As I’ve written, I have a real need to capture the jazz performances I attend — they are precious to me. My most recent techno-acquisition was enabled by my close friend Amy King (a brilliant poet and philosopher): it’s a Flip video camera, which I took to Birdland, that jazz club in midtown Manhattan — 44th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues — on Wednesday, October 8.
There, for many Wednesdays, tubaist David Ostwald has led the Gully Low Jazz Band (a/k/a Louis Armstrong Centennial Band) — a sextet devoted to the music of Louis Armstrong, always a good thing. This version of the band boasted (from the back) the explosive percussion of Kevin Dorn, the only man I know who keeps Herman Hesse, both Lon Chaneys, and Cliff Leeman in exquisite balance; pianist Ehud Asherie, who knows all there is to know about Bud Powell but has become a spiritual devotee of Francois Rilhac, Teddy Wilson, and Donald Lambert; clarinetist Anat Cohen, enthusiastically swinging; Jim Fryer, gutty and sweet on trombone and a wonderfully heartfelt singer; Jon-Erik Kellso, driving and profound, with mute in or naked to the world.
Dan Morgenstern, George Avakian, and photographer Lorna Sass were in the audience — if you needed any more evidence that this was a first-class gig! Here’s the GLJB doing “Lover, Come Back To Me”:
and a steadily persuasive “Everybody Loves My Baby”:
and here Jim Fryer sings “Dream A Little Dream Of Me,” a song that goes back to 1931 — from the heart:
Jim comes back for one of Fats Waller’s most tender creations, “I’ve Got A Feelin’ I’m Falling:
Finally, a closing blowout on “Swing That Music”!
Charlie Parker told Earl Wilson that music speaks louder than words: how true that was last Wednesday, when these musicians showed off their rare eloquence.