“CHINATOWN” 1988 — KENNY DAVERN, BENT PERSSON, TOMAS ORNBERG, JAMES DAPOGNY, STEVE JORDAN, JOHNNY WILLIAMS, and DICK PROCTOR

I cannot remember where I was on November 26, 1988 — unfortunately, it wasn’t at the Manassas Jazz Festival (in Virginia) listening to Kenny Davern, Bent Persson, Tomas Ornberg, James Dapogny, Steve Jordan, Johnny Williams, and Dick Proctor improvise on CHINATOWN, MY CHINATOWN:

The performance has the cheeful shirtsleeved feel of a group of all-stars who have assembled for a common purpose — to have a good time!

Not too slow, not too fast.

Once the band assembles itself, everything rocks — the horns soar and the rhythm section transcends the poorly tuned piano — played energetically by Dapogny, who is beautifully supported by veterans Jordan and Williams locking in.  And the exchanges at the end are a lovely entlightened conversation among friends — with Eddie, Pee Wee, Fats, Louis, and Lips laughing softly in appreciation, standing in the shades.

Blessings on J.S. for recording, keeping, preserving, and sharing this performance!

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4 responses to ““CHINATOWN” 1988 — KENNY DAVERN, BENT PERSSON, TOMAS ORNBERG, JAMES DAPOGNY, STEVE JORDAN, JOHNNY WILLIAMS, and DICK PROCTOR

  1. Oh my oh my….I could never get too much of this..Super post..Thank you so much NM,,,

  2. Hans Vandegaast

    Plenty rhythm.

  3. Sonny McGown

    Ah what wonderful memories! I know where I was on that date. I was sitting in the theater back at the recording console with the late Jack Towers; a wonderful man and masterful recording engineer. This video typifies Fat Cat McRee’s self concocted groupings at his Manassas fests. He often chose a nonconforming front line such as in this case with trumpet, clarinet and soprano sax. Bent and Tomas were over from Stockholm and revisiting Manassas for the second time having appeared previously in 1985. They were outstanding throughout. Kenny Davern made several of the fests, first appearing there in 1973. It was well known that the MJF was not a moneymaker for either the musicians or Fat Cat. Yet, artists of Davern’s musical stature kept coming back over the years because it was a blast. Kenny was his usual swinging self playing impeccably. For the rhythm section Fat Cat provided a solid foundation with Steve Jordan on guitar and Johnny Williams on his skinny bass. Both of these gents were Swing Era veterans and they meshed perfectly. Steve performed at most all of the fests and always added a distinctive third dimension rhythmically. Jim Dapogny was out of Ann Arbor and backs the soloists ever so neatly and contributes a fine solo as well. Drummer Dick Proctor came up from southern Virginia and had the most sparkling set of drums I have ever seen. At the end on the night he slipped on a pair of white gloves and gently handled all of the kit like a Jazz Record collector with a VG+ Black Patti. Thank you Jazz Lives for linking to this video and reviving a fond memory. Also, a special thank you to J.S. for posting the video. It truly represents what MJF was all about; a SWINGING time!

  4. Thank you for that wonderful novelistic glimpse into the past — from someone who was there! As well as the delicious music, this clip gives me special pleasure because some of the artists are alive and well. I have been fortunate enough to meet and speak with Bent Persson and Jim Dapogny, although not yet with Tomas Ornberg. I don’t know if Dick Proctor is still with us: I hope he is! Thank you, Sonny! Cheers, Michael

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