Daily Archives: March 14, 2012

ORGANIC, CAGE-FREE, LOCALLY SOURCED: The EarRegulars at The Ear Inn (March 11, 2012)

You wouldn’t seek out food that was bad for you.  You wouldn’t buy a bed that gave you back pain, or a car whose brakes were unreliable.

So why settle for anything less than the most creative improvising?

I’ve heard from certain sources that other groups are trying to pass themselves off as “just as good” as The EarRegulars.

Accept no imitations.  Don’t be fooled by faux-Swing and counterfeit Hot.

Unfortunately, you can’t turn each member of the EarRegulars upside down to see the label (it’s not feasible nor is it polite) but be sure you are listening to the real thing.

What follows is the real thing — tasty, ebullient, fresh, pesticide-free and created lovingly on Sunday, March 11, 2012 — by Matt Munisteri, guitar; Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet; John Allred, trombone; Pat O’Leary, string bass.  Four inspired conversationalists who never run out of good things to tell us and each other.

Here are four lively inventions by four stars, their lines looping and bouncing off each other, four individualists improvising at top speed, creating joy where there was only a Sunday night before.

They began with Gershwin-amused-exultation, ‘S’WONDERFUL:

Then astonished joy turned (at least in the title) to a kind of intellectual surprise with I NEVER KNEW:

And the lover’s plaint — HOW COME YOU DO ME LIKE YOU DO (DO DO)?  Later, I commented to Jon-Erik that these three songs could be taken to chart the decline of a once-happy relationship, and he laughed.

Finally, THREE LITTLE WORDS:

What are those THREE LITTLE WORDS?  The song lyrics say “Eight little letters that simply mean ‘I love you,'” and I am wholly in favor of declarations of love . . . but I also think the THREE LITTLE WORDS might be

THE EAR INN.

GET HERE SUNDAYS.

ENJOY THE EarRegulars.

326 Spring Street, Soho, New York City — from about 8 to somewhere around 11 every Sunday night until you hear otherwise!

“FROM RAGTIME TO JAZZ” WITH ROAD SCHOLAR PROFESSORS KRONINGER, ERICKSON, CALABRESE (March 2, 2012)

Before Dixieland Monterey 2012 began there was musical fun — somewhat like a cross between an aesthetic appetizer and a full-scale concert / lecture — hosted at the Hidden Valley Music Seminars in Carmel Valley, California: a presentation for the Road Scholar Program (formerly Elderhostel).  (Click  here to learn more.)  Let’s just say that I flew out early to be here and video the delightful commotion: the second day of Professors’ Kroninger (Sue, vocal, washboard, kazoo); Erickson (Eddie, banjo, vocal); Calabrese (Chris, tour director, piano) showing us the roads from ragtime to jazz.

Although they call themselves Professors, the atmosphere was light-years away from academic seriousness (I know from experience); I had a wonderful time: you will, too.

Professor Kroninger began by introducing the band (very cleverly) which led into Improvisations on RED RIVER VALLEY:

Romping with Professor Calabrese on TIGER RAG, THE PEARLS (an extraordinary feature for Professor Erickson), and some takeout Chinese for Louis: CORNET CHOP SUEY:

MEMPHIS BLUES (Prof. Kroninger belting it out in a melifluous way); explaining the washboard — as “the poor man’s drum kit”; and a trio examination of that vexing question (both geographical and existential) WHERE DID ROBINSON CRUSOE GO (With Friday on Saturday Night)?

Down came the theoretical curtain for a breath . . . .

The second half began with an entirely generous introduction of the man behind the camera (leading to a surprise question about a Guy Lombardo ragtime medley on cassette); then more Louis with BIG BUTTER AND EGG MAN (team-teaching by Professors Kroninger and Erickson); an unexpected cellphone call; something for Bix — a beautiful reading of SINGIN’ THE BLUES by Professor Calabrese; a demonstration of stride piano with MAPLE LEAF RAG and a compelling bit of Wallering around on HANDFUL OF KEYS:

Finally, a kazoo lesson for all of us (DO try this at home, but make sure that you have a kazoo first), culminating in an ensemble performance of ALEXANDER’S RAGTIME BAND:

It’s my pleasure to present the entire — informal — concert, all eighty-six minutes of it.  It’s not the same as being there . . . so make plans for 2013!  But as you can tell, a good time was had by all.  And everyone got an “A,” onstage and off.