If you’ve been reading this blog even casually, the name Andy Schumm — the hot cornet / piano man from Milwaukee — will not be new to you. And he continues to offer surprises: his fine, ringing lead; his well-chosen tempos; his deep immersion in the repertoire; the ease with which he melds the heroic choruses of the recordings we’ve all come to treasure with his own improvisations . . . and more.
Here’s the first set he led at the 2010 Jazz at Chautauqua, a fine, compact outing. It says a great deal about Andy and the respect that his peers offer him that he was so capably able to get all these personalities — these veteran musicians, for the most part, men of strong opinions — going in his direction. And that says that his direction pleased them and it was right!
The band had its own delightful reed section in Bobby Gordon, clarinet, and Dan Block, tenor sax and (wonderfully on WHISPERING), bass clarinet; a one-man trombone section in Bob Havens, and a bouncing rhythm team of John Sheridan, piano; Marty Grosz, guitar; Jon Burr, bass (Jon fits in everywhere!); Arnie Kinsella, drums.
Andy began with CRAZY RHYTHM, properly not too fast, with Bobby in a wailing Pee Wee Russell mood:
He then called WHISPERING, such a pretty melody (I applaud the inventions of Dizzy and Bird but always hear WHISPERING poking through GROOVIN’ HIGH), where Dan Block picks up his bass clarinet and steals the show until Bobby reminds us of late Lester Young — wandering yet hopeful:
What would a a session be without some homage, large or small, to Louis? Here, Andy’s idea was a rocking WEARY BLUES, with all the strains of this 1927 favorite firmly in place — fine leadership here:
And, to close, the old anthem to the-eyes-are-the-windows-of-the-soul metaphysical conceit, THEM THERE EYES. Don’t miss John Sheridan’s romping, tumbling stride chorus:
What a band! I thought of a Hackett group — from any period — crossed with a Condon Town Hall concert with some Keynote spices and a touch of Fifties Vanguard. And although it might seem immodest, I keep revisiting these video performances, grinning and bobbing rhythmically in front of the computer, no doubt to the astonishment of my neighbors, should any of them climb a ladder to peer into my second-floor window.