This performance — recorded by the percussive and erudite Sue Fischer at the Chattanooga Traditional Jazz Festival on May 1, 2011 — is both casual and extraordinary.
Facts first: that’s Ray Sklelbred, piano; Kim Cusack, clarinet; Katie Cavera, guitar; Clint Baker, bass; Hal Smith, drums.
And they’re playing — not too fast — the late-Twenties favorite CHINA BOY in a way that summons up early Benny, Fud Livingston, Tesch, Cless, and Pee Wee; Stacy, Hines, and Sullivan; Eddie Condon and Steve Jordan; Wellman Braud and Jim Lanigan; Baby Dodds, George Wettling, Zutty Singleton, and more.
You might think the shades of the dead crowd the stage. You might wonder whether the living players have breathing room amidst all those Deceased Eminences. They certainly do! These are real people in the twenty-first century, playing their hearts out. Bless them!
And I want to sign up for the Cubs’ fifty-city national tour. Don’t you?