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What is old is new again: Hot Jazz in New York
August 16, 2013 9:48 AM   Subscribe

How a Swath of 20-Somethings Have Tuned In to 1920s Pop. New Hot Jazz Is Warming Up(audio link). Looking to catch some live? Check out the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor's Island this weekend, or the New York Hot Jazz Fest on August 25th. posted by fings (63 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Time for the Squirrel Nut Zippers to reunite?
posted by tommasz at 9:57 AM on August 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'll just leave this here.
posted by The Whelk at 9:59 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Time for the Squirrel Nut Zippers to reunite?

I'm going to load up the Time Travel over TC/IP and send my high school self an E-mail that DON'T WORRY YOUR GOOFY PRE-ROCK MUSIC FIXATION IS GOING TO MAKE YOU SOMEWHAT HIP IN ABOUT A DECADE.

Also leave this here.
posted by The Whelk at 10:03 AM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Everything new old is new old again.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:08 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love this stuff so much. I'm glad to see it's coming back again.
posted by immlass at 10:08 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, lol swing dancing Vince Vaughan movie whatever blah blah blah.

On the other hand, an old friend of mine lives in NYC and is one of the best jazz musicians I've ever played with and is the bandleader of a pretty amazing jazz orchestra that seems to be getting a lot of play in local media lately. I couldn't be happier for him, as he's been evangelizing that particular style of jazz since the first time I met him in the early 90s and it's about time his decades of hard work and passion for the art paid off big. I'd links a video of his band here, but I'm not sure that's kosher since I know him.
posted by The World Famous at 10:11 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Look, we rarely get a chance for a re-do on a revival movement - so let's be smart from the very beginning and just quietly kill Brain Setzer now.
posted by The Whelk at 10:13 AM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


See also: electroswing
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:14 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


The World Famous - Post the links! I'm pretty sure that's ok in the comments of a topically related post. You just can't make a front page post about them.
posted by Arbac at 10:18 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


(also when I was performing, hot early-jazz bands where pretty common in the bars - but that was part of the larger "Dream Of the 1890s" thing that has so successfully leaked out into the mainstream media)
posted by The Whelk at 10:19 AM on August 16, 2013


What, no link? Here ya go.
posted by birdhaus at 10:20 AM on August 16, 2013


Time for the Squirrel Nut Zippers to reunite?

Oh, but they already did! Well, they did, from 2007-2010. Here's a half-hour live set on NPR, and Lost at Sea, their live album from 2009.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:21 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


And on the topic of SNZ, here's a write-up on the band for an American Studies class, discussing their ties to swing and hot jazz, including a bit on what "hot jazz" is (warning: web 1.0 design, circa 1997).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:24 AM on August 16, 2013


A few from other areas of the country:
L.A.: Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys

New Orleans: Meschiya Lake & the Little Big Horns

Oregon: The Bathtub Gin Serenaders
posted by fings at 10:27 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also cause I swear it's relevant, the two man gentleman band wrote a song for my first book. And I always heard it called "Dixieland" myself.
posted by The Whelk at 10:27 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whelk, I almost included the Gentlemen in the post, but they moved. Still... Ok, here they are live in NY.
posted by fings at 10:33 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hmm... maybe the time is ripe to offload those scratchy old jazz '78s I have in the garage on ebay.
posted by Kabanos at 10:34 AM on August 16, 2013




Trick question, Kabanos. Both are the heads of the same shit monster.
posted by basicchannel at 10:54 AM on August 16, 2013


POLL: Which left a bigger shit-stain on the '90s? Swing or Ska

Survey SAYS!

EEEEEHHHHHNT! X

I'm sorry, the answer is "Nu-Metal."
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:57 AM on August 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'd love to see a revival of sweet jazz as well. There's a tendency among jazz revivalists to treat hot jazz as somehow more authentic and sweet jazz as a tepid watering down of jazz, but the truth is they simply came from different traditions -- hot jazz emerged from brothels and riverbaots while sweet jazz emerged from the society orchestra, which sounds hoity toity but an early example of this was James Reese Europe's Society Orchestra, with Reese having been a member of the Clef Club Orchestra -- one of the essential proto-jazz orchestras to come out of Harlem.

Sweet jazz was also a dance music, but intended for ballroom-style dancing such as the Fox Trot, and featured lush arrangements that I still think are gorgeous. Here's some examples:

Jean Goldkette and his Orchestra: That's What I Call Sweet Music
Red Nichols' Stompers: Make My Cot Where The Cot-Cot-Cotton Grows
Herman Kenin and his Ambassador Hotel Orchestra: I'm The Last Of The Red Hot Mammas
Jean Goldkette and his Orchestra, That's What Puts The Sweet In Home Sweet Home
Rudy Vallee and his Connecticut Yankees: The One That I Love Loves Me
'Doc' Cook and his 14 Doctors of Syncopation: Hum And Strum

It's all swing, as Duke Ellington famously sang: "It doesn't matter of you play it sweet or hot."
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:58 AM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm just biding my time waiting for Victorian parlor songs to come back.
posted by spitbull at 11:05 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's consumerist plot perpetuated by Big Washboard exactly from the Hallmark/Mothers Day playbook.
posted by wcfields at 11:15 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is all my fault for talking about Cab Calloway so much. Sorry.
posted by COBRA! at 11:17 AM on August 16, 2013


Gah. I hate this so much. Not the Jazz Age, just the way our pop culture constantly recycles amazing, old things. It'll be popular for five minutes and go away again for another 80 years.

I was reading an article about the Blue Oyster Cult guy who died the other day and they mentioned the Walken skit from SNL having made DFTR popular again. I was all, "no! it was the made for TV mini series Stephen King's The Stand!"

My pop culture is better than yours.

Now get off my lawn before I tie an onion to your belt and shove you off a cliff.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:34 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


So is this nostalgia for 90s nostalgia, genuine appreciation of older music, or some rarified form of next-level irony?

In any case, get off my lawn and keep away from my 78s, junior.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:45 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


In any case, get off my lawn and keep away from my 78s, junior.

would that be a Jazz Age Lawn party?
posted by philip-random at 11:46 AM on August 16, 2013


Could Motown come back instead?
posted by Area Man at 12:00 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Kabanos: POLL: Which left a bigger shit-stain on the '90s? Swing or Ska

I will fight you with my words. I learned to (awkwardly) dance to ska and let go of stupid inhibitions towards dancing in public, and swing is too much fun to be relegated to the past. Why do you hate fun?


Area Man: Could Motown come back instead?

Did the Motown style ever really die? It fades from time to time, gets incorporated into something new, but the spirit is still present.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:03 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


At least Ska comes in waves.
posted by Area Man at 12:04 PM on August 16, 2013


Give me that old time Barbershop
posted by IndigoJones at 12:06 PM on August 16, 2013


Minneapolis: Patty and the Buttons.

So is this nostalgia for 90s nostalgia, genuine appreciation of older music, or some rarified form of next-level irony?

I can't rule out the other two, but there's definitely genuine appreciation in there. I came to it through the dance side of things, but boy howdy there are some good bands out there. And I'm willing to dislike almost all 90s-era swing, but we might not have the current crop of awesome if we didn't suffer through Brian Setzer.

Could Motown come back instead?

Oddly, it kind of is, right next to swing. I don't know if anyone actually performs it live, but it's being DJed alongside swing music, because some songs can be danced to like swing. It's super fun.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:09 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I once crashed a Halloween wedding / wedding reception in Minneapolis that had a hot jazz band. The couple got married at midnight. People in costumes were dancing to hot jazz music. It was great.

(Don't worry. I know that wedding crashing is wrong. I promise never to do it again. Also, this pre-dates the movie. I was very rude, but not someone trying to copy a movie.)
posted by Area Man at 12:11 PM on August 16, 2013


I only have a limited experience with this particular jazz revival, but it does feel a bit like young white people playing dressup. Gods know authenticity is a mug's game and of course all these musicians are hard working and serious about their music, but it feels a bit hollow to me.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:16 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Could Motown come back instead?

Do Bruno Mars, Janelle Monae and Mayer Hawthorne count?
posted by The World Famous at 12:17 PM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


In 90's Meta-Nostalgia news, disco is back again - the deep track stuff that goes on and on and on, really letting you get into the groove. Daft Punk is responsible, but after rocking the fuck out to Megatron Man on my way into work (a perfect storm of '70s and '80s!), I hope more modern EDM artists follow the example.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:18 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey if it's done well and fun to listen to, folks can revive whatever the heck they want, as many times as they want. It's not like pop culture is a zero sum game.
posted by jetsetsc at 12:25 PM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


My fellow Mefites. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball. But tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom, and the next new musical genre.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:35 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hate this so much. Not the Jazz Age, just the way our pop culture constantly recycles amazing, old things. It'll be popular for five minutes and go away again for another 80 years.


That raises an interesting point: as the internet has come into its first maturity and ubiquity in the past couple of decades, we have all been just inundated with cultural works on a scale we haven't figured out quite how to cope with. I mean, I'm just old enough that I had to go to the record store as a kid and paw through cassettes and now all of the music ever is available through this magic box I'm typing into....how do you deal with that, seriously? If you love music, say, and are at all curious about it beyond your current taste/exposure, it's a near-infinite rabbit hole. It's amazing and overwhelming.

It doesn't surprise me at all that mini-fads are an emergent pattern culturally. It's like we all have total cultural ADHD and haven't learned how to focus and savor in an environment of so much.

This mini-trend I love. Hot jazz is just so damn fun and kinetic. And when the trend goes away, the music is still there, so, cool.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:37 PM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Reminds me of the Squirrel Nut Zippers and The Molestics.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:40 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Protip: The Squirrel Nut Zippers have a lot of friends in Chapel Hill. Do not call them a "novelty act" there, and expect to get big laughs.
posted by thelonius at 12:48 PM on August 16, 2013


See also: electroswing

Is that what that whole No Parle Americano thing was all about a couple years ago?
posted by evil otto at 1:10 PM on August 16, 2013


Do you mean Yolanda Be Cool Feat DCUP - We No Speak Americano? Nah, that's more of a booty house sample/mashup thing, though it could be shoehorned into the genre umbrella. Wikipedia currently says electro swing is a blending of swing with house, hip hop, EDM and more, which is pretty damned broad. Here's a comp of what I'd consider to be more "standard" electro swing, but this is just my impression of the genre (and the name of the compilation =). More like a remix of swing songs than sampling small elements of a song.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:38 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've never understood the notion of the Squirrel Nut Zippers being a "novelty act." Andrew Bird was there for a bit, and his "Bowl of Fire" band next was some great stuff. Jas Mathus has been playing that music for years, and Katherine Whalen (his former wife) too...they're all dyed in the wool jazz players. My father has been a jazz fan since the late 40s and loves Dixieland especially, and he loves the Squirrel Nut Zippers. He insists they're the real thing.
posted by nevercalm at 3:14 PM on August 16, 2013


>>See also: electroswing

>Is that what that whole No Parle Americano thing was all about a couple years ago?



Yes, that was the one big mainstream hit — but the niche has been quietly evolving on its own since then. Here are some electroswing DJ mixes from Manie Dansante, a regular night in Rio.
posted by Tom-B at 3:40 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, but I'm still very conflicted over how much of the culture I was into back in the mid-90s morphed its way into what became Generic Early-stage 21st-Century Hipsters (Hey guys! Free band name over here!). If now they come to my house looking for my 78 and wax cylinder collection, or any of my old archtop guitars or brass coronets, I'm gonna load my shotgun with some "artisanal, handmade, rock salt loads" and break some reproduction horn rimmed glasses.

/end old-man has-been grump mode.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 3:46 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Time for the Squirrel Nut Zippers to reunite?

Wouldn't be the same without Tom Maxwell.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:09 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


the culture I was into back in the mid-90s morphed its way into what became Generic Early-stage 21st-Century Hipsters

So you are saying you were into Hipster culture before it was hip?
posted by fings at 4:44 PM on August 16, 2013


Revival, shmevival. As long as this newfound interest on the part of the Youngs leads enterprising folk to collect, compile and publish new collections of '20s jazz and dance music in best-ever sound (search for album titles with "roaring" in Spotify or MOG for some nice comps), your sobsister will be happy. A revival of the British dance band would also be nice, thanks.
posted by the sobsister at 4:46 PM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


This may be my favorite Metafilter post. Ever.
posted by 4ster at 5:05 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maa, see?
posted by Halogenhat at 5:07 PM on August 16, 2013


Could Motown come back instead?

Why not? Memphis soul has.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:39 PM on August 16, 2013


So you are saying you were into Hipster culture before it was hip?

Not really. Hating yourself has always been in style for us Gen-Xers.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 5:45 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wear ironic clothing on the outside because ironic is how I feel on the inside.
posted by The World Famous at 5:46 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


It doesn't surprise me at all that mini-fads are an emergent pattern culturally.

I think you are on to something here, LooseFilter. The easy availability of every created musical style at our fingertips, combined with the Internet's ability to connect you with other fans, means pretty much no matter how obscure your musical interest, it is possible to find other passionate people.

In a real sense, we are co-existing with the past at a level unmatch.

Writing (and drawing) started it. Before writing, the past only existed in stories, objects, and memories. Writing gave the past a channel into the present. Then the printing press and mass literacy widened the channel, and in the 19th century, photography made it more immediate. Recorded sound and moving pictures deepened it further, and then they combined into talkies.

But even then, you didn't have the access to the past in the same way. If you missed a movie when it was shown, well, that was it. Same with TV. Then the VCR cracked open that door. Suddenly people who weren't rich or film students could see (some) of the past on demand.

Culturally, we've been living with the written past for centuries -- millennium even, the pictured past for ~200 years, the audio past for about 100 years, the video past for 80 or so (but mostly for the past 35). Now, in the last 10 or so years, we suddenly have all the past (well, the parts that have been digitized) living with us every day. Why shouldn't a modern teenager explore hot jazz or monk chants or Bollywood? They're all equally in reach with the latest pop-star's offerings.
posted by fings at 7:36 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


So when is jazz fusion gonna come back?

Or did it never leave?
posted by freakazoid at 9:08 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


If prog can come back, so can fusion.
posted by Wolof at 2:12 AM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Prog never died, man.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:26 AM on August 17, 2013


No revival style will ever be as popular as it was in the 90s (or even the garage revival of the early 00s) because all the original music is available to us immediately on Spotify. I mean it may be fun to go to a hot jazz night with a local band, but they're not going to get huge--when you go home you'll listen to the Hot 7s.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:32 AM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Reminiscing about past styles is not new, and Daft Punk's Get Lucky through the decades was well received when it was recently shared on the blue.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:32 AM on August 17, 2013


Could Motown come back instead?

No, Motown is coming back in addition, not "instead."
posted by John Cohen at 3:48 AM on August 18, 2013


If you didn't click on Fings' link to Meschiya Lake and Her Little Big Horns here it is again, and you should watch it because, beyond the music , it's the most spellbinding street performance I've seen on film. Give it a minute till the dancers come in.
posted by velebita at 9:30 AM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do Bruno Mars, Janelle Monae and Mayer Hawthorne count?

Speaking of Monae: 'The Electric Lady': Janelle Monáe on Her New Album and an Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Look of her Cover Art Photoshoot
posted by homunculus at 2:20 PM on August 30, 2013


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