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January 24, 2012 > And all that Dixieland Jazz

And all that Dixieland Jazz

Jazz... mention the word and strong musical images and personalities emerge from the heart and soul of New Orleans. The unique sound took shape at the turn of the twentieth century with compositions by Jelly Roll Morton that were born in the South, traveled to Chicago and enveloped the world. Jazz is powerful music evoking the experience of disenfranchised Black and Creole musicians around 1900, carrying a distinctive beat synonymous with a particular lifestyle and outlook. Musicians were able to capture complex rhythms that materialized from what initially appeared chaotic yet emerged in disciplined and innovative improvisation. It took musical genius to create unity from such diversity.

Removed from traditional music that continuously repeated a standard beat, Jazz broke the mold, separate from classical music, replacing marches, supplanting ragtime. Heard throughout New Orleans, it flourished in the sin city confines of the "Storyville" red light district then rapidly expanded its geographical footprint to engage a worldwide audience, hungry for something new.

Jazz great, Duke Ellington, commented, "Jazz is a good barometer of freedom. America spawned certain ideals of freedom and independence through which jazz evolved. The music is so free that many people say it is the only unhampered, unhindered expression of freedom yet produced..." Jazz was an unstoppable force that monopolized a large portion of the American musical landscape. A multitude of musicians became superstar representatives of the genre: Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, George Shearing, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, "Dizzy" Gillespie, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton and Count Basie to name just a few. The strength and style of Jazz continues to play an important role in music today, over 100 years later.

The East Bay Traditional Jazz Society, dedicated to keeping the sounds and interest in Jazz alive, will present a Youth Dixieland Jazz Fest Saturday, January 28 at NewPark Mall in Newark. During the scheduled entertainment, four groups - Dixie Dominus (Fremont Christian HS); Jazz Raptors (Roseville); Green Tie Jazz Band (Ohlone); Jazzinators Jazz Band (East Bay Traditional Jazz Society) - will appear to fill the area with sounds that transcend a century of generations and are guaranteed to brighten even the gloomiest mood.

Each band brings their own distinctive interpretation of Jazz, but all are imbued with devotion to the genre. Don't miss this opportunity to hear the sounds of legendary jazz greats and new interpretations that carry these traditions forward to the future:

*Formed in 2007 under the direction Thomas Banuelos, Dixie Dominus performs an eclectic mix ranging from traditional standards to video game themes. (12 noon - 1 p.m.)

*Jazz Raptors draw from Creekview Ranch Middle School in Roseville and are a crowd favorite, appearing for the fourth time in this festival. (1 p.m. - 2 p.m.)

*A local extension for young jazz musicians, the Green Tie Jazz Band was founded in 2010 in Fremont and remains true to the standards of Jazz - Armstrong, Teagarden, Kid Ory, Murphy, Beiderbecke and their contemporaries. (2 p.m. - 3 p.m.)

*East Bay Jazzinators directed by John Soulis draw youth from a plethora of schools in the Tri-City area. They perform often in the area at a variety of events. Donations go directly to a scholarship fund that supports participation in summer jazz camps. (3 p.m. - 4 p.m.)

Youth Dixieland Jazz Fest
Saturday, Jan 28
12 Noon - 4 p.m.
NewPark Mall (Center Court)
(510) 657-0243

Want to know more about Jazz? A couple of Jazz reference websites to visit:

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