I mean my title literally. This band is at its easy playful best — but what they offer us won’t erode with time. The music that Rebecca Kilgore, Tim Laughlin (clarinet), Dan Barrett (trombone and cornet), Eddie Erickson (guitar, banjo, vocal), and Joel Forbes (string bass) created at the September 2011 Sweet and Hot Music Festival will last.
It’s energetic, personal, lively, sweet, as you;ll see and hear. And Ms. Kilgore, our Becky, is in top form — her opening choruses are thirty-two bar seminars in melodic invention over a swinging pulse; her second choruses say, “There’s always another way to sing these words and these notes,” and I know she could go on from one set of subtle variations on the theme to another all night long. (A Kilgore chorus has the same subtlety and structure as the solo of a great instrumentalist.)
Dan, Eddie, and Joel work together beautifully — their inventiveness, pulse, and swing — but the guest star, the limpid-toned Tim Laughlin, fit in as if he’d been working with this group for years. Maybe he should be!
This nimble quintet began their set with an old favorite — but one whose optimistic message is always needed — BACK IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD. With the little Louis-touches, that backyard might well have been the garden next door to his house in Corona:
Because of Tim’s home town and the love it evokes from all the musicians in this idiom, Becky called for DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO MISS NEW ORLEANS?:
Then, the perennial Harold Arlen – Ted Koehler declaration of fidelity (based on BASIN STREET BLUES, more or less), AS LONG AS I LIVE:
The jazz pedigree of I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS goes all the way back to Louis with Fletcher Henderson. Often this song is played as the last one of the night — I’m glad there was more to come in this set. And the Barrett – Laughlin riff behind Becky’s first chorus is somewhat reminiscent of “With no pants on” in some versions of THE SHEIK. Listen to Becky’s pearly phrasing, then dig the hilarious horn conversation of Dan and Tim — bringing Vic Dickenson and Ed Hall into the twenty-first century, with the best aupport from Eddie and then Joel:
I had the original Kapp 45 of MIDNIGHT IN MOSCOW by the Kenny Ball Jazz Band — but with all respects to them, this version is even better. Dan is one of the finest cornetists you’ll ever hear — careful and headlong at the same time, while Tim weaves leafy lines around him, Eddie and Joel rocking the room without strain:
Readers of JAZZ LIVES know the name of Edgar Sampson (as well as his main instrument) but it’s always lovely to hear IF DREAMS COME TRUE again, with its echoes of Billie, James P., and Dick Wellstood:
I wonder how many listeners get all the clever Thirties references in the lyrics of TANGERINE (look up Lilly Dache sometime) but the song stands on its own, sinuous and sly — let’s raise a toast to Becky’s choice of tempo and Joel’s eloquent playing:
And as a tribute to New Orleans and the romping early days, the band closed with THAT’S A PLENTY — fitted out with tongue-twisting lyrics perhaps thirty years after its initial recording — Buster’s gang came to town, with Eddie adding his smooth voice in sweet harmony:
This was such a superb set — the only thing missing was a rendition of IT’S ONLY A PAPER MOON (appropriate to the decor): maybe next year?