Aurora Nealand has a new recording out. GO BUY IT!...
[This is not a review. I will get to that in a different way shortly, hopefully in an audio interview with Aurora Nealand.]
I am never sure why people are doing re-creations but it does seem that at the moment many listeners like music dripping with nostalgia for a bygone time. It's almost as though they need to be able to envision others than themselves and add in a few extra-musical elements besides the presented sounds by the musicians in front of them; seemingly seeking information about what people wore; what they ate; how they danced; what they drank. What is the necessity for the extra cultural baggage?
Perhaps, and this is just a thought, that to be with the unpredictability of what is in the present might have to mean that what any one person, listener, player, or group in a room might do is a little scary; it might require forming one's own opinion and coming up with a response.
Watching behavior in relation to the arts, music included, can be very indicative of the of shifting social dynamics in groups. It appears, looking into the preponderance of imitators of past style [and even businesses that promote it] that we may be going through a sort of regressive phase relative to those times of jazz creators such as Sidney Bechet. Both audiences and musicians now strike me as a little afraid of their own, unbridled self expression; as if it had less validity. In these times it's as though people are afraid of their own shadows where shadows are perhaps passions, impulses, desires, attractions; their own animal. Can this be where we are at 100 years after Freud, vanguard art, jazz, and a whole world of stuff that seems like it was there to tear the very underwear off the Victorians.
Paradoxes jump up when making comparisons between the earlier 20th century artists that created those musical inventions that are known as jazz, and their modern worshippers. Bechet for instance, was a huge, bold, figure and you can still hear it in his sound from the recordings. He is New Orleans saxophonist number one and embodies all that goes with that; a trademark sound, innovation, critical and rebellious personality, excitement no matter what the cost. He was even the saxophonist and clarinet player that Ellington most wanted for his own orchestra but he was turned down, allegedly because Bechet felt he could do it just fine himself and, listening to Bechet's recording of The Mooche would not lead one to disagree. Bechet's refusal is how Ellington came to hire Johnny Hodges and, luckily, that refusal, in hindsight, wasn't harmful. In fact, it was a classic case of serendipity for Ellington and for