It might be a New Yorker’s prejudice, but I don’t associate hot jazz with Arizona. In this, however, as in so many things, the evidence proves me wrong.
Our Hot benefactress, SFRaeAnn, took her video camera to the Arizona Classic Jazz Festival in Chandler, Arizona. Here are three performances she captured on November 6. The first is a set-closer by a Condonite band (with Ed Polcer up front and Kevin Dorn at the back, how could it be otherwise?) — Hoagy Carmichael’s RIVERBOAT SHUFFLE — with friendly assistance from Tom Fischer, clarinet; Doug Finke, trombone; Jeff Barnhart, piano; Jerry Krahn, guitar; Richard Simon, bass. Listen closely to Kevin Dorn’s shifting accompanying, his use of the bass drum, his varied, pushing cymbal work.
Then, RaeAnn caught two performances by the Yerba Buena Stompers: Leon Oakley and Duke Heitger, trumpet; Tom Bartlett, trombone; Orange Kellin, clarinet; Marty Eggers, piano; John Gill, banjo / vocal; Clint Baker, tuba; Hal Smith, drums.
On 1919 RAG — even with sheets of music flying around — the YBS get very close to what I imagine the Oliver band must have sounded like at the Lincoln Gardens: a group of ferocious individualists coming together to rock the room. The two trumpets, the trombone-clarinet passages — jazz hymns.
What could follow that? How about an easy, medium-tempo version of I’M A DING DONG DADDY with Duke Heitger giving us his own heroic version of Louis, and John Gill remembering the tongue-twisting lyrics, hilariously expert — four choruses of them!
I’ve revised my overall impressions of Arizona for the better, you’ll be happy to know.