Editor, Webmaster: Phil Cartwright Editor@earlyjas.org
The Next Generation
|Earlville Association for Ragtime Lovers Yearning
for Jazz Advancement and Socialization
is that there are not enough young musicians coming along to fill the ranks of the
dwindling number of old geezer jazz musicians (like me!). The EARLYJAS club here
in NE Ohio has not been particularly successful in recruiting and supporting budding
traditional jazz musicians in spite of the availability of a club sponsored scholarship
program. There are some efforts to encourage young jazz musicians (and young fans)
especially in parts of California, the Washington DC area, and in New Orleans. The
last issue of the EARLYJAS Rag had a nice article pointing to the resurgence of swing
dancing and its attractiveness to younger musicians and fans. There is also some
overlap with the folk music world.
Don Daley is an example of a young man who has interests in several genres of music:
classical, folk and traditional jazz. A versatile multi-instrumentalist, Don is a 2012
graduate of Hiram College, where he received a B.A. in music. While at Hiram, he
studied viola, piano and voice, and performed with a number of ensembles, including
the Chamber Singers and the Early Music Ensemble. He is also the 2012 recipient of
the John M. Watson Senior Prize in Music, one of the highest awards at Hiram. In
addition to being a violist, he plays violin, banjo (in both folk and jazz contexts), guitar
and mandolin. He is also an excellent singer.
For the last year or so, Don has been a regular at the Barking Spider, first as a fan and
then sitting in on the banjo with the Hot Jazz 7. (He has a side line as a videographer
and has posted many Hot Jazz 7 videos on YouTube. Also, check out some of Don’s
early video at http://www.youtube.com/user/Fozzymaple).
He is a good reader and knows a lot about the history of jazz, old timey folk and
classical music. He lists some of his jazz influences as Louis Armstrong (of course),
Johnny St. Cyr (Louie’s banjo player with his Hot 5 and Hot 7),and the Preservation
Hall Jazz Band (PHJB). (Coincidentally, in the “small world” category, Don is a fan of
Eddy Davis, Woody Allen’s banjo player and music director. Eddy and I were
contemporaries back in Chicago in the early 1960’s, both of us holding the fort for the
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band looms large as an influence for Don. I’ve been to
Preservation Hall in New Orleans many times but never was I asked to play there.
Don has actually played in Preservation Hall!! Through a series of coincidences
involving that wonderful music program in Interlochen, Don’s high school band
director, Dave Kay, started a Dixieland band and Don was the banjo player. Dave had
taught Ben Jaffe, tuba player and manager of the PHJB. The high school Dixie band
was invited to New Orleans where they performed on Bourbon Street and at
Preservation hall. They also performed on the steamboat Natchez. Don was
influenced by hearing “ . . . Bourbon Street Parade on at least three or four street
corners, like it was following us or something”.
Don’s parents provided the motivation for him to start piano and violin lessons on a
serious basis when he was 11 years old. Don says: “I started playing classical music
because that's really what they teach in schools, and certainly there are very few
school age kids playing jazz banjo, let alone even know about jazz banjo.” His
introduction to jazz was at age 11 when his parents got him a "Best Of" CD of Louis
Armstrong with tracks such “Hello Dolly”, “Mame”, a few cuts with Ella and of
course “What a Wonderful World”.
His singing really took off when he was in college. According to Don, “Since
finding out that I could sing and sing well, I sang in almost every choir that would
have me. I even would have sung falsetto and worn a dress and sung in the Women's
choir if the director would have had me in that choir!”
At the moment, Don is free lancing (interpretation: looking for a job). I feel
confident that Don will be successful in his music career and hope that he keeps at
least one foot in the traditional jazz camp.