THE REAL THING IN ATLANTA: DAN BARRETT, DUKE HEITGER, DAN BLOCK, JOHN COCUZZI, PAUL KELLER. DANNY COOTS at the ATLANTA JAZZ PARTY

I know some jazz fans who speak disdainfully of what they call “jazz party jazz.” The stereotypical music they reject is fast, loud, and showy. Through many routined performances, it lacks spark and ingenuity; it is flashy, never delicate.

I submit this trio of performances from the 2014 Atlanta Jazz Party as inventive, lyrical rejoinders.  For one thing, there’s Dan Barrett’s choice of songs; to some, they are ancient standards, “played to death.”  But when was the last time you heard a band play these three songs?  (Perhaps in 1945, these were overdone, but they aren’t now.) And the performances are leisurely, rather than formulaic, the music growing organically rather than according to set patterns.  Hear the variations within each performance: trades, unaccompanied passages, riffs, backgrounds, a little homage to Coleman Hawkins in IDAHO — a sweet singing quality throughout. I hear truly satisfying music: Keynote Records visits April 2014, if you admire science-fiction in swingtime.

MY MELANCHOLY BABY:

I SURRENDER, DEAR:

IDAHO:

I’ll be posting more from the Atlanta Jazz Party, and hope to see you there in April 2015.

May your happiness increase!

4 responses to “THE REAL THING IN ATLANTA: DAN BARRETT, DUKE HEITGER, DAN BLOCK, JOHN COCUZZI, PAUL KELLER. DANNY COOTS at the ATLANTA JAZZ PARTY

  1. If there is “jazz party jazz,” it is because of the very slow acceptance of new talent – or even existing talent from outside the scene. As great as they are -and they are! – the cast of characters changes slowly, and the regional vibe is uniform wherever they play. Are 30 or 40 New York cats really the whole story? Should it be that way in Atlanta and Cleveland and Santa Monica and all the ships at sea?

    If it should be this way, let’s at least lay out the terms. No local talent – no fresh faces – because this kind of jazz can only exist this way and here’s why. I suspect there are possibilities – and audiences – as yet unimagined for classic jazz.

  2. I think it takes experience like these men have to sound the way they do. They are for sure the real thing. If a “fresh faced” musician showed up and he had the “whatever it takes” to sound like this or even better I’m sure he would be able to join the band or get jobs with a band of his own.
    People want really good Jazz. I know I do.

  3. Don "Zoot" Conner

    Bravo! six fine musicians with brilliant soloists. As for the tunes, the “presters”and many other cats had them in their books forever.

  4. Regarding tunes that were overdone in 1945, some time ago a local musician chastised me for suggesting that contemporary audiences don’t often hear “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” I told him I want to be proven wrong the next time I go to one of his shows!

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