It was immensely reassuring to arrive at The Ear Inn last Sunday and to find that little had changed. Yes, the immense plaster-of-Paris pink ear had been taken away, but I hope that it had spent the summer in a spa and will be back soon.
The music was just as sweetly inspiring as it has been for the last four years, with the EarRegulars led by Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet, with his trusted accomplice John Allred, trombone, the two of them (this century’s Bobby and Vic) supported by James Chirillo, guitar, and Greg Cohen, bass. Exalted second-set visitors were Dan Block, alto, and Matt Musselman, trombone.
Here are swinging examples to remind us all what can happen when the right musicians get together to enjoy themselves.
An easy WAY DOWN YONDER IN NEW ORLEANS:
MY GAL SAL, not frivolous in the least:
BLUES MY NAUGHTY SWEETIE GIVES TO ME:
SOMEDAY SWEETHEART (with frequent and apt references to SLEEPY TIME DOWN SOUTH by Mr. Cohen):
What was it that Buddy Bolden said? “Open up that window and let that foul air out.” Or, barring that, how about a romping BREEZIN’ ALONG WITH THE BREEZE:
STARS FELL ON ALABAMA, featuring the remarkable Mr. Allred:
SOMEBODY STOLE MY GAL, with Dan Block joining in:
A feature for two eminent trombonists, John and Matt Musselman, IF I HAD YOU:
LINGER AWHILE (which any reasonable person would want to do)
Incidentally, the dancers who spun so nimbly in such a small space are David Crawford, Carolyne Elyse Findley, and Danielle Hammer — jazz in motion!
I felt welcomed back to New York in a seriously joyful way. If there’s a society more exalted than this, I’ve never encountered it.
P.S. I am posting this from the lobby of the Athenaeum Hotel — the site for the 2011 Jazz at Chautauqua — where last night Mister Kellso played as beautifully as I’ve ever heard him . . . among other generous improvisers.