By an amazing act of endurance or insulation, I’ve somehow managed to survive the 2004 Enkhuizen Jazz Festival
. I’ve got New Orleans Old Style Revival Dixie Swing coming out of every damn orifice in my body. I’ve seen more grey hair than I thought possible. I saw white-haired men bouncing out It Don’t Mean a Thing like it really meant something. I saw a Glenn Miller revival band in full war uniform. I saw old couples waltzing well into the small hours. I consumed badly-poured, softdrinky Heinekens by the dozen and felt neither a flutter nor headspin, in fact, I don’t think I drunk any more than two pints’ worth ‘cause of the requisite 1/3 head. These people need to go to beer school and learn how to pour. I saw an audience totally focused on talk and gossip, saw jazz as background pleasantry. But, there were also some pluses. Or rather, innate minuses turned to positives — with regard to the staid ennui of playing only revival music (and that several degrees removed, revival-revival music which only old people play to remind them of their youth), that is, if you only play a particular period-style of music, and that music has well and truly moved on then you’re repeating a stagnation, living in ennui. (The people of Enkhuizen have never heard of Parker, Mingus, Miles et al, which to me has something of the Christian fundamentalist about it, dinosaurs and mouldy figs). Which always got me pretty annoyed in equal measure to the amount of overexposure I got. Don’t get me wrong, I love the early swing music, the real New Orleans stuff, but not when played in a pushed, choppy manner by retired white folks in Holland. This year there was more broad swing: there was a big band, there were several jump and jive bands like King Pleasure & the Biscuit Boys
who were a lot of fun (vaseline smiles and twisting antics with the bass, feet on pianos etc. Apparently last year there was some underwear with phone numbers flung). But of course they’re slightly more blues and bounce-based, more boogie-woogie. They wore yellow suits. Of course some of the folks thought it was too fast and theatrical. Of course Bill Haley and Little Richard invented them moves. But as I said to everyone who cared, the music has to move on. It can’t be Dixie forever. ‘Cause no-one notices it’s all the same repertoire every year round, no-one realises there was ever jazz after World War 2, they don’t even know the Duke. I was secretly hoping one of the old timers on stage would do a fluttering Parker motif on the sly, but it never happened. Lots of Louis growls, lots of squeaking, piping clarinets and choppy banjos, lots of yack. And they were mincing away till three in the morning.
Rino’s near-perfect Music-Preferential:
I prefer music made by blacks, and
I prefer it to have backing vocals.
Still, I got lots of Dutch booze and cigars for my welcome re-embrace of the Modernists of jazz. That’s my revival tonic.