Had I been born in a different era, I would have probably spent my evenings sitting in the corner of a small jazz club, dressed in black, lighting up cigarettes and sipping on some scotch while letting the sounds of Duke, Miles or Coltrane take me away. These days it’s hard enough to find a good jazz club, let alone smoke in a venue.
Jazz music is America’s indigenous art form. It was born in America. It’s even an American National Treasure. But it doesn’t get the type of hype or attention from the kids today unless a loop is sampled into some hip-hop beat and made famous by some rapper who can’t pull up his own pants. There are some “new” artists these days who are trying to infuse jazz back into music like Robert Glasper and Jose James, whose music I love, but jazz in modern pop seems to be limited to the R&B and Rap genres.
A buddy of mine, Jason Schimmel, plays in the band Orange Tulip Conspiracy. I saw the band first play September 21, 2012 at Mr T’s Bowl and I was excited to hear them play again at El Cid. The band consists of 6 talented musicians, and each has learned to play complex arrangements as a cohesive unit. It’s particularly satisfying, at least for me, when bandmates (especially the horns) play in tune with each other at break-neck rhythms. As a personal opinion, I felt that their playing this time around was much tighter than the first time I saw them… which is saying something since I thought they kicked ass the first time too. lol.
Their Facebook page describes them as a “band that bends the genres of balkan, jazz, surf rock, and progressive rock with a cinematic twist and an experimental edge.” I think that that’s a good description. Not your R&B and Hip-Hop kind of jazz. Jazz more suited for Ska and Rock.
As I stood there amongst the crowd at El Cid, with the sounds of the horns bouncing off the red brick walls, I let myself get lost in the music. I imagined for a moment what it must have been like when jazz was the highest musical art form, when jazz was truly America’s treasure. I let the Jason’s guitars riffs speak to me, as the horns continued to dance around the composition. As the set continued, the audience became more involved with the music, swaying back and forth and dancing to the rhythm. You could feel the temperature of the room elevate throughout the set. It was intense and complex, like the glass scotch of scotch in my hand. Now if only I were allowed to smoke a cigarette …