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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stadium Jazz!?

I just watched an amazing video on YouTube -- it features the Count Basie Orchestra, taken from a concert at Randall's Island in 1938. The film footage is silent but a soundtrack has been added featuring the Basie orchestra from that period.

The footage itself is amazing, you can see Lester Young playing a solo wearing sunglasses, the band obviously really swinging, and the audience literally dancing in the aisles! When you watch this film you realize what a popular dance music jazz was at that time. And what an affect the music had on the young audience - people are cheering, dancing on the steps, in the aisles, on the seats etc. in fact you could transpose this footage into the present day and see similar reactions from young audiences at stadium rock concerts. There's a kind of collective euphoria formed from a combination of the music and the energy created by large numbers of people reacting to the same stimulus in an enclosed space. It's something you would never see at a jazz performance now -- the music has changed, the audience has changed, the place of the music in society has radically changed.

Have a look at this amazing footage to see what I mean. You can see it here.

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