Monthly Archives: August 2010

Part Two: ANDY SCHUMM’S BIXOLOGISTS (Whitley Bay, July 9, 2010)

Here’s the conclusion of the first impressive performance by Andy Schumm and his Bixologists at the 2010 Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival: Norman Field, reeds; Paul Munnery, trombone; Jeff Barnhart, piano; Jacob Ullberger, banjo and guitar; Frans Sjostrom, bass sax; Josh Duffee, drums.  What inventive melodists they all are!

ROSY CHEEKS:

MY GAL SAL:

SAN:

LOVE NEST:

NOBODY’S SWEETHEART NOW (with a chase chorus for Norman and Andy):

Hot and sweet, lyrical and impulsive — with aural echoes not only of Bix, Tram, and Eddie — but also of Chauncey Morehouse, Red Nichols, Miff Mole, Adrian Rollini, Gene Krupa, Frank Teschmacher, Eddie Condon, and more.

Part One: ANDY SCHUMM’S BIXOLOGISTS (Whitley Bay, July 9, 2010)

Cornetist Andy Schumm was having the time of his life at the 2010 Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival.  Not that Andy doesn’t have fun and spread joy wherever he goes — but here he was with a band of players who knew the music intimately, knew the subtle dimensions of the styles by heart.  So Andy and his Bixologists were an immense hit, and I caught every session (missing perhaps three songs) and I am very glad of it.  The band for this initial meeting on Friday, July 9, was Norman Field on a variety of reeds and amusing scholarly digressions; Paul Munnery on trombone; Jeff Barnhart on piano; Jacob Ullberger on banjo and guitar; Frans Sjostrom, the heroic, on the bass saxophone; Josh Duffee on his minimalist and very swinging drums. 

I will not explicate these performances, because they don’t need my pointing out their delights.  However, they are so much more than pale recreations of records: they are living creative hot music!

AT THE JAZZ BAND BALL:

LOUISIANA:

AT SUNDOWN:

ROYAL GARDEN BLUES:

I’M MORE THAN SATISFIED:

OH, BABY!:

BIG BOY:

BABY, WON’T YOU PLEASE COME HOME?:

And more to come on the other side . . .

“BUGLE DISPOSITION RAG” — SAVORY TRANSLATIONS?

Newsweek: Exclusive clips from jazz greats

2. “Bugle disposition Rag”: Count Basie’s 1940 ensemble, featuring substance instrumentalist Lester Young, on a set this adornment never transcribed in the studio, on March 8, 1940. Personnel: author Clayton (tp, arr); Harry “Sweets” Edison, Al Killian, Ed adventurer (tp); Vic Dickenson, Dan Minor, Dicky author (tb); Tab adventurer (as, sop, arr); peer Warren (as); Lester Young, Buddy poet (ts); Jack pedagogue (as,bar); Count Basie (p); Freddie Green (g); director Page (b); Jo designer (d).

I know what Bessie Smith would have said about this!  This excerpt came from www.flashnewsworld.com. and is its very own kind of jive.  Brilliance comes through no matter what amiable violence is done to the language: Google translation has at least recognized that the men of the Basie band were adventurers, authors, designers, and poets.  And what they played was always an adornment. 

MICHAEL McQUAID’S LATE HOUR BOYS at WHITLEY BAY (July 9, 2010)

At my first Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival last year, I met and instantly liked the young Australian jazz virtuoso Michael McQuaid — he plays alto saxophone, clarinet, and cornet — but didn’t get to hear him in his natural settings.  This year the fates were kinder: I saw Michael and the little hot band he leads, the Late Hour Boys, in two sets. 

After the first one, someone asked me what I thought.  Without thinking for a second, I replied, “Scalding!”  I think you will see that I wasn’t being hyperbolic.

The Late Hour Boys take their name, some of their repertoire, and their joyous attitude from the late Ade Monsborough, who named his group this way not because they favored midnight performances, but because he assembled his personnels at the last minute.  Michael McQuaid’s LHB summon up the kind of hot improvisation I associate with Spanier and Bechet, with a bare-knickle version of Soprano Summit in its closing choruses. 

You’ll hear evocations of Johnny Dodds and Pete Brown, of Teddy Bunn and Milt Hinton and Zutty Singleton.  It’s a two-man all reed front line, with Michael and the peerless wit Jason Downes switching off on clarinet and alto; the rhythm is taken care of by the splendid John Scurry on banjo and guitar and Mark (the Eel) Elton on bass.  Ian Smith, who also played cornet with Ade some years back, is a driving homespun drummer and washboardist who sings with great effectiveness — tenderly on a ballad, raucously on a jump tune.  And this band jumps for sure.

Here’s a rollicking CANDY LIPS (I’m STUCK ON YOU) from the Clarence Williams book:

Here’s a wartime composition by Monsborough, SORRY TO BE LEAVING:

PUT ‘EM DOWN BLUES is not the usual homage to Louis and the Hot Five.  It has its own romping momentum.  Although I don’t quite understand the emotional / romantic nuances of the lyric, I believe anything that Ian sings:

RAIN is a pretty tune that no one else seems to remember; Ian is in the moment on his sweet vocal:

EUROA, a Monsborough composition, honors a place that Michael suggests is improved by the song:

MELANCHOLY, which harks back to the glory days of 1927 Chicago with Johnny Dodds and Louis Armstrong:

BLAME IT ON THE BLUES, which I associate with Sidney Bechet and Albert Nicholas, intertwining:

Michael and the Late Hour Boys also have a new CD out which entirely captures the exuberance of these video performances.  Listening to it is also a much more focused experience, since you don’t have a running-shoes-for-sale poster in the background.  It is a limited edition, so I don’t know if this posting is too late, but I hope not! 

Check it out at http://www.jasondownes.com/lhbcd.

EVEN MORE SAVORY: “NEVER BEFORE HEARD CLIPS”

I find the media coverage of the discovery of the Bill Savory jazz collection simply amazing — and am both grateful and astonished. 

It would appear that the world has gone jazz crazy now, at least for a minute. 

Here’s the latest story from NEWSWEEK,  complete with music from Mildred Bailey, Jack Teagarden, Bobby Hackett, Vernon Brown, George Wettling, Herschel Evans, Lester Young, Jo Jones, Lionel Hampton, Joe Marsala, John Kirby, Roy Eldridge, and more!  (The music itself is amazing, but I am particularly delighted by the sound that audio wizard Doug Pomeroy has brought out of those grooves.)

http://www.newsweek.com/2010/08/25/audio-exclusive-eight-never-before-heard-clips-from-america-s-jazz-greats.html

And . . .

From the “But wait!  There’s more!” department, how about a thirty-minute NPR feature with director of the Jazz Museum of Harlem Loren Schoenberg and Bill Savory’s son Eugene Desavouret:

http://beta.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/2010/aug/24/savory-recordings/

I will let my readers ponder the larger implications of this media exuberance: right now, I am once again going to listen to half a minute of Mildred singing TRUCKIN’, which is balm for even the most skeptical observer, or I would hope so.  (Even a reader like myself who sees the whole explosion of interest as something out of a 1933 newspaper film, with the hard-bitten editor, fedora pushed back on his head, shouting, “Stop the presses!  Get me rewrite!  Don’t you know this is the biggest scoop anyone has ever seen?  Why, it’ll blow this town wide open . . . !”)

STANDARD TIME: NEAL MINER AND FRIENDS

Neal Miner is not only a fine bassist and composer; he’s also a remarkable jazz videographer who gets splendid results without a truckload of equipment.  His YouTube channel is “gutstringrecords,” and I’ve taken two of his recent videos to share (and applaud) here.

The first is a nimble, sustained reading of the Schertzinger-Mercer I REMEMBER YOU for piano trio: Neal, Michael Kanan on piano, Rick Montalbano on drums:

Aside from the music itself, which is probing without losing the essential rhapsodic quality of the song, I would point out how neatly Neal has solved the problem of making a jazz video visually interesting without having fidgety cutting every few seconds. 

And here’s CLOSE YOUR EYES by Bernice Petkere, explored by the Pacific Jazz Quartet — Sasha Dobson on the evocative vocal, Neal, Rob Sudduth on tenor saxophone, and Dred Scott on drums:

Satisfying and intriguing — hats off to Neal and friends!

FINDING SONNY CLARK

Sam Stephenson’s JAZZ LOFT PROJECT blog is one I visit regularly — not only for its subject matter but for the caliber of Sam’s prose.  Often the site’s subject is the magical and mysterious music and life revolving around Eugene Smith, photographer and thinker and friend of jazz. 

But today I was captivated by a black-and-white picture of a first grade class . . . which turns out to have the jazz pianist Sonny Clark in its front row.  I’m calling your attention to this post because of the loving perceptive research into someone’s life that Sam is doing here. 

Even if you’re not as deep into Clark’s life and music as Sam is, you should read this posting: http://www.jazzloftproject.org/blog/general/conrad-yeatis-clark-first-grade