There is a niche for everyone. Everyone. You.Me.Grandma. The creepy guy with the handle bar facial hair, and even the clean-cut multi-millionaire who washes his hand 45 times a day and reads smut books on the subway for attention. Everyone.
I would argue that the essence of music is its niche. This is what makes it so powerful and demanding and emotional resonant. If every artist crafted pop hooks like Lady Gaga and Madonna, the music medium would be as soulless as an hour of MTV.
This rant is over. Enter ‘Glenn Crytzer and his Syncopators.’ There name does not roll off the tongue all that well. To be frank, it’s a mouthful, and perhaps intentionally so. Because if you can’t wade through their naming convention, you ain’t ready for their niche of music paradise just primed to be appreciated and enjoyed.
This segues into dancing. Not that teetering punk/rock mosh dancing, nor that bobbing up and down pseudo-sexual club dancing. This is dancing TO the music and not WITH the music.
The group’s latest album is ‘Skinny Minne: Live from Midwest Lindy Fest.’ It’s a live album consisting of a few covers from classic swing artists and plenty of originals. Artists include Count Basie, Sidney Bechet., Illinois Jacquet, and Duke Ellington. The band roster includes a collection of six men (and guests), most of them in their 30’s. This isn’t some “old man” niche of individuals hanging dearly onto a sound of yesteryear. This a dedicated crowd, with a dedicated following, who have found the very niche which works. They have clearly found an extensive audience who adore the sounds of the Prohibition eraAmerica-all the way to the prime of the swing era.
The theme here is instantly recognizable for anyone with even a slight knowledge of classic swing and jazz. The theme is authenticity. The songs on the album were recorded recently, yet the aura and atmosphere is straight out of the 40’s. The recording itself sustains that sizzling/scratchy classic sound, and the originals seem lifted right out of the era. Instrumentally, the group’s originals are extremely similar to the covers. Whether this is considered any sort of plagiarism is sort of beside the point, as the group does the sound with such authenticity and respect for the era, no one can fault them for sounding “too” jazz and classic. It’s a guileless argument.
I won’t say that ‘Glenn Crytzer and his Syncopators’ are the only ones in this vivid colorful niche. Yet, they do so with such professionalism, and such respect for the era, it is quite admirable listening to these songs and knowing they were recorded recently, when hip-hop is stealing the mainstream show and people make entire rock albums on the computer.
The group is pure lindy hop dance, pure fun, and pure vintage. But there is none of that shameless nostalgia attached. Every orifice of every instrument and vocal performance exudes a sense of respect- never longing.
Ryan Merkel is a cool writer guy and contributor all over the internet, from blogs on music to magazines about music to sites about playing music. He is currently founder of SunState Investing and is head editor of the music entertainment magazine, CultureTease. He has written two novels, and is currently working on a third full-length novel, surprisingly, not about music. His novel “Splatter the Noise” earned accolades for independent publishing. Be sure to check out: www.sunstateinvesting.com
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