Friday, February 20, 2015

The joy of zest (introducing the Lucky Chops)

Every once in a while the tired discussion on how to bring jazz to people, or make it "popular" reappears. When it does, I always think of these two quotes.

Years ago, singer, pianist and raccounteur Ben Sidran asked Art Blakey to describe jazz in one word, to which the master drummer replied: 
"Intensity. Intensity. Intensity. Even on the ballads."
Sometime in the early seventies, trombonist, pianist, composer and arranger Bob Brookmeyer, a serious guy with zero tolerance to nonsense, said this, as published by Downbeat magazine:
"Above all, you're supposed to have a good time with it. Otherwise you missed the whole point, and you can't do that."
Well, admittedly the music on the video below is not jazz (let's not go into pointless arguments just now), but besides being a grand example of how much fun music can be (and of the value of music as a social tool—the baritone player is obviously nuts, and here he is, being useful to society), I think it provides a good hint of the zest that would be most welcome in any kind of music, and especially in (some) jazz.

(Same video, on Facebook)

These guys are The Lucky Chops Brass Band, and they're playing a medley of Lipps Inc's "Funky Town" and James Brown's "I Feel Good" at the mezzanine of 34th St.-Herald Square subway station, as part of the Music Under New York programme. No further comment needed, I think, except put your headphones on, turn it up and play it on HD if you can.

To put names to those fresh faces, Josh Gawel is on trumpet; Josh Holcomb on trombone; Raphael Buyo on sousaphone; Daro Bheroozi on tenor sax; Leo Pellegrino on baritone sax; and Kevin Congleton on drums.


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