Thursday, December 04, 2008

If You Play It, They Will Dance

One of my combos at the school had a performance today. This in itself was not unusual, as we do such a thing during the week before exams pretty much every semester. But what was unusual was the amount of dancing that took place during our performance.

It wasn't just an isolated thing, either: There was the guy and girl who walked past us several times, stopping to dance for just a moment each time they were nearby. There was also the lady in the craft sale who was really getting into it, and I saw at least one more outbreak of dancing from someone in the back. (I'm surprised that the two little kids didn't start anything up while we were playing; if I recall, at various times in their young lives, all three of my nephews have been good for a little of that.)

And this wasn't a dance gig, either. It was simply a performance in the Atrium area of campus for anyone who wanted to hear, and the dancing was a bonus. Jazz started out as dance music, of course, but bebop, for all the good it did, steered the music on a different path. Some of the most successful modern jazz has reintroduced the element of groove, and I think it's helped get us some audience back.

Whenever I send an email from my home address, there's a quote in the signature box at the bottom: "Jazz will endure as long as people hear it through their feet instead of their brains." The source? John Philip Sousa, of all people. And the March King had it right: While jazz may have been relegated to the concert halls of late, there's still something there that might nudge someone towards the dance floor (even if they have to create said floor from an ordinary area). While it might have been odd for everyone in attendance had done it, I'm glad that we prompted a few people to do so.

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