Destructive influence of the leisure suit
I have a theory that what we wear influences how we perform music. If we dress more formal, we might play “proper” and controlled, while if we go more casual we may play more loosely, venturing outside of traditional boundaries. And there are nuances to this in the cracks and crevices between style headings. Combine that with the maturity continuum and things get more complex. Without a doubt, the leisure suit was one of the more dangerous style trends in musical history. On the body of an adult jazz musician, it often caused the wearer to be over-impressed with his own solo work and to dance in an unnattractive manner. But worn by a teenager in a highschool jazz band, the leisure suit was even more frightening, becoming something like the black Spiderman suit giving the wearer inflated, uncontrollable power and a drive to lay waste to everything in his way. The Vegas tux with over-sized bowtie and ruffled shirt really belongs in the leisure suit category as well. Combined with hairstyles of the 1970s (as in the photo below), these milestones of jive in Jazz history offer a glimpse into one of the most destructive forces ever forced upon subservient sidemen.