Trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso knows how to have a good time, and to make sure that the fun envelops everyone in the room. He showed this from the first notes of his set at this year’s Jazz at Chautauqua — one of the informal sessions that took place in the parlor on Thursday night, September 15, 2011.
He also knows how to plan sets: a nice Thirties medium swinger by Walter Donaldson, a pretty ballad associated with Louis, a nod to John Sheridan’s Dream Band and Fats Waller in a little-played pop tune of the period, and something really sweet to send us off to bed (the Beloved called it “melty” and she was of course correct).
Of course Jon-Erik had the finest kind of friendly assistance from Jon Burr, bass; John Sheridan, piano; Dan Barrett, trombone; Dan Levinson, reeds; Ricky Malichi, drums. (By name alone, Ricky might have felt left out of this jazz poker hand — but he’s such a fine drummer that we don’t care what his first name is.)
Here’s IT’S BEEN SO LONG, made memorable by Bunny Berigan, Ruby Braff, and many others:
Then, the lovely expression of gratitude — complete with the verse (only Jon-Erik plays this!) — THANKS A MILLION:
And something delightful — the 1935 pop song I associate with Fats Waller and a soaring Bill Coleman, DREAM MAN (“Let me dream some more!”):
And something stunning in its simple hymnlike beauty, Johnny Mercer’s DREAM:
The stuff that dreams are made on!