How to Support Live Music

I asked Glenn Crytzer if I could re-post his awesome article on supporting live music because I too want you to support the artists that make this world wonderful.

You can find the original post here.

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Hi Jazz Fans,

So often I hear people say “we’ve got to support live music.” Dance instructors often tell their students to support live music by coming out to venues when there’s a band playing, organizers worry about people coming out to “support the band”.

Every effort is appreciated of course, but I think where this phrase misses the mark is that people want to go dancing to enjoy themselves, not to support a something. Telling people to support live music by showing up sends the message “go out dancing to a DJ to have fun, come hear a band to support the scene.” Of course no one MEANS it that way, but it somehow comes across to people as such.

So what CAN you actively do to support live music and share their passion for dancing to a live band with other people? Here are some talking points that you might find helpful:

1. Tell people why you like to dance to live music better than recorded music. The majority of experienced dancers prefer dancing to a live band over dancing to recordings. These are also folks who have a tremendous passion for dancing. Share your passion for this with others. Your students, friends, new dancers, etc. Tell them honestly why it matters to you and why you like it better. People’s authentic passion is a better motivator than anything else.

2. Talk to people about the correlation between improvisation in dancing and improvisation in jazz.

3. Talk about how the band feeds off the dancers energy and the dancers feed off the band. There’s not any interplay like this with a recording.

4. Talk about dancing as the whole experience of dancing, music, fashion and vintage culture rolled together. There’s a reason you own vintage clothes!!

5. Some people are history buffs. Talk about the historical accuracy of dancing to live music.

6. Some people are kinesthetic. Talk about how it FEELS different to dance to real instruments vibrating than it does to a speaker.

7. Tell your audiophile friends that no matter how good a recording is, it’s not the real thing.

8. Tell people that live music nights are THE nights to be out. They’re not just dance practice, they’re social events where you can expect everyone to be out!

9. Tell people it’s what all the cool kids are doing.

In addition to sharing your ideas about why you love to dance to live music, there’s some other great ways to be a supporter.

1. Start a thread or a message about dressing up when there’s a band. People looking sharp means it’s more special when a band plays.

2. Introduce people to the musicians. People are more involved if they know the folks making the music.

3.Be there. Stay home one DJ’d night that week and spend that extra $5 to see a band!

4. Suggest bands’ facebook groups to friends or post a link to a bands’ page as your status every now and then. Facebook lets you send a page suggestion to anyone you want. If you know some dancers not on a fan page of a band you like, suggest it to them. A couple kids at the Century this week were SHOCKED to learn that my band was on facebook. The more folks on our pages the more people who will know about our shows.

5. Side by side with number 4 is inviting more people to a band’s show. Facebook lets you invite people on your friend list to events you’re attending. Spread the word.

6. Read this blog (and others like it!) and learn about music. Re-post stuff you find interesting for others to see too!

Remember, supporting live music is about telling people how much it kicks ass, not about telling them to support it.

The movement is growing!! Viva live jazz!

cheers,
Glenn

www.bluerhythmband.net
band.to/syncopators

Glenn Crytzer – It Don’t Mean a Thing IF….

I ran into Glenn a few months ago while hanging out in Seattle and he’s a super interesting guy. He knows his music backwards, forwards, and upside down and he speaks passionately and eloquently about it.
When I first started dancing, I could dance long enough or hard enough. I would dance to anything just so I could keep moving and practice this new “thing” I found and needed. It was like I was starving constantly and it didn’t matter what nourished me. Now years later, I have been well feed and have developed a better palate for music. I’ve become more of a music snob and will no longer dance lindy hop to just anything. In fact, I really only want to lindy hop to swing music, not rock & roll, boogie woogie, soul, r&b, bluegrass, hip hop, etc. I will dance other forms of movement to them, but I won’t lindy hop to them.
Thank you Glenn for writing about why music swings! Click here to read it on his blog
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Hi Jazz Fans,

When I wanted to progress past being an intermediate level dancer, I realized that the next step in dancing was to understand the music, and through this process I started to discover why it was that the really good dancers didn’t dance to certain songs or go out to hear certain bands. There’s a certain feeling in swing music that doesn’t exist in bop or jump blues or 50’s Basie or groovy jazz. It’s really hard to describe in a sentence, but when you discover it, you’ve got it forever and it’s one of the most exciting revelations that life has to offer (IMHO anyway).

Whenever I dance to or listen to a live band, I judge it with a critical ear – I pick apart what I’m hearing and judge what each player’s style is doing to add to or take away from the swing of the band. Over the next several days, I’m going to write about some of the things that I listen for in dance music. If you’re just learning to dance or are looking to step up to the next level, I hope this will help you in your quest as you search for the holy grail of “swing;” if you’re reading this and you’ve already discovered swing, I hope this will help you understand more about what you’re hearing so that when you do or don’t like a band, you’ll have a better idea of why.

#1 Rhythm of the Train

It’s really hard to find good rhythm players and I’ve been blessed to play with guys who really get the style. The goal of the rhythm section should be to form a really tight unit that, in a way, emulates the rhythm of a train. Here are a couple great examples. The first is Duke Ellington’s Orchestra from 1930 playing Old Man Blues:

Now THAT sounds like a train! Here’s a another example, this time from Count Basie’s Orchestra in 1938. Listen to how the Rhythm Section creates the drive and energy of a locomotive, even though they are less expressly trying to copy the exact sound of a train in this one.

Now let’s listen to Count Basie from 1959 to hear how the music changed away from being dance music.

The drums in this tune focus on the back beats like one TWO three FOUR, instead of that nice even chug-chug-chug-chug from the 1930’s, and the extended drum solo at the end just doesn’t swing at all, and there are many other places where the whole band syncopates together, breaking the steady 4 rhythm. The focuses of this tune are the crazy ensemble riffs and Lockjaw Davis’s solo. The ensemble riffs now float overtop of the rhythm instead of being a PART of the rhythm like in the last Basie tune.

Now let’s try some more Ellington and we’ll hear that even the infamous “Take the A-Train” didn’t sound much like a train anymore by the 1960’s.

You can hear that the 1930’s music has that chugga chugga sound like a train, while the later music is more about the horns. This is, in my opinion, due to the fact that American culture changed from a railroad driven culture in the 1930’s to an automobile driven culture after WW2.

Let’s listen to a couple modern examples.

First, something that doesn’t swing!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling it bad music – I think Diana Krall and her musicians are fantastic players. I am however calling it indisputably NOT swing music.

Let’s close out with something that DOES swing. Here’s my buddy Jonathan Stout’s big band from LA. Note how Jon on guitar and Josh on drums create that locomotive rhythm. (check out Jonathan’s blog here: HERE)

I hope this gets you started thinking about what makes music swing!!

Next time: The Drum Set

Cheers,

Glenn

www.bluerhythmband.net

band.to/syncopators