Sunday after church in Maine, my Dad would crank up the big band sound.
On the stereo in the front room with the Sunday weekend paper or while reading a classic. He played the clarinet in a band with Rod Palmer who was the leader in a lot of local musical groups. Folks danced, enjoyed music and the World War Two era band sound really hit me during the Maine State Jazz Festival in Houlton Maine recently.
Check out the trombone player in the video linked above.
When you see, hear, feel the music being made it is a neat experience. His face contorts, expressions pour out. His body moves to the groove, locks on the beat. His feet can not stay planted on the floor. One leg lifts, flares sideways as he works the slide. Leans, bobs, weaves and tilts to find just the right note. Blast off. He has left the room. The judges notice his spark, his talent.
Maine State Jazz Festival Finals Video, Houlton ME
Not just playing any old note but finding a certain sound.
The Maine school jazz players in their tight knit groups are not just dead pan creating the notes. No no… all having over the top fun making the music. That kind of musical entertainment is memorable, lasts and you want more. And it is not one way, because the audience responds. Feeds, coaxes, teases the players just as much as the other way around. They need each other. Go together like peas in a pod. Just like momma always said. Along with other wisdom, something to do with a box of chocolates.
Music or anything made in life with passion, it is what practice does and sheer love for music can create for others to enjoy.
These 1940’s songs in particular hit me during the recent state musical competition. Because had heard the tunes before. A lot. Just not recently. But bang. Saturated, infested in a good infectious way inside the four walls all comes back. The entire household affected with it growing up on a Maine farm. So this week have dialed in on XM the big band sound. Have a renewed interest in that genre for now. All due to working the jazz festival with a slew of other music boosters last weekend.
Television took its strangle hold. And move over. The couch and clicker became more popular than dance music. The time spent cutting the rug on the dance floor with live music and the big band sound and your favorite gal not the norm any more. There was always a dance some where close to hit. And as a kid remember the parents, grown ups and family that got together every Sunday afternoon talking. Me listening as a little grasshopper when they took turns on who’s house to visit this weekend.
Family arriving with car loads of laughing, animated kids with imaginations. And sometimes the parents if you could get close enough to eavesdrop with tales, pretty wild stories about dances. Ones up country, over the border into Canada. Out to Nickerson Lake.
There was always a dance some place if you could drop everything and say sure, let’s go when the call from your friends came in on the party line.
People danced to live music. Boy is it fun. And good exercise inside and out. The songs keep playing. In the shower you do your version humming, singing and hey no one’s looking right? A little dancing. Because you can not help it. When the intensity of the songs that get turned up high, loud enough. To cause the sway, movement, stir. Can’t help it. Why would you want to try to contain it? It opens up all the windows and doors inside. You let go. The sun shines brightly, goes in the eyes and ears. Then radiates outward like true joy.
Nickerson Lake had a pavilion. A big resort building called Crescent Park with a bowling alley, concessions, and dances. A fun spot where some folks leaped from the second floor into the lake because I guess the music just got too hot. To cool off from all that tuneage and dancing. Laughing, enjoying the music that was made from scratch from local musicians. Not “B 7” clicked on the Wurlitzer or Seaberg juke box. And stacks of wax. Playing what you’re saying for golden oldies.
Music was everywhere.
Someone in your group knew how to play at least one instrument according to my parents. Just a given. There were also cottages, camps for vacation week rentals around the Pavilion at Crescent Park in New Limerick Maine. The building a place now just in memories but long gone, torn down that was on the gravelly north shore of Nickerson Lake. Wonder where there is a dance tonight with live music?
Maine, big state, less people, more natural and simple.