For the love of jazz

claudia-polzinby Claudia Polzin
Consultant to Nonprofits

Off-Season – August, September and October – and for some of this time our main focus is unfortunately consumed with possible hurricanes. But since there is nothing we can do to control this fact of life in SW Florida – let’s focus on what we can control – finding hidden jazz gems around our town.

By now you probably know about the Summer Jazz on the Lawn at Naples Beach Hotel – an off-season tradition – casual, named groups, sunset and lots of friends. The last two concerts of the season are: August 20 featuring Betty Fox and September 24 featuring Late Night Brass. Fox has an extensive background in gospel and a lifelong passion for soul music. In 2015 she was the featured representative of the Suncoast Blues Society.

Late Night Brass celebrated their tenth anniversary in 2015; and features 10 high-energy brass musicians. Most of the members are music educators, holding advanced degrees in music fields. But the organization is most proud of the fact that many of their members served in the US military. They have been the opening act for such groups as: Chicago; Earth, Wind & Fire; Huey Lewis and the News; Billy Joel and Elton John. Don’t miss this truly wonderful Naples adventure.

If an indoor experience is more to your liking – you can enjoy Naples Jazz Masters performing every Saturday at the Norris Center through September from 1-3 p.m. – the ticket price is a donation of your choosing. But I am sure once you hear the music you will know that you want to support this wonderful group. On October 30 this group will return to Cambier Park in the bandshell at 2 p.m.

Some places you might not think of for jazz – two Sunday brunch and jazz options: The Wine Loft in Mercato and M Waterfront Grille in Venetian Village. Evening jazz every Wednesday through Saturday – Bay House in North Naples.

Now that you know where you can find jazz in Naples – how about a little Jazz 101. The beginning of the 20th Century saw the beginning of Dixieland music in New Orleans. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band recordings in 1917 fostered an awareness of
this new style of music. At this time Dixieland referred to the band and not the music. The essential elements were the  traditional front lines of trumpets, trombones, clarinets and ensemble improvisation over a two-beat rhythm.

The revival during the 1940’s and 50’s established traditional jazz as an enduring part of the American cultural landscape. Jazz
standards – Basin Street Blues and When the Saints Go Marchin’ In are known to non-jazz fans as well as traditional jazz enthusiasts thanks to the popularity of traditional jazz. The true Dixieland sound is created when one instrument (usually the trumpet) plays the melody or a variation of it, and the other instruments improvise around that melody. This is a very different sound than the heavily arranged big band sound of the 1930’s or the straight melodies of bebop in the 1940’s.

As with other styles of music Dixieland has evolved; and while it is still used and applied to bands playing in a traditional style. But the Chicago Style is more of a swing-style 4-to-the-bar manner. It is also faster paced, resembling the pace of the city. Chicago style bands play a wide variety of tunes including selections from the 1930’s Great American Songbook.

West Coast revival began in the late 1930’s and was a direct backlash to the Chicago Style which some considered more “swing”
than jazz; and West Coast returned to the 2-to-the-bar rhythmic style. The third style is Dutch ‘Old-style jazz’. This style brought saxophones, sousaphones and a section of marching percussion usually including a washboard.

So enjoy jazz all around town and start your own personal study of jazz – finding ways to enjoy the early months of Fall – find jazz.

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