Carly Rose Sonenclar, 13yr old X-factor contestant singing  Nina Simone “feeling good”, Bianca Ryan 11yrs old singing Jennifer Holiday “and i am telling you”, 13 yr old Gadi LeHavi playing “round midnight” and his jazz trio playing at the Blue Note in New York.  South African Guitarist Mark Williams was 9 yrs old when he discovered jazz and looked to icons like Pat Metheny and George Benson as inspiration.  A fellow S African jazz counterpart  Robin Fassie Kock, was inspired when his high school teacher played Freddie Hubbard.  The rest is history, you guys should hear the beautiful flugal horn sound of this young man, astounding!

17yr old drummer Senri Kawaguchi, destroying drum sets, twirling sticks in the air and rippin it up playing jazz fusion, straight ahead, bebop and rock n roll.  Insane precision, insane technique, insane endurance, insane technical skills, being haled as the best female drummer in the world!  Let’s just make that….1 of the best drummers in the world, PERIOD!   Remember folks, we are not talking about a 30 year performer. Senri is literally a kid here, probably barely able to vote, drive or buy a beer.  Move over Simon Philips and Steve Gadd.  She gets my vote!

There is no way I can think of Senri and not think of her Japanese counter part, little 11 year old Kanade Soto who has been performing since she was 5 or 6.  She is being haled as the best female drummer in the world for her age.  My God, the kids were born jazz masters!  I literally have no words to describe the tenacity, endurance, mental concentration with flawless technique and precision that these 2 children portray behind a set of drums. You all are going to have to discover it for yourselves. Hopefully this story is just a catalyst to discovery.

Canadian Nikki Yanofsky, a 4 octave voice, in the public eye of masters like Quincy Jones since the age of 15 and @19yrs old has already performed at some of the most prestigious events and venues in the world, including Montreaux Jazz Festival.  Hats off to Quincy Jones for taking this young lady under his wing!   Spain checks in with Andrea Motis, on stage since 15 now 18yrs old is playing New Orleans jazz, singing the blues, blowing trumpet and singing like Louie Armstrong.  If that isn’t enough she then steps to the mic with a cool coppa cabana Brazilian bossa nova beat and starts crooning some Antonio Carlos Jobim, in Portuguese of course!

You gotta be “KIDDING” me, ( no pun intended).  I can barely believe what I am seeing and hearing “Out of the mouth of babes” says the almighty God!  I will use the young innocent children to dumbfound the so called wise!  By press standards, you would think not a kid anywhere in the country between the ages of say 14 and 18, nor young adult from 18 to 29 likes jazz.

It’s as though God has put the country on notice, enjoy all forms of great music, Yes!  But don’t forget where you came from America, don’t forsake one of the greatest American gifts to the world  and embrace every other genre of music with the full force of radio, television & Madison Avenue.  Neglect jazz, then jump on the awe bandwagon when someone like Esperanza Spalding wins a Grammy for best  new artist as a jazz musician.

We take music programs out of many schools when it’s a proven fact that playing a musical instrument elevates scores in math and science, then sign all sorts of bills and launch government programs to try and figure out why American kids lag behind the rest of the world in math.  What do you guys think, jazz is some kind of foreign language that you need Rosetta stone to decipher?  America is Jazz!  It’s the music of the nation that wove together every social fiber of the country, the backwoods bumpkin and upper crust highbrow, every struggle, injustice, every nationality, every innovation, every life and every freedom that gave America it’s identity.

Now just a few more for the road.  I hope this story hits many like a nice stiff journalistic drink before happy hour to hopefully wake people up to the fact that ……….not  “Only Old People” listen to jazz.  If the winds of change don’t blow a little bit harder in favor of the jazz music industry, then once all of the quote, “Old People” are dead, who will be listening to jazz?

Let’s close it out stateside with 2 incredible new groups that you have never heard of but you should and you will if you keep tuned in to Mojito Jazz Radio with host LT.  I need every one reading this story to just go and get your “Snarky Puppy” on now! …….Can somebody please tell me why Java International Jazz Festival would fly  “SNARKY PUPPY”  all the way from the heartland of America, Denton, Texas to Indonesia and yet nobody stateside even knows who they are!

Why aren’t they playing Newport or any of the other huge festivals stateside?  Now of course, after they do Java, out come the band wagoners but why were they not recognized in their own home town first!

Now lets go to the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans and “wind it up, like michael buck”!  I know that does sound like something the “iceman” LT would say, but its actually the name of a tune by a smoking hot Brass Band of young kids from New Orleans that won a special Red Bull contest.  They were then invited to the Red Bull Studio in LA to be recorded and mentored by industry professionals.

They deserve it too for bringing the heart of New Orleans back into the music psyche of jazz lovers with their New Orleans Brass Band.  Trombone, trumpet, sax and tuba blowing it up then dipping low reminiscent of how the brass funeral processions marched through the streets of Storyville!   “Stooges Brass Band”  is the full embodiment of New Orleans jazz yet it’s new, fused with hip hop, soul and R&B.  Taken from the lyrics of the song, “iceman” LT and Mojito Jazz……say, America………”we bout to  show you how to do it, we about to show you how to do it, if you don’t know, you gone learn today”.

Just to keep things fair let me say this, of course there are venues supporting new artist and jazz greats supporting new artist and a few stations supporting new artist.  However we need a lot more jazz artist in the mainstream, a lot more venues and a lot more of the people on top waving the banner for the industry that put them on the top.   American jazz is equal to if not above all genre of American music since most are sub genre of musical elements birthed from jazz.

To the mainstream I would like to pass along this note.  Are you going to sit back and allow the greatest music art form in the world to be relegated to the shadows as if we need to be ashamed of jazz like it’s some second rate form of music?  People all over the world are playing, listening to and celebrating American jazz and it’s artist and you sit back trying to protect the status quo when you should be helping to fuel the explosion of jazz and the youth that are now discovering it.

Now, go out and “wind it up, like michael buck” !  The children all over the world are saving American Jazz!!  But don’t forget……..ONLY OLD PEOPLE LISTEN TO JAZZ!

“iceman” LT