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|Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:22 pm Post subject: News and views '11/'12 #10
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|News and Views from the Hall LindyJazzMobile
‘11/’12 installment #10
DANCE, DRIVE, REPEAT, MAYBE.
(Editor’s notes. Explaining the increasing length of “News and Views”, the editor wishes you to know that it’s because “News and Views” are now only sent out on the first of every month, whereas previously, they were sent out whenever the editor grew sick of seeing them in the “draft folder”. See, each installment is a pain in the ass to promulgate by e-mail, requiring several e-mails of less than 100 e-addressees, because—are you ready for this?--somewhere out there in the e-cloud, or wherever, someone with executive authority has decreed that an installment of “News and Views” with over 100 e-addressees is de-facto spam, and will not be delivered. Sigh! Dictators, it seems, are everywhere, and so much for the promised fundamental freedoms of the internet.)
Table of Contents:
1, Oxytocin*, the Miracle Molecule.
3 Notable One-of Dance
4. Review of “Good Vibs: A Life In Jazz: by biography by Jazz Vibraphonist, Terry Gibbs
5. MidWest Lindy Fest
6, Jazz ‘n’ Dance or Dance ‘n’ Jazz
7. Coming Attractions
*No relation to Oxycontin.
OXYTOCIN, THE MIRACLE MOLECULE (This inspired by “The Trust Molecule” NYT 4/27/’12.)
Oxytocin is hormone released from the pituitary gland, specifically, the neurohypophysis, and most people should want all they can get of it. If you are pregnant, it induces labor. If you are in love, your brain is bathed in it. If you want to encourage trust in another person, try to cause them to spike a dump of oxytocin into their brains.
Experiments show that many group activities—singing, praying, DANCING—cause the release of oxytocin and promote connection and caring. As social creatures, humans have created activities that prompt the expression of oxytocin in order to foster connection to others. Oxytocin levels are elevated in love, sex, childbirth, nursing of infants, trust between people, and during hugging. If ever there was created an “International Association of Huggers”, swing dancers would be charter members. They are the huggingist damned people I know. Furthermore, Rudy and I have spent more than 21 years dancing and hugging in every swing dance venue we could get to, in 36 States and 7 foreign countries, and we have yet to see a fight at a swing dance, and seldom heard a harsh word spoken. As a matter of fact, the only time I can remember harsh words, they came from someone who was a couple of doses within the full mark for alcohol. And, categorically speaking, drunk Lindy Hoppers are exceedingly rare, which is good, because no vigorous athletic activity that I know of, is improved by consumption of alcohol.
1. “What jazz brings to the table is collective improvisation and tolerance, respect and freedom, and when you mix that up with every world musical style, you are creating a cultural passport,” Jazz Pianist, Danilo Perez
2,” Jazz at its best is a microcosm of what society should be, incorporating and absorbing what’s going on around us and coming out with something that breaks down barriers and connects people. Would that the rest of the world could do that.” Jazz Pianist, George Duke
3. “Jazz became the world’s music long ago,” said Susan E. Rice, the United States ambassador to the United Nations.
4. “Jazz is not a ‘what.’ It’s a ‘how,’ and if you do things according the ‘how’ of jazz, it’s jazz.” Bill Evans, Jazz Pianist
5. “I think there are only three things that America will be known for two thousand years from now; the Constitution, jazz and baseball, the three most beautifully designed things this country ever produced.” Gerald Early, cultural historian
REVIEW OF TERRY GIBBS BIOGRAPHY “GOOD VIBS; A LIFE IN JAZZ
Jazz vibraphonist, Terry Gibbs is a one of a kind. I have little doubt he dictated this book, and had it transcribed and then cleaned-up by his co-author, Cary Ginell, because the book reads like Terry talks, in short fast bursts, just like he plays, with fusillades of notes per improvisational phrase.
I only saw Gibbs perform once, circa 1952,in the Terrace Lounge in East St. Louis**, and it was memorable. The Terrace is a long thin venue, with a band stand elevated and behind the bar and those seated there. The rest of the audience is seated in several elevated terraces facing the band but separated from the bar by an aisle. The vibraphones is a percussive instrument, and Terry plays it, it’s safe to say, with energy. Actually, he sweats like a racehorse when he plays. That night he wiped the sweat from over his eyes—gotta see to play vibs—using his mallet heads—no free hand to fetch a handkerchief—but in the course of playing, the sweat from the flying mallets sprayed down and into the eyes faces and drinks of those seated at the bar. I sat in a terrace seat. and was free from the sweat shower.
**These were the days when it was almost safe to go to East St Louis at night, and when the city owned its own city hall. Later, unpaid bills for trash-collection forced East St. Louis to turn over its only asset, City Hall to a trashman creditor. Many people have heard about the criminal and questionable political goings-on in Chicago, but few knew about the incestuous combination of downstate Illinois political corruption and crime, pockets of which, far exceeded, in blatant openness, that found in Chicago.
One sentence in the book convulsed me with laughter—it may not be funny out of context, but here it is anyway. (”Drummer) Elvin (Jones) sounded like he was starting World War VII.” See, late in his career, Elvin Jones apparently believed that since God gave him four limbs and a drum kit fit for all four limbs, that all four limbs should, necessarily, play all the time, and loud enough so God could easily hear and appreciate him.
Terry Gibbs is not only intelligent, but he has a truly remarkable memory, either that, OR he kept a lifelong daily diary detailing the venues played, the name of sidemen, and vignettes aplenty experienced with people throughout the worlds of jazz and entertainment. Or, he may have “super autobiographical memory” and can remember every day of his sentient life.
For me, reading the book was, like a saunter down jazz memory lane, while revisiting the famous, the infamous, and unknown but wonderful citizens of jazz.
If you are a jazz fan, this is a good read. If you are a Bebop fan, this book is a must read. Nuf said.
You can’t have this copy—it’s a loaner to me.
NOTABLE ONE-OF DANCES
1. In 1958, Groucho Marx did a two minute long frenetic Charleston dance on the site where Hitler died. Read all about it. http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/125150
MIDWEST LINDY FEST
This annual Lindy Hop event in the Twin Cities has a history; nee “Mid-West Swing Fest” in Cincinnati was run by a comely buxom young woman, Jessica, who abandoned the event after a couple of years and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in….er….. entertainment, but when the abandoned title and rights to the event were requested by Minnesotan, Shawn Lavelle so he could move it to Minnesota, he was told, “if you do that you will be hearing from my lawyer.” Shawn, a clever fellow, changed the name to the Mid-West Lindy Fest, kept the event dates in the spring, and has, to date, not been served with papers.
Since Rudy and I are MN residents in summer, we have tried to get back in time for the MWLF, but, alas, the early May dates have made our attendance mostly misses. So determined were we to get back this year, the Thursday before the event, we drove the LindyJazzMobile for 12 continuous hours; something we have only done before in 25 years of travel in order to put the barrens of west Texas behind us in one day. So much for our dedication as MN Lindy homies.
A secondary motive for making MWLF was to see what three continuous evenings of dancing would do to our structural anatomy—it has been a while---I am happy to report we were walking on Monday…..barely.
All three evening dances featured live music YES! YES! YES! Friday and Saturday at the PNA Hall it was provided by Glenn Crytzer and his Syncopaters, an excellent band made even excellenter by the presence of Solomon Douglas on piano and Meschiya Lake*** on vocals. Sunday night it was MN LH favorites “Twin City Hot Club” at the Four Seasons Studio. All the music was dance-dandy as were the mix of tempos. The lighting was adequate in both venues, as was the dance floor space and surfaces until late Sunday evening when the floor tightened, courtesy of the hot breath and sweat of a big crowd attracted to an invitational Jack and Jill. MWLF was well-attended (actually sold out) and drew widely from adjoining States and beyond. It featured a live music paddleboat ride on the Mississippi, an afternoon gala show, several competitions, and instruction aplenty—do I sound like a PR guy? Anyway, good music, good dancers, good floors, and so, I rate it a good event in all important aspects. I can whole-heartedly recommend it.
***Easily one of the most relaxed and comfortable on-stage jazz singers I have ever seen in live performance.
JAZZ ‘N’ DANCE OR DANCE ‘N’ JAZZ
Either way they go together. John Phillips Sousa said, “(Jazz) the art form will endure as long as people hear it with their feet instead of their brains.” Of course Souza’s prediction predated “free Jazz” by over 70 years, but then, Sousa could not have imagined the dissonant, disrhythmic un-dancable so-called free jazz renderings Of Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman.
When jazz is danceable, and most of it is, and many of the most popular forms of jazz are danceable indeed, and in a generic sense, the music researcher and writer, James T. Maher, wrote, “there is a ‘tactile bond’ between musicians and dancers.” Nevertheless, musicians today, jazz or otherwise, do not need dancers, but dancers always should and, indeed, do need music. It is fair, at this point, to repeat an old aphorism, “Those who hear not the music, think the dancers mad.” I have often asked jazz musicians “would you prefer to play for dancers or sitters?” The reply has been uniformly, “dancers”. Of course the follow up query is, “Why dancers?”. The general response has been “I don’t know if the sitters are digging the music, but I know dancers are involved in the music.” I believe it generally true that dancers will not get out of their chairs to dance to music they dislike.
1. Review of “How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond” by John Powell (As teaser, this question. “Do you know how much louder 10 violinists are when playing together the same music than is one violinist playing alone? Answer below printed backwards. Hint: use a mirror to read it. Did that work? I didn’t think so.)
2. A night of joy dancing to the Solomon Douglas Trio.
3. Two more danceable Live Jazz gigs in MN
Allen Hall, Lindy Hopper
June 1, 2012, and back on Lake Sylvia, finally
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