In the spirit of the previous post, where I paradoxically urged my readers to stop reading, to abandon their screens to go hear some live jazz, I have a Real Gig to be enthusiastic about.
That thinking drummer Kevin Dorn will be leading his Traditional Jazz Collective — the title alone should tell you that it is both serious and playful — for a one-hour set at Banjo Jim’s (that’s Avenue C and Ninth Street), 8:30 – 9:30 PM on Monday, November 10. The TJC will include some of the finest players I know: trumpeter Charlie Caranicas, trombonist and soulful singer J. Walter Hawkes, pianist-singer Jesse Gelber, and other friends. We used to be lucky enough to hear versions of this band on Monday nights at the vanished Cajun, so this is a treat.
I’ve written elsewhere about Kevin as a musician (check out his website, http://www.kevindorn.com) but here I want to say a few words about him as a philosopher-artist. Kevin thinks about the music — not breaking it down into tiny theoretical toast-crumbs, but considering what it is to play jazz. It isn’t, for him, a matter of copying a record or a style; it isn’t a matter of making sure you insert your favorite technically-impressive licks in every solo; it isn’t trying to “sound like” anyone but yourself. Music, for Kevin and his pals, is a living thing — it happens under their fingers, as we watch and marvel. They know how to play, but they abandon themselves to the music, and are often happily surprised at where they end up, whether they are stomping through “Limehouse Blues,” “Louisiana,” or breathing new life into “Royal Garden Blues.”
And, as a happy postscript, the Cangelosi Cards — featuring the slow-burning Jake Sanders and Tamar Korn — will follow the TJC. For some of us, the next day (Veterans’ Day) is a holiday, so this is reason to celebrate. “We called it music,” said Eddie Condon, “Guess that’s good enough.” For me, it certainly is.