Here are three wonderful performances recorded on June 6, 2010, by Tom Warner at the Blind Boone Ragtime and Early Jazz Festival, held in Columbia, Missouri. The players are the brilliant guitarist Craig Ventresco (hear his notes ring!) supported and encouraged by guitarist Johnnie Harper and bassist Svein Aarbostad.
They begin with a song I first took seriously when I heard Mildred Bailey sing it (backed by Roy Eldridge, Teddy Wilson, and a small band that drew on the voicings and subtlety of the Alec Wilder Octet) — I’M NOBODY’S BABY:
Craig’s dark blues with an even darker title: BLACK MOULD BLUES:
To close the set, this inspiring trio offered an early and somewhat obscure Jelly Roll Morton compositon, BIG FAT HAM:
These performances reminded me of what Jelly Roll said was essential to jazz: it should be “sweet, soft, plenty rhythm.”