Daily Archives: April 13, 2012

RHYTHM SAVES THE WORLD: THE REYNOLDS BROTHERS and CARL SONNY LEYLAND at DIXIELAND MONTEREY JAZZ BASH BY THE BAY (March 3, 2012)

When the Reynolds Brothers assemble onstage, I know great things are going to happen.  They haven’t let me down yet.  The superb musicians who want to sit in with the Brothers are living testimony to their musical wizardry.  But you don’t have to take my words for it. 

It happened again at the 2012 Dixieland Monterey Jazz Bash by the Bay, when the hot pianist / singer Carl Sonny Leyland dropped by to join the Brothers on the afternoon of March 3, 2012.  The Reynolds Brothers are Ralf (washboard and traffic control); John (vocal, guitar, whistling); Marc Caparone (trumpet); Katie Cavera (string bass, vocals).

It wasn’t a national holiday, but it felt like one from the first notes.

Gather ’round that samovar, children — DARK EYES:

That’s the day when I’m with you!  Summon up the shades of Bix, Eddie Lang, the Keller Sisters and Lynch, if you please, for SUNDAY:

Sonny offers Washboard Sam’s LEVEE CAMP BLUES:

A very pretty version of I’M GONG TO SIT RIGHT DOWN AND WRITE MYSELF A LETTER — not an email, and with no help from Sir Paul McCartney, no, no:

If your romantic activity consists of writing love letters to yourself, then Katie’s question — posed at a rollicking tempo — would certainly be appropriate — DO YOU EVER THINK OF ME?:

Real affection doesn’t require wearing the digits off one’s Visa card — thus, I CAN’T GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT LOVE at a nice Louis tempo, after John’s late-period Django architecture.  What a good singer he is!

PEPPER STEAK is really a close cousin of I’VE FOUND A NEW BABY — with beef, peppers, beans and cabbage making up a truly hot lunch:

What could follow that?  How about a boogie-woogie ST. LOUIS BLUES with habanera seasonings?:

We’re always thinking of you, MARGIE — even at this stomping eight-to-the-bar tempo:

We needed something tender, ethereal after that — so John whistled his own sweet version of DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME, a song with history before Mama Cass visited it:

And to close — a thoroughly elevated version of BLUE ROOM, with memories of Hot Lips Page and the 1932 Moten band:

If the Nobel Prize people ever come to their senses and institute the Nobel Prize for Rhythm, I know the people I’ll nominate.  Wouldn’t you?

May your happiness increase.

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SWING SESSION at DIXIELAND MONTEREY 2012: ALLAN VACHE, JOHN COCUZZI, JOHN SHERIDAN, PAUL KELLER, ED METZ (March 3, 2012)

Here are Allan Vache, clarinet; John Cocuzzi, vibraphone; John Sheridan, piano; Paul Keller, string bass; Ed Metz, drums and master of jazz ceremonies, having a good time and making sure we did as well, on March 3, 2012, at Dixieland Monterey — the Jazz Bash by the Bay.

They began with a rocking DON’T GET AROUND MUCH ANYMORE, with a shuffle beat.  (Allan had changed the title, for all to hear, to DON’T GET MUCH AROUND HERE ANYMORE, a subtle but telling difference):

Then, after Ed had explained his unexpected proliferation of nouns and verbs, he led the band into that paean to familiar joys, BACK IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD:

Many jazz festivals are short on PRETTY — the prevailing winds are loud and fast — so this serene version of MORE THAN YOU KNOW was a deep delight, starting with Sheridan’s reading of the verse:

A romping SOME OF THESE DAYS, featuring Ed.  Himself:

Memories of Benny, Lionel, Teddy, and Gene — MEMORIES OF YOU:

For Bix, for Louis, and for fun — ‘WAY DOWN YONDER IN NEW ORLEANS:

And another pretty tune — how lovely!  Johnny Mandel / Johnny Mercer’s EMILY:

The set closed with a paradox (among the musical vaudeville and tender ballads) — CALIFORNIA, HERE I COME — even though they were already there.  Paul Keller embodies “the walking bass” for us:

May your happiness increase.

A PARTY FOR DAN MORGENSTERN

If you read JAZZ LIVES and the name Dan Morgenstern doesn’t ring an entirely lyrical bell, then something in the cosmos is surely out of synch.

I can only speak for myself — as someone who, since the early Seventies, read his liner notes so closely as to unintentionally memorize them, someone who looked for his articles and reviews in books and jazz magazines, someone who tuned in to WBGO on Sunday nights to hear his presentations on “Jazz From the Archives” as a special treat.

And everyone I know in the field — musicians and writers — shares my enthusiastic gratitude to Dan during his illustrious work (since 1976) as the director of Rutgers-Newark’s Institute of Jazz Studies in Dana Library.  And the larger world has noticed, too — Dan has won eight Grammy awards.

It’s always especially rewarding to be able to celebrate someone while that person is around to hear the tributes in person . . .

On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, from 4-8 PM, at the Newark Club, One Newark Center, 22nd Floor, Newark, New Jersey 07102, there will be a celebration of Dan Morgenstern’s Life in Jazz — with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, music, and entertainment.  The Institute of Jazz Studies at Dana Library at Rutgers University – Newark will commemorate Dan’s contributions to jazz and the university with a retirement event in his honor.

Dan’s musical friends — Randy Sandke, Daryl Sherman, Anat Cohen, Joe Peterson, and Dan Faulk — will be performing through the evening, and there will be three special musical tributes.  The price of a single ticket is $75.00, and you can RSVP by contacting Elsa Alves at 973.353.3798 or emailing Merve Fejzula at fejzula@andromeda.rutgers.edu.  If you can make it, please let Elsa or Merve know as soon as possible — and you might also want to make a contribution to support the Dan Morgenstern Endowment Fund (completely tax-deductible).  Checks should be made out to Rutgers University, and sent to

Elsa Alves, Institute of Jazz Studies; John Cotton Dana Library; Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey; 185 University Avenue; Newark, New Jersey 07102-1814.

Dan has done so much for us and for jazz — !

May your happiness increase.