Here’s the straight Skinny on traditional jazz

For years, purist fans of traditional New Orleans jazz have worried their favorite music is a dying art form. Oh, sure, something like trad jazz, loud and frenetic with a side helping of street funk, might be played for many more years in tourist trap clubs. But the real thing, the small-group ensembles with syncopated rhythms and collective improvisation around identifiable melodies, the music whose heyday was in the late 1910s through early 1930s, seemed endangered.

After all, what once was a vaunted “new generation” of trad-jazz New Orleans musicians, led by clarinetist Dr. Michael White and trumpeter Gregg Stafford, is now marked by men at or near 70 years old. The two generations behind them feature some fun musicians with lots of brass, but
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