It’s a long title, but the music and the experience justify it.
The 2011 San Diego Dixieland Jazz Festival combined a number of “firsts” for me — my first time at this rollicking festival, my first visit to San Diego, first meetings with many lovely people (Justin, Brandon, and Yvonne Au; Susie Miyata; Janie McCue and Kevin Lynch; Allene Harding, Paul Woltz, Sue Fischer, Stephanie Trick, and two dozen more) . . . .
And then there was the gloriously familiar: Connie Jones, Tim Laughlin, Bob Havens, Hal Smith, Chris Dawson, Katie Cavera, Jeff Hamilton, Clint Baker, Carl Sonny Leyland, Marc Caparone, Dawn Lambeth, Ralf and John Reynolds — reasons to be happily jet-lagged both coming and going.
Because of Paul Daspit and his friends, the festival was a happy and musical place no matter where you turned; things ran efficiently without pressure; the audiences listened intently to the music, and the musicians soared.
I would have been presenting JAZZ LIVES with more than a hundred videos — except for the combined forces of accident, gravity, and hubris, which I have detailed elsewhere — so I turned to one of my dear friends who also happens to be the Uncrowned Queen of Bay Area Jazz — which extends down to San Diego and up to Olympia, Washington, but who’s worrying about such details?
You will know Rae Ann Berry from her two thousand-plus videos on YouTube (as “SFRaeAnn”) and her twenty-five years of vigorous advocacy of the music and musicians she loves. She maintains an up-to-date list of hot jazz gigs in the area on www.sfraeann.com and you can visit her YouTube channel here.
So with thanks to all concerned both behind and in front of the camera, let me offer a short — but exciting — tour of the 2011 San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland frolic, beginning with four songs from a set recorded on November 25, 2011, by Tim Laughlin’s All-Stars: Tim, clarinet; Connie Jones, cornet; Bob Havens, trombone; Chris Dawson, piano; Marty Eggers, string bass; Katie Cavera, guitar; Hal Smith, drums.
I won’t praise individual solos or the way the band sounds as a unit — but everything is precisely where it ought to be, and all the parts are in balance, with each player offering a beautiful tone combined with deep intensity. At times I thought of the finest recordings of Eddie Condon, the Teddy Wilson small groups, the Vanguard recordings of the early Fifties, nicely seasoned — but this band is no spinning disc or mp3: it’s being created right in front of us.
SUGAR (with a charming vocal from Connie):
WHO’S SORRY NOW?:
and an utterly rocking WANG WANG BLUES:
More to come!