I find myself drawn back to this clip (and this performance) from Jazz at Chautauqua over and over.
“But it’s only BUGLE CALL RAG,” I hear the skeptics saying.
“Yes, but watch!” I imagine myself retorting. “Observe the carefully offhanded way that Duke Heitger shapes the performance, assigning breaks and solos, monitoring the ensemble diminuendos and crescendos in true Chicagoan style — you need to get soft so that you can get loud! This reminds me so of the closing IMPROMPTU ENSEMBLES of 1944-5 Condon concert broadcasts. Bob Havens, unfazed by anything, strolling along exuberantly at this hot tempo. Bob Reitmeier, pretending to float along in mid-air while the rhythm section boils below him, a delicious contrast between his cool restraint (and harmonic explorations) and the plunging beat around him. James Dapogny, King of the Ticklers, striding with force and accuracy — not only in his solos but also as the essential connective of that rhythm section; Marty Grosz strumming for all he’s worth and then laying out during Dapogny’s solo to observe without intruding. Vince Giordano making the most out of the chords on his trusty aluminum string bass. And Arnie Kinsella, the prophet of Glorious Noise, deciding that his sole purpose at that moment was to hit his cowbell as vigorously as he could until he decided to move to another part of the set.”
That’s what I say to myself. Now savor the jubilation for yourselves!