility when it came to improvising.

When Jelly Roll Morton started recording his own compositions with his band, he could play to the strengths of his fine comrades. The music became faster (this was popular at the time as it was more fun to dance to) and more virtuosic.

This new style that he had suggested paved the way for a new generation of jazz musicians.

Check out this 1923 recording of “High Society” by King Oliver and his band – just listen to that clarinet go!

The reality is that the invention of jazz music cannot be accredited to any one musician. It is a genre that celebrates collective playing and improvisation and welcomes influences from a wide variety of backgrounds and influences.

A blog about this era is not complete without a glimpse of one of the world’s greatest musical heroes in the formative years of his musical journey. Here’s a treat for you – Louis Armstrong playing “Potato Head Blues” in 1927 with his Hot Seven!

Next time, we’ll be looking at how traditional jazz swung its way into popularity with the swing era – big bands, crooners, endless dancing and pioneers of the 21st century!

100 Years of Jazz: Ragtime

Blog written by Louise Balkwill for The Becky Dell Music Academy

In our last blog, we looked at Congo Square and the origins of Jazz music. Now we visit the 1890’s, when Ragtime appeared in its earliest form.

Unlike the earlier music of Congo Square that was passed down aurally from generation to generation, Ragtime music gained popularity through being passed around as sheet music, and is thought to be the first written ‘pop’ music – Blues, in contrast, was thought by the higher classes to be a lower class rural music (although very important in the history of jazz – we will have a listen to some blues in the next blog.)

Named ‘Ragtime’ because of its ragged, syncopated rhythms, the music became very popular for dances and was written mainly by middle class African American musicians who had gained influence from minstrelsy and classical music, as well as the improvised and traditional music of Congo Square. The music was accompanied by a dance called the ‘Cakewalk’ – this made way for endless variations that the kids of the time loved to get their feet into. Ragtime music was also a very popular choice to accompany silent films in its later years. You might well have heard of “The Entertainer” (or even played it for one of your grade exams); this is a Ragtime piece written by Scott Joplin, the celebrated “King of Ragtime” in 1902, 115 years ago!

Ragtime started off as a music witten only for solo piano, but in the early 1900’s, orchestral and ensemble arrangements became popular. The violin then became the main leading instrument in these ragtime ensembles with this popular line-up:

  • Melody: First Violin (or Cornet with second Cornet harmonies)
  • Beats 2 and 4: Second Violin (prior to the banjo)
  • Beats 1 and 3: Bass Viol
  • *Obbligato: Piccolo or Clarinet
  • Bassline: Trombone
  • Percussion: Strict time drumming

*Obbligato, (Italian: “obligatory”), in music, essential but subordinate instrumental part. For example, in an 18th-century aria with trumpet obbligato, the trumpet part, although serving as accompaniment to the voice, may be as brilliant in its writing as that of the voice itself.

Fancy having a go at learning some Ragtime Piano?

Check out this video with on-screen sheet music of the first known rag, written by the first published African American composer, Tom Turpin!

(If you liked that, check out YouTube user RagtimeDorianHenry’s other ragtime videos!)

In the next blog, we’ll be looking at early blues and how it has played a massive part in the evolution of the jazz tradition!

The Preservation Hall Interviews – Part 5

The fifth section of our interview on the 23rd February 2017 with Leroy Jones, Freddie Lonzo, Joe Lastie and Louis Ford at The Preservation Hall, New Orleans.

(Missed part 4? Click here to read it.)

Tom: Do you think another Louis Armstrong could come around and revolutionize music like he did?

Leroy: Well, there will never be another Louis Armstrong.

Freddie: I haven’t seen him yet!

Leroy: Nah, there will never be another Louis Armstrong, but there’s so much talent – there’s a lot of talent around and you know, what I´m saying is the greatest individual at any given thing that they might do, you´ve never heard of because they never got an opportunity to get exposed. A break. So, you know, half the battle is what you know and half of it is who you know. So you know, you have musicians and artists that you´ve never even heard of but they’re so gifted – and then some of them have decided that that’s not really what they want to do! But they have it – the gift. Those really special people, like Armstrong – he had contemporaries, but he was in the right place at the right time too, I think. And he took it to a level that it had not been taken to before. I’m speaking like 1920-21, 1923 through 1933, that period. And you know, the pre-Swing, Big Band, pre-Bop period and all of that stuff. And you can hear…first comes the hearing, then comes the speaking. So you can´t have a concept if you haven’t heard anything. You know, there’s no way. You have to, like a baby leaning to speak, it needs to hear its parent, or hear someone speak to them. That’s how they learn to speak. And with jazz, with music and in particular jazz, it’s the same thing – you have to have a frame of reference – a point of reference. Your influences may be many, but eventually, when it comes out of you, the listener should be able to hear who you’ve been listening to. You know, I mean, in essence. But you take those things and you make them unique to yourself. You take that lingo and you make it…you have your own way of putting it that makes it special and individual, and as special as Louis Armstrong was, as an individual. As jazz musicians, you want to have your own individual sound that distinguishes you from, you know, as a vocalist, you don´t sound like Anita Baker, you don’t sound like Ella Fitzgerald, you don’t sound like Lena Horne – you sound like you. You know what I mean.

Louise: Which is a mix of all of that, plus your own understanding.

Leroy: Yeah, you have to have a concept of interpreting the music.

Louis: There’s something I would like to add to that – It wasn’t always peaches and cream with Louis. Being an African American in an all-white, you know, how he was treated, but New Orleans is known for overcoming adversity, and he overcame that. So you guys are gonna have to think of that as well, you know. For example, what you guys are going through right now with that split – I don’t know what the economy is going to look like in the future. They say it’s gonna be this, it’s gonna be that, you don’t know – but don’t give up your dreams with your music. If there’s a jazz club started up today, and then next month because of the economy it’s gonna shut down, that means you’re gonna shut down. Don’t do that. Keep on keeping on. Focus on that instrument, you know, because some day you’re gonna overcome that adversity, okay? You understand what I’m saying? Because that’s what it is here. It’s not always peaches and cream here. We go through seasonal hurricanes. Not just hurricanes – lately, we’ve been going through tornados, which is something new to us!

Louise: I heard about that one a couple of weeks ago, that was shocking!

Louis: Yeah, yeah right! So we have to be prepared for anything that comes our way, and we have to overcome that and get back on that horse. Don’t let anyone or anything discourage you from what you wanna do, your ambitions in life.

Louise: Very wise words.

Tom: We love the music we play but in our small little circles in London sometimes we feel like we’re kind of blamed, I don’t know if you feel the same, for being musically conservative – I just wondered what you guys thought about that and the music that you play compared to other jazz musicians.

Leroy: You getting fire from the modernists?

Tom: Yeah, yeah!

*laughter*

Tom: How do you feel about that in this country as well?

Leroy: Well, you know, there’s that vibe sometimes as well. But New Orleans is different from the rest of the United States in general in that we have Mardi Gras Indians, we have Brass Bands, we play Secondline music that people are dancing to, rhythms and beats. I mean, it’s like something that you don’t witness anywhere else in this country or in any other country in the same manner. For us, I was told a long time ago by Danny Barker, and also an old piano player by the name of Frank Moliere. They said “Learn those tunes and you will never be out of work.” So learn those songs, the standards and the New Orleans standards, traditionals and you will always be working! And I raise my hand up and I say that I have always worked – there have been times when it’s been a little slow, and you travel and stuff, and you always have a gig. But if I had played with some no-name, top 40 band, cover band, I might have had a little gig on Bourbon Street for a week or two and then they fire the band, another band came in – you know, they’re a dime a dozen. People would come here, and they still come here I think, for jazz – for New Orleans jazz. For traditional jazz. And swing. As opposed to going to some loud club on the corner that’s got a band playing Slade or The Rolling Stones or some music that’s so loud for one thing that you can’t even hold a conversation.

Tom: Yeah, amen!

Leroy: So there’s still hope for us – I think, if you´re playing this music and you’ve got a repertoire, you’re playing these tunes, you can go anywhere and play. And you don’t have to be someone that’s super famous, because you have a repertoire and you can go play – you know, you can work with different people. It’s a universal language, as you know, you can work with different people. I’ve worked with bands where half of the band…I didn’t speak Hungarian and they spoke other languages but we played music together. We understood the chords, the harmonies and the melodies and the rhythm so that’s all I had. And, you know what I mean, there´s a beauty to this music that we chose, that we love – that you chose, that you love – that makes it special in a way that a lot of other idioms…they can’t come close to being the same. I think, you know, just like Louis said, don´t be disheartened. Can you imagine how we feel with Donald Trump as our President?

*groans of disgruntlement all round*

Leroy: I mean, it’s an embarrassment beyond words!

Louise: We’ve been having to bite our tongue on planes and stuff because we don’t know what the general attitude is…

Tom: We were saying “Don’t talk about politics when you go through customs!”

*laughter*

Leroy: Yeah, just “Yes, we love America, Donald Trump is the greatest!” – yeah, bite your tongue!

Laura: It just feels like there are many aspects of the west, if you want to call it that, that are regressing – it’s just like a huge regression, politically, but within music is the freedom. It´s a universal language – the journey, the evolution. Spiritual freedom.

Freddie: Yes, definitely spiritual too.

To be continued

The Preservation Hall Interviews – Part 4

The fourth section of our interview on the 23rd February 2017 with Leroy Jones, Freddie Lonzo, Joe Lastie and Louis Ford at The Preservation Hall, New Orleans.

(Missed part 3? Click here to read it.)

Tom: Can I ask something a little different? How do you feel the internet and globalization has affected like, the mass appeal of New Orleans music? And you know, I don’t think this kind of thing would have happened a few decades ago – do you feel like it’s kind of diluted traditions or do you like the fact that there’s now more of a, perhaps an appeal to it?

Leroy: Well, I like the fact that it has promoted it and it has exposed us more to the world. And you know what really helped, if you know about the series called Treme? That, after the levees failed, after Hurricane Katrina, I must say that that, if there was one series on TV, and this was of course HBO – one of the paid channels to watch it, now it’s on DVD but it brought focus on New Orleans in a way that we had not seen before, and also it exposed a lot of truths in a way, and showed how people, musicians, really, how we are here in New Orleans. How we speak in New Orleans, unlike some other attempts to capture that, like ‘The Big Easy’ and those things that tried to depict New Orleans – but it put us on the map, you know, and everybody got a chance, all the musicians, at least… I think everybody got to make an appearance in it, and if you had your original material, your songs played on it – you got licencing for that song, which is a fat pay check for that month, and then you get a little kick back in residual over time, according to how it’s distributed to other places, and overseas. But it gave everybody an opportunity – just about everybody in the city, the musicians at some point appeared in the series, and they made sure of it. And venues got exposure – this venue, the Palm Court jazz café…other venues around the city – there’s hundreds of venues that have music. Lots of different places around the city, each giving that to New Orleans. Live music. So it gave a nice opportunity in conjunction with the social media – facebook, twitter and…you know, all of those different things. And now it couldn’t be better! You can promote yourself without any absorbent fees, you know, and people are going there and looking for you. I think it’s great. Like, personally, I think it’s great.

Joe: I think it’s great too, because I hate it when people come up to me and say you know, well, traditional music is dying. So through social media and stuff, people know like, hey, not in New Orleans! And like, y’all youngsters, interested in this traditional music – I mean, come on, where’s it going?

Louise: Yeah, as long as people are constantly accessing it and loving it then it’s never going to die. I think it’s really sad when people say that. It’s one of those depressing things, isn’t it – like, my own mum, she is a classical musician and an actress, and she said to me ‘Why are you playing jazz?’ you know, ‘Jazz is dying’…MUM. No.

Hannah: You can say the same about classical music though, too. I mean, it’s very hard to get people along to classical concerts and pay for it, you know. Especially, like, we see that a lot in the Royal Festival Hall – there are just so many empty seats, and not many people I know my age at all, except on my course, listen to classical music. I know a lot of musicians doing the classical course who don’t even like listening to classical music. That’s the extent of some of it.

Martin: Same with Scottish trad as well, like, Scottish trad is going downhill now because of people [not supporting it]

Leroy: I mean, recently I was up in Royal Festival, and Lockerbie, you know, in Scotland, and places where they’re strong on traditional jazz there. You know, and up in Edinburgh there’s a nice jazz fest, and it’s jazz, you know, it’s not like Parliament and Funkadelic, which I love, like George Clinton and the P-funk and all that stuff, you know, I like good music, period. So I’m not biased against any…I love great classical music, I mean, we have a great Symphony out here in Louisiana Philharmonic, and then there’s societies that support the symphony, so those people are on salary. And fortunately – it’s like with the Opera, you know, I’ve been going to the opera lately with George, we’ve been going to sit in the operas, we get the tickets – they’re more reasonable than trying to go and see The Lion King at the Saenger, where the cheapest tickets are eighty bucks per person! And twenty-three dollars to sit up at the back, got your binoculars for the opera, and the symphony’s playing and it’s, you know, famous operas and great…and the music is great, the acoustic, and you know, if you wanna look closely, you put your binoculars on like them movie folks over there, and you can see…and it’s wonderful. It’s a wonderful musical experience, and it happens here. I mean, it’s full! There are people here, probably societies too, that support the music that’s considered not popular. And fortunately, thank God for those people, because then the symphonic musicians and so forth – they wouldn’t have a job. And, of course, they can teach, and then you could, I mean…*sighs*…I think every player wants to play, and it’s great to…and we’ve all, I mean I know I have, and he (Louis) does more than anyone, teach. There’s a lot of teaching. And I’ve given private lessons to trumpet students and teach people. But my forte, what I enjoy most, is performing and composing and making music – you know, getting together with cats to make some music together. So it’s, you know, I think that it is a pity that there is a lack of appreciation overall because there’s a certain norm of pop music that’s supposed to be popular. It may not be so good as far as having artistic merit, but it’s popular.

Louise: And I suppose I think that that’s one of the ways that the internet has affected music and jazz – People have access to so much music that it’s easier for most people (who aren’t musicians and don’t understand music) to listen to what’s on the radio and what their friends listen to and never even hear jazz because there’s so much music out there now.

Laura: It’s about exposure and what you’re lucky enough to cross paths with.

Freddie: Yeah, definitely.

Laura: Popular culture, driven by capitalism is ramming out loads of generic, ‘lesser’…well, I wouldn’t say lesser but of musical merit, for me personally, lesser quality music. It’s about the exposure you’re fortunate enough to meet.

Louise: I think everyone sees that one gig, don’t they, that inspires them, or meets that one musician, or hears that one song and then that’s is – and it’s about having access to that.

Click here for part 5

Instruments for Schools

Do you have an unwanted or unused musical instrument?

That instrument could provide the beginnings of a life long musical journey.

Remember the days when all school music departments had a variety of instruments that students were free to use?

Well, sadly, many schools across the UK now no longer even have music departments, let alone instruments.

In an age where funding for the arts is suffering and music is gradually fading from the school curriculum, we are developing a schools workshop series to bring music education back to the musicians and audiences of the future.

A big factor in the success of this outreach endeavour is the sustainability of our efforts to inspire school children after the workshops take place.

Our plan is to supply schools with donated instruments so that the young people who partake in our workshops can keep the ball rolling when we leave.

(This is where you guys come in!)

We will gladly and gratefully accept all instruments in any condition.

These instruments will be refurbished and given a new life in the hands of an enthusiastic and inspired child. In addition to this, we will keep donors up to date with news on the schools that the instruments have been supplied to and on the progress of the children playing them.

This outreach programme will start in London in the 2017/2018 academic year.

Help to give the greatest gift of all – A creative mind!

Drop us an email at theoldjellyrollers@gmail.com to help out.

(Still sceptical about the benefits of music education? Click here!)

The Preservation Hall Interviews – Part 3

The third section of our interview on the 23rd February 2017 with Leroy Jones, Freddie Lonzo, Joe Lastie and Louis Ford at The Preservation Hall, New Orleans

(Missed part 2? Click here to read it.)

Laura: I’m interested to know, in the path of becoming an accomplished jazz musician, what some of the biggest challenges that you’ve faced along the way have been and how you’ve overcome them?

Joe: …Life!

*laughter*

Leroy: I guess times when you don’t have a lot of work, and off the back in the old days, you were on a one or two week notice, so you’d get a week’s notice of two week’s notice, and then there’s another band coming in. But you’ll eventually end up working somewhere else, at least, that’s the way it was on Bourbon Street. You could tell, you’d have a feeling that you were going to get fired not for a reason, just because somebody else – the owner liked them more than you maybe, and wanted to give them a shot.

Louis: Another setback, you know, is that musicians unfortunately have this stereotype, you know, that they do this, they do that, you know…they have a bad rap. ‘No, I don’t want you dating this guy because he’s gonna do this and do that, you know. But that’s not true; all musicians do not do drugs, do not drink, etcetera… for example, dealing with finances, you know. Myself and Leroy, we had a very lucrative job travelling with an icon, perhaps you’ve heard of him, he’s called Harry Connick Jr. – and I walked in the bank one time to sign for a car. [The bank officer said] “Do you have a job?” and I said ‘yeah’, I’m sitting down with the bank officer and he’s ready to sign…”What’s you’re occupation?” ‘Musician’… “Oh…erm, excuse me for one moment.” you know, I was talking to the president of the bank… “I’m sorry, declined.” So then I decided, okay, well I’m going to go back to teaching, you know. Which was a hundred percent less what I was making when I was on the road with Harry – “What’s your occupation?” – teaching!

Louise: At least you could get your car!

Louis: Oh, not a problem! So that could be a setback.

Laura: I’ve had that with car insurance – they wouldn’t insure me because I was a musician, so I told them I was a teacher.

Louise: It’s kind of the same attitude in London towards musicians being debaucherous and not being able to pay.

Laura: Unreliable!

Freddie: Look, if you can’t pay it off in two days, we can’t buy it!

Louis: They say being a musician is inconsistent, but that’s not true! Because we work every day. Actually, me and Joe, we’re in the band, we’re on our fourth cup of coffee right now, because we had four gigs last night! And I have three today, you know, and Joe as well – so we’re constantly working. But you can’t explain that to the bank. They look at you in one way, so that’s a setback.

Joe: And a lot of us need to put our kids through college!

Louis: Exactly, yeah, like he’s just said, my father played with Fats Domino, you know – I’m a fourth generation, and he had five kids, and my father sent those to parochial school – like Leroy mentioned to you, he went to a parochial school, Saint Augustine high school – I went to college, I got a degree in music education. My sisters went to college as well, you know, my brother as well, and all done by my father being a professional musician, you know. He worked seven days – seven days, none stop. Two or three jobs a day.

Joe: That’s true.

Louise: That’s amazing.

Leroy: And back in those days, the gigs that were along here, on this strip, on Bourbon Street, were six times forty-five minute sets.

Louise: Six? Goodness me!

Leroy: Yeah. And some places had three bands a night, and so they’d have eighteen hours continuous music. And you know, you establish yourself. For one thing, musicians, I think…well you have to, for one thing, follow your taxes at the end of the year and have something to show that you’re in the system, legit, even though you’re self-employed. So you can itemise, so you can have deductions on stuff if you’re doing your taxes yourself. Or have a tax accountant do it – I have a tax accountant, because to me it’s very complicated if you’re going to go into that, doing that, the long form is when you getting ten ninety nines where you haven’t gotten…nothing’s been taken out, you’ve got all your money, but you have to pay, you know, you don’t have to, but you should! Not to mention the repercussions if the IRS decides to audit or…you know, same thing everywhere, I’m sure. And I know taxes are really high in the UK, because I’ve played over there and I know how it is for the local musicians, I have friends that I recently toured with over there and I know how it goes there. But here it’s the same, basically. And I think that, you know, it’s almost in America, it’s like your credit is worth more than your collateral. It’s almost like, if you don’t have good credit – you can have as much money as you want – you have a problem; the first thing they’re gonna look at is your credit. Credit check, credit check. I wanna pay cash for the car. Whatever. You know, because it’s all about, you know, they’re trying to make a profit off of you, so…but I think if you’re working a lot and you’re legitimately doing things right, it helps. Not saying you will, but just saying being self employed, performing artist – just to make sure that you keep your papers in order, as far as your taxes and stuff. And I think that can help you to not have to come into a situation where, you know, ‘okay well, we can’t give you this because you’re insufficient on credit or your job is not stable’, you know…whatever.

Louise: Yeah, if you can prove your job’s stable, you should be okay!

Louis: It’s like, you know where you guys are from, again, dealing with demographics, I understand with the music that you’re going to be majoring in – that’s going to be your profession. That area’s going to have to be willing to embrace that profession, you understand what I’m saying? Because, I mean, if I was living in Jamaica and trying to make a living playing traditional jazz, it’s not gonna happen! So, if you wanna focus on being a traditional jazz musician in London, you have to hope that there are going to be clubs there, hotels, that’s gonna embrace that and promote it for you so that you can make a living.

Louise: At the minute, I mean it’s kind of like an underground scene, isn’t it, traditional jazz.

Adam: Yeah, but it is definitely there.

Louise: There’s this kind of hipster revolution where all the kids want to go out swing dancing because, you know, it’s become… they don’t really understand the music or the culture or anything.

Martin: It’s like, films as well, when a new film comes out, like, is it La La Land?

Louise: Yeah like when La La Land came out and everyone was like…I work in a Jazz bar in Greenwich, London, called Oliver’s, which is an amazing place with live bands every night – but Monday to Thursday is pretty much dead; no one comes in. Since La La Land, this film, has come out, it’s been packed every single night! So I suppose…

Martin: It’s a good thing.

Louise: Yeah, I mean, it’s a great thing that that’s happened, but it takes that – it takes some kind of hype to get people involved. And then they’re interested for a couple of months, and then they go onto something else.

Louis: It’s a fad, then it just fades out.

Louise: Yeah, which is frustrating for us, obviously, because this is our life – this is what we care about and this is what we love and are passionate about. So it’s trying to inspire people to get on that boat with us, and I mean, at the minute we’re trying to get people involved and inspired and teach, and you know, I think the most important thing is to access young people and to inspire them, because they are the musicians of the future.

Leroy: Sure.

Louise: And the grown-ups of the future.

Leroy: And the audiences of the future!

Louise: And the audiences of the future, exactly!

Laura: I think it’s also – In England there’s been…unfortunately in Europe it feels like it’s all shifting more towards the conservative side again, which is really sad. And with that, in England now, the arts have been quite slayed, so, when I grew up you had art education, music education in the general curriculum, studying on the state, whereas now they’re removing the arts and all the funding, so…

Leroy: It’s the same thing has happened over here, I mean…and it was the first thing to go. When they’re gonna cut expenses, the arts are out the window. When I was growing up in the early-mid sixties through the seventies, a little boy to teenager, youngsters that didn’t have parents who could afford an instrument for them, instruments were provided at the school – I’ll never forget, York was the brand for brass, we were playing York. Cornets – you had the cornets, trumpets and trombones, you know, and kids could use the instruments throughout the year, school year, and take it home…I think you had to give it back at summer unless you were in a summer camp, but I mean, you had an instrument to take home and practise on. And your folks – many parents couldn’t afford to, you know…a good instrument is expensive, even more expensive today than it was. I mean, I remember my first new horn was a Bundy, a Selmer Bundy, and it was a great horn, a student model – it was $250 in 1969. $250 was a lot of money in 1969 for a new student model horn! Today, when you consider the fact that you get student models now – I’ve seen them now going for $899, $870, you know, so actually, in reference to that, the price has dropped for student model horns. Of course, if you’re talking about professional instruments and custom made horns, you’ve gotta think, you know, it’s like, ‘What’s your bid?’ you know!

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