In the Thirties and Forties, “Swing Street” was the name given to one special block — New York City’s Fifty-Second Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, where jazz flourished.
Given tectonic shifts and climate change, it’s no surprise that everything we know has moved — so Swing Street reappears every Sunday night from 8-11 PM at The Ear Inn (326 Spring Street, Soho, New York City).
Here are glimpses of two enchanted evenings — May 15 and 22, 2011, with the EarRegulars and friends at their best. The magicians that first Sunday were Dan Block, reeds; Harvey Tibbs, trombone; Matt Munisteri, guitar; Jon Burr, bass. How about a tender ballad — Irving Berlin’s SAY IT ISN’T SO:
Then, trombonist Jim Fryer joined in for UNDECIDED (no dithering here):
And Matt gave up his seat (his guitar and amplifier, too) to Chris Flory, who made TOPSY sound just like uptown, 1941:
The calendar pages fall off the wall. The work week evaporates.
It’s Sunday, May 22. On the imaginary Ear Inn bandstand: Danny Tobias, cornet; Pete Anderson, reeds; James Chirillo, guitar; Frank Tate, bass — joined later by friends Andy Stein, violin, Mike Carrubia, cornet. In the audience, Sir Robert Cox and family, on their New York City jazz tour.
W.C. Handy didn’t know about rayon and soymilk a hundred years ago, but he certainly understood the perils of LOVELESS LOVE:
Yes, I WANT TO BE HAPPY. Easily accomplished at The Ear Inn:
Another good old good one — circa 1922 — THAT DA DA STRAIN:
And the romantic pleasure of I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT YOU’RE IN LOVE WITH ME, a rhapsody for two cornets and friends in 4 / 4 time:
A Dixieland classic, not too fast — THAT’S A PLENTY:
Without leaving their seats — RUNNIN’ WILD, courtesy of James P. Johnson:
Ballads are never out of season — so Danny called for SPRING IS HERE (perhaps a geographical comment more than an emotional utterance?):
And to conclude the evening, the groovy blues line called CENTERPIECE by Sweets Edison:
The EarRegulars will be celebrating their fourth anniversary in early July 2011. What a remarkable accomplishment! And these Sunday evenings are marvels, best viewed first-hand.