Aha… A new movie version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quintessential Jazz Age novel The Great Gatsby just released. After 6 previous tries, another chance to get it right: the kaleidoscope frenzy of the Roaring Twenties and the desperate modernity of the post-Great War world, a world careening about trying to somehow find its balance.
For those with money life was beautiful clothes, furs, jewelry, parties, alcohol, drugs, automobiles, ocean liners and travel. Excess ruled and and jazz was its soundtrack.
What? This new Gatsby has traded jazz for hip-hop? The Jazz Age without jazz?
That absurd idea ranks right alongside the one that made movieland’s latest James Bond drive anything other than an Aston Martin.
Of course we confess we love early jazz and play it often at PlainClothes—Sidney Bechet, Bennie Moten, Paul Whiteman, Bix Beiderbecke, the Gershwins, the Dorsey brothers, Fats Waller, to name only a few. Listening to them turns back the clock : we hear the pulse of the time and tap into the incredible energy of that era. This music puts us right into Gatsby’s world.
Let’s hope the director of the next movie remake gets the music right at least.
If, like us, you want to turn back the clock occasionally and imagine yourself rubbing elbows with gangsters and drinking gin out of a teacup in a speakeasy or, elegantly dressed and bejeweled, dancing at a Gatsbyesque party,tune in to Rich Conaty’s “The Big Broadcast” streamed from WFUV at Fordham University every Sunday night. It’s been around for 40 years now and will certainly fill some holes in your musical education. "You may hear anything from “Rhapsody in Blue” to "Star Dust" to “Was I drunk, Was he handsome, and did Mama give me Hell”.
It now being the 21st Century, of course this show “for the old and the old at heart” has aFacebook page, too. Ain’t we got fun?