VINTAGE AMERICAN JAZZ

Vintage American Jazz is a catch-all term that consists of  a range of styles of jazz that come from prior to World War II. The earliest jazz came from New Orleans around the turn of the 20th Century. This gradually morphed into the "hot jazz" style played by the dance orchestras (early big bands) and combos of the 1920s. This is the music that people associate with prohibition, speakeasies, gangsters, the Jazz Age, and the Great Gatsby. 

Through the course of the early to mid 1930s, "hot jazz" began to "smooth out" into Swing music. From the mid 1930s through the mid 1940s Swing was king; the big bands and their leaders became stars of the airwaves and the silver screen during the Swing Era. After WW2, Swing morphed into Bop, Rhythm and Blues, Rock and Roll, and more commercial styles of "pop" jazz. 

 

Today, universities and conservatories focus on training students in contemporary jazz styles, typically omitting (and sometimes even shunning) music from prior to WW2 as a part of their curricula. Because commercial demand for early jazz groups is on the rise and academia is not teaching musicians to perform it, the result has been a scene flooded with many groups marketing themselves as "hot jazz" and "swing" groups that play music bearing little resemblance to the authentic article.

It's my goal for the GCO to serve as an example to young musicians and to the world of the artistry of early jazz. I hope to inspire people to see vintage jazz as a viable art form, to eventually develop educational programs around the band for both listeners and young musicians. As early jazz is by its nature tied up with dance, it's also part of my goal to help raise the level of understanding for and appreciation of jazz amongst social and competitive dancers.

If you'd like to learn more about jazz history and about "how to listen to jazz" while helping to support the GCO's mission to serve as a beacon of excellence, please subscribe to the band's Patreon page where I provide original and curated educational content about jazz history and appreciation every month.