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.
Here’s BULL FROG BLUES:
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.