Ray Skjelbred is back in his element and playing better than ever — full of the real down-home spirit.

Here’s BLUESIANA (by Frank Melrose) — dedicated to his daughter, Aunt Ida Melrose!  And this video (taken September 13, 2011 at San Francisco’s Pier 23) has a real rarity enclosed: a casual conversation between the subject, Mr. Skjelbred, and the diligent videographer from north central Texas, Ms. Rae Ann Berry:

And an older, sadder tune — one I associate with Clarence Williams and King Oliver, WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO? (the eternal question):

Two days earlier, Ray and his Cubs performed in Sacramento, California, for the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society.  Here are a few videos from that date — with Ray joined by Katie Cavera on guitar, Kim Cusack on clarinet, Clint Baker on bass, and Hal Smith on drums.


One of my favorite songs — for the musical line, the hopeful romance of the lyrics, and the echoes of Louis and Ruby Braff, HUSTLIN’ AND BUSTLIN’ FOR BABY:

MY GALVESTON GAL will never win awards for folk poetry, but Henry Red Allen, Benny Morton, and Coleman Hawkins recorded it in 1933 — that’s good enough for me:

That sweet zephyr in the air?  That’s BREEZE (BLOW MY BABY BACK TO ME):

And to send you out in the right mood, here’s a stomping SHIM-ME-SHA-WABBLE (it was a dance):

Hot Chicago jazz for this century and for all time — thanks to Ray, Rae Ann, Clint, Kim, Katie, and Hal.

3 responses to “HIS HONOR IS ON THE BENCH: RAY SKJELBRED PLAYS! (September 2011)

  1. God Bless you and Rae Ann for bringing the great music on the left coast to us (wordlwide) ! (Were you aware that Katie, Becky Kilgore, Clark Calvert and Ginny Luetje shared a Birthday on saturfay?)

  2. What a fantastic tribute to my dad, and an honor for me..I am so grateful..I had never heard anyone else play my dad’s song, “Bluisiana.” until Ray….
    It’s perfect..It really stirs up the emotions,,,I know my dad is up there shaking his head in approval, and smiling,.like I am. My thanks to Ray, and you, NM. Ray and His Cubs fast became a favorite group of mine. This is another post that I will be listening to more than once!.

  3. We often worked together at Mandrakes with Dick Oxtot and one time Jim said he wanted to impersonate me and we could stage a fight about which one of us was the real Ray Skjelbred. Also the Ray Skjelbred and his Cubs CD on Jazzology has now come out and I recommend it! Ray Skjelbred and his Cubs will be playing two jobs in Seattle October 16 from 4-8 at the New Orleans restaurant then the next day for the Puget Sound jazz club from 12 30 to 4 30.

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