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Hi all,

Last weekend I visited a nice small jazz festival in the garden of a beautiful old castle in Laag-Keppel in The Netherlands. This was the program of the Jazztime festival: http://www.jazztime.nl/en/programme

My main reason for going was to see Big Jay McNeely, who played with the Martijn Schok Boogie and Blues Band, including the great Dutch tenor Rinus Groeneveld. Big Jay was still going strong at 84, but I was really surprised by the act of the Bratislava Hot Serenaders from Slovakia.

From their website (http://www.serenaders.sk/?kat=hist):
"They devote all their free time to "Hot Jazz" or "Sweet and Dance Music" which arrived in Europe at the end of the Twenties from America. Thanks to gramophone business, very extended in America, the orchestra´s boys can search for old shellac gramophone records, listen to them till early morning and note-by-note reconstruct the old sweet melodies and imitate their arrangements. After hours of practicing, they dress themselves into traditional costumes, put the brilliantine on their hair and start playing their vintage instruments and singing into a lone microphone."

Found some very nice and well played performances on YouTube and on the bands own site:



Video's from their own site: http://www.serenaders.sk/?parent=video

Try to catch them when you can!
 

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How is it that this stuff is classic art music in Slovakia and not over here?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No idea Paul, what do you think? What I know is that people in Europe are in general more interested in (old) art then people in US.

Here in The Netherlands (where I live) we had some years ago also a group of musicians (the Beau Hunks) that tried to recapture old music from records and movies. They did that very well, but after having seen the guys and girls from Slovakia they are my number one of current bands performing this kind of old music.

Here some YouTube examples of the Beau Hunks, just to compare:




 

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No idea Paul, what do you think? What I know is that people in Europe are in general more interested in (old) art then people in US.
I think I can now answer the question. In the US, this isn't jazz anymore, because jazz today begins in 1945. To us, this is a kind of nerd-oriented niche music, not as hip as klezmer, but hipper than polka.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think I can now answer the question. In the US, this isn't jazz anymore, because jazz today begins in 1945.
I know a famous US born trumpet player who states that jazz died after 1959, so that makes the jazz era in the USA very very short :bluewink:!

To us, this is a kind of nerd-oriented niche music, not as hip as klezmer, but hipper than polka.
I don't think that people in Europe think like that. Speaking for myself, I'm not at all interested in how something is labeled or named or what is considered to be hip or not. I just like to listen and play music that speaks to me, based on the content. I guess that's valid for most people overhere.
 

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I've been watching this band for some time on YouTube. They can't get original arrangements so they actually transcribe from the old recordings, note for note. It's kind of sad that we Americans seem to be disregarding our own great early music. But if you're interested there is yet another great "vintage" group on YouTube, called "Andor's Jazz Band", out of the Netherlands and it actually features an American trumpet player, Kurt Weiss, he's a fine musician but so are the others. They're well worth watching.
 

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I know a famous US born trumpet player who states that jazz died after 1959, so that makes the jazz era in the USA very very short :bluewink:!
That's about the size of it if you go to a college jazz program...but I am "that guy" about that subject of course.

And that being said, I will now go ahead and frankly be "that guy" about a closely related subject...

I don't think that people in Europe think like that. Speaking for myself, I'm not at all interested in how something is labeled or named or what is considered to be hip or not. I just like to listen and play music that speaks to me, based on the content. I guess that's valid for most people overhere.
Two things I feel both Europeans AND Americans need to understand about America: our identity comes from the marketplace. It has to be that way, because we are a nation of people who gave up everything for work. We say freedom, and sometimes that's true, but mostly what brought us here was work, market, economy. It was that or starve.

To me, that means consumption and obsolescence form our tastes. It's important to be modern and make popular choices here. We market ourselves to people we want to hang with, so you can still "starve" - socially - if you don't. That's why we need labels for what we're into. It makes it easier to market ourselves socially.

Even if you consider yourself an artist, you need to follow the current practice of your art, and agree with what is or isn't considered good (like the trumpeter you mention). Ironically, this usually means staying away from anything that used to be popular or vernacular. We keep a pretty high wall up between art and pop culture, and like each to be purely what it is.

BTW, art doesn't always have to support itself in the market in the US. But it has to at least agree with the values of people who live in the market, who can support or donate to it. It has to at least market itself socially, like individuals.

A good rule for music is that if you can dance to it without a leotard on, it's not art.

I go on and on here because the music of the early jazz and swing eras is my greatest passion. I play and study it, and have done so for 30+ years now. I have had to give up a lot to do so, including having a popular or respected label as a musician. My music may be garbage, but it is the highest quality garbage ever produced by civilization.
 

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the music of the early jazz and swing eras is my greatest passion. I play and study it, and have done so for 30+ years now. I have had to give up a lot to do so, including having a popular or respected label as a musician. My music may be garbage, but it is the highest quality garbage ever produced by civilization.
You remind me of the incomparable Pavel Klikar who I was lucky enough to see with his Originální pražský synkopický orchestr in Prague in the early '90s. Whatever one's taste, there's no denying that the scholarship, musicianship, discipline and attention to detail were quite amazing. I think he started in the '70s and I suppose he must have been a major inspiration for groups such as the Bratislava Hot Serenaders. There are some videos on Youtube, of course; you might appreciate the sentiments of this one:

'Sick o' Licks'

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I go on and on here because the music of the early jazz and swing eras is my greatest passion. I play and study it, and have done so for 30+ years now. I have had to give up a lot to do so, including having a popular or respected label as a musician. My music may be garbage, but it is the highest quality garbage ever produced by civilization.
Thanks for sharing your (always interesting to read) thoughts Paul. And please keep on playing 'your' type of music. IMO it's good to follow your heart in that. Here in Holland some players also do that, but still have to survive by playing other (more popular) styles and giving music leasons to students. For me all of that is not valid, just being a weekend warrior amateur player that doesn't have to make a living from playing music.

There are some videos on Youtube, of course; you might appreciate the sentiments of this one:

'Sick o' Licks'
Thanks for sharing this beautiful, very well played music :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've been watching this band for some time on YouTube. They can't get original arrangements so they actually transcribe from the old recordings, note for note. It's kind of sad that we Americans seem to be disregarding our own great early music. But if you're interested there is yet another great "vintage" group on YouTube, called "Andor's Jazz Band", out of the Netherlands and it actually features an American trumpet player, Kurt Weiss, he's a fine musician but so are the others. They're well worth watching.
Thanks for sharing. Here are some example clips of them on youtube (recorded only a few 100 meters from my house :)):

or
 

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MrPeebee, I'll be right over. Hope you have a spare bedroom for me.

Here's another Andor's video. Who says these guys can't have a little fun?


Thanks for sharing.
 
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