If you saw this young woman on the street, you would think, “She has a nice smile,” but you might not know that she has several secret lives.
All will be revealed about Lucy Weinman in this post. She doesn’t have multiple-personality disorder, her own lingerie business, nor a quiz show with Garry Moore. Her Columbia University transcript would show that she is majoring in biology, is a research fellow at the Kelley Lab — far beyond the high school biology I knew. You might also encounter her as an enthusiastic swing dancer at a number of venues or a delighted audience member at jazz concerts by people like Dennis Lichtman and Gordon Au.
But this is how I first encountered Lucy. In full flight and in good company — with Dennis Lichtman and Chloe Feoranzo, Kevin Dorn and other notable souls:
Notice the trumpet attached to our Miss Weinman. To quote Eddie Condon, she owns it and she plays it. In fact, Lucy is a really impressive hot trumpeter with a large sound, a truly swinging conception, and a good deal of spice. She, Jeff Weinman (guitarist / pianist / and also Lucy’s father) and Miss Cherry Delight (vocals) make up the Big Tent Jazz Band with a variety of ringers and sitters-in. Their Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-Cherry-Delight-and-The-Big-Tent-Jazz-Band/343542389217?v=info&sk=info.
That should be enough. BIO WHIZ GIRL ALSO HOT TRUMPETER would be a nifty headline on an imagined newspaper in a Thirties movie. But Lucy has more surprises for us.
One is the Columbia University Semi-Formal Swing Dance — coming up on December 9, 2011. Here (in excited prose I didn’t dare edit) are the details:
CU Swing Dance – This Joint is Jumpin’
: a stompin’ swing dance fiesta featuring New York’s own Grand Street Stompers. Feel-good New Orleans jazz, lovely dancing, lovelier company, and good times will abound. Show up in your semi-finest attire and stretch out those hamstrings cause THIS JOINT’S GONNA BE JUMPIN’!
How it’s gonna go down:
8:30- 9pm – A beginner swing dance lesson provided by CU Swing Dance (No prior experience or partner necessary, ya dig? You got no excuse!)
9pm-12am – The band JUMPS and so do we. It’s that simple.
CUID holders: $8
*The Grand St. Stompers is a swinging-hot traditional jazz band led by rising young trumpeter Gordon Au and featuring the evocative and joyous vocals of Tamar Korn. With one foot stomping in vintage tradition and the other in modern style, they’ll throw down everything from Louis Armstrong hits and New Orleans standards to Gordon’s exciting originals to surprisingly swinging adaptations of classical pieces and Disney tunes. The bottom line is this: whenever they play, it’s a helluva show.
**Directions: Take the 1 train to 116th St. Walk north on Broadway to Barnard’s Gates at 119th St. Enter campus, turn right, and look for the orange building (The Diana Center). Go down one floor to LL1. Give money to the smiling Columbia students, get your hand stamped, and dance to your heart’s content!
But wait! There’s more. WKCR-FM (the radio station of Columbia University, also accessible streaming live on the web at http://www.wkcr.org) is known for seventy years of jazz programming. One of its long-standing programs — I remember listening to it as far back as the early Seventies — is OUT TO LUNCH, a weekday jazz show from 12-3. This radio station plays the whole range of recorded jazz from 1917 to the present, from the ODJB to the world of free. Splendid! But often — not surprisingly — what’s known as “traditional jazz,” loosely defined as New Orleans, Chicago, early Swing — is left to the very scholarly divagations of the Dean of New York Jazz Radio, Phil Schaap.
Some weeks ago, I was driving home in the early afternoon on a Tuesday, and I turned on my car radio, whose first preset is 89.9, WKCR. I forget what exactly was coming out of the speaker — was it I MUST HAVE IT by King Oliver or was it FAREWELL BLUES by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings? — but it was a delicious jolt. The “disc jockey,” the archaic term for the person choosing what records to play, stayed out of the way of the music for a good long time. Then she announced herself as “Lucy,” and the veils dropped from my eyes. I am not embarrassed to say that I called the station and said, mock-ominously, “WHAT are you doing playing all that good hot jazz? What’s the matter with you?” or words to that effect. Then I introduced myself — Lucy and I know each other from Radegast and The Ear Inn — and we both started laughing happily.
Lucy Weinman is on the air every other Tuesday — her next show is December 13. She has a clear voice, can pronounce the musicians’ names correctly, and her love for the music comes right through the speaker. Today, when she was through playing a nice long set of Louis and Earl from 1928, including KNEE DROPS, she began her commentary with a hushed, “Oh, my God. Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines,” which is proper reverence.
She has at least three or four brilliant careers in front of her, and JAZZ LIVES salutes her varied endeavors — while unmasking her secrets, which is the privilege of Hot Jazz Journalism. Find out more about her lives at http://www.facebook.com/Lucy.Rae.W. And if you’re lucky, she’ll bring her horn to a gig. Pleasant surprises await!