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.

4 responses to “GO WEST! GET HOT!

  1. Pingback: GO WEST! GET HOT!

  2. Hi Michael,
    I work at The Compound Grill, we’re a new restaurant and music venue in Northeast Phoenix. I’d love to invite you out to one of our upcoming Jazz shows if you have time! Please shoot me over an email when you have a moment. Thank you!

  3. John McGhee

    I retired 3 years ago and moved here from LA . I took last year off to have cancer but am now curred and want to play.

    I am a drummer and perhaps you could point me in the right direction as to where I could sit in and show my worth.

  4. Glad you’re cured, John — as far as suggestions, I am a native New Yorker and don’t entirely know the AZ jazz scene. But it strikes me that an email to the AZ Classic Jazz people would not go amiss: someone there might be able to tell you about a club scene. Or (perhaps a shot in the dark) Google “Arizona” and “jazz,” and “swing,” and see what comes up. Hope it works! Cheers, Michael Steinman

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