Daily Archives: October 26, 2011

LET ME DREAM SOME MORE: JON-ERIK KELLSO, DAN BARRETT, DAN LEVINSON, JOHN SHERIDAN, JON BURR, RICKY MALICHI (JAZZ AT CHAUTAUQUA 2011)

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!

LOVE IN SWINGTIME (JAZZ AT CHAUTAUQUA 2011)

Jazz isn’t binary by nature, but occasionally it seems to fit Groucho Marx’s whimsical definition of the two kinds of Broadway plays: Sad or High-Kicking.  What was played at Jazz at Chautauqua on September 15, 2011 (the informal Thursday night sessions) went beyond those categories, but they will do for now.  Here are two splendid examples.

LOVE, of course, is personified by Harry Allen, tenor sax; Rossano Sportiello, piano, supported by Glenn Holmes, bass; Bill Ransom, drums — whispering through the Rodgers and Hart MY ROMANCE:

SWINGTIME came out to play with Randy Sandke and Duke Heitger, trumpets; Scott Robinson, Dan Block, and Andy Stein, reeds; John Sheridan, piano; Jon Burr, bass; John Von Ohlen, drums — having a good time with STOMPIN’ AT THE SAVOY:

Something for everyone!

BARBARA JEAN REINVENTS “BODY AND SOUL” (Jazz at Chautauqua 2011)

Coleman Hawkins always used to tell interviewers that the country was full of world-class players they hadn’t yet heard of.  My experiences in the last few years prove he was right — even in this age of instantaneous communication, there are immensely talented people working at their craft whose names haven’t yet become common knowledge.

You should know the singer Barbara Jean.  Here’s why:

I met her for the first time at the Thursday night sessions at this year’s Jazz at Chautauqua — where she was introduced by our own Rebecca Kilgore.  The Athenaeum Hotel had sponsored the first-ever traditional jazz workshop at Chautauqua — and, as Becky said, one of her vocal students was already an accomplished singer.  Barbara Jean not only has a quiet sincerity, but she’s also a good lyric writer, improving a great deal on the rather tortured syntax we find in BODY AND SOUL.  She’s fortunate to be accompanied by the best: Dan Barrett, John Sheridan, Frank Tate, and Ricky Malichi.

Here’s her website:  http://www.barbarajeanjazz.com/index.html

JAZZ LIVES wishes her well!