Near the end of the Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival, I left one session featuring a medium-sized band, preferring to be in a corner in the lobby of the “Cotton Club” bar.
What awaited me there was a half-hour set of duets between clarinet goddess Aurelie Tropez (of the Red Hot Reedwarmers) and soft-spoken stride monarch Paul Asaro. Their brand of chamber jazz was more than rewarding — but what amused me was the streams of people, leaving the “Cotton Club,” who paraded along while the music was playing, oblvious to the music or perhaps sated by what they had just heard.
I wanted to call this post WALK ON BY or WALK THIS WAY, but decided that an excess of whimsy might be . . . excessive. So the first two performances here are punctuated by headless torsos ambling across the screen. Viewers who are easily distracted by such things might choose to turn away from the monitor — but don’t be swayed, because the soundtrack is too good to pass by.
They began with a slow-medium reading of SHOE SHINE BOY, much closer to Louis than to Jones-Smith, Inc.:
To change the mood, Aurelie suggested THEM THERE EYES:
A nearly ominous BLUES MY NAUGHTY SWEETIE GAVE (or GIVES?) TO ME, a la Jimmie Noone:
HONEYSUCKLE ROSE, for Tom Waller:
And, finally, SHINE (or (S-H-I-N-E), depending. They stomp it off, don’t they?
Two players having a good time, listening to one another, with nary a cliche in sight. Paul made that slightly recalcitrant piano sing, and Aurelie is long overdue for her own CD. What tonation and phrasing!
P.S. This post is for Bridget Calzaretta, Martin Seck, Stompy Jones, and Boris, of course . . .