In a stuffy convention hall in central Illinois, the members of The Dixieland Dynamos perform their shtick to a polite audience sitting in a residual pool of one-dab-too-much cologne. Every surface in the room has a thinly smeared layer of ointment upon it, and each contributing exhale of decades-old air forms a musty cloud that circulates and grows like a rubber-band ball, in both space and time. The sound of Dixieland music echoes down the carpeted hallway, a shaky trumpet, a mellow clarinet, and a bitterly jolly trombone, and any of the dozens of Septuagenerians there will tell you that it is a swingin' hot sound.
It is difficult to imagine the era when this "old-timey" jazz was the "bee's knees" of its time, when it was the modern sound of music without evoking an antiquated image or some kind of novelty nostalgia. But the unusual thing about music is that it reverses the aging process; the adolescent relates to the current musical trends while the maturing adult seems to slip backwards in time with their evolving musical tastes. A recording may be a frozen moment in time, but that youthful vigor is preserved within the music and it ripens with age.
It can be argued that traditional jazz fails in comparison with the complexities of modern jazz. Perhaps today's musicians are discovering ways to mirror and broadcast multiple streams of mobile media while the old guys are still trying to program a VCR. But at the end of the day, or century, we still press the Play button. The melodies of traditional jazz may be simple and sweet, but it is that swingin' hot rhythm of a tight jazz band that is still too complex of a feeling to replicate, even with modern technology.
Although now they probably do have some kind pill for that.
SPECIAL THANKS to pagetostagechicago for the comments!
Here is a YouTube video of Kid Ory with Louis Armstrong for some kind of Disney production. Golly.
Recommended reading: Creole Trombone: Kid Ory and the Early Years of Jazz by John McCusker. Published by University Press of Mississippi.