James Dapogny — pianist, composer, arranger, scholar, wry and thoughtful — is one of my heroes. But the eminent Professor doesn’t have much patience for hyperbole, so I will keep it to a low murmur.
He didn’t learn his Swing from a book; rather, he embodies it in playing that is both bluesy / funky / downhome / greasy (these are the highest compliments) and lyrical / singing. He can call to mind the dark-blue shadings of Jess Stacy or Frank Melrose; he can evoke Jelly, Little Brother, Hines, Sullivan, Fats . . . but what he’s best at is off-handedly creating his own singular worlds that resonate in the mind long after he has stepped away from the piano.
We can’t ask Sippie Wallace or Frank Chace for testimonials anymore, but if you run into Jon-Erik Kellso or Kim Cusack, ask them what they think of Professor Dapogny — who is both a Professor emeritus and a “professor” in the old New Orleans definition of the term.
Trombonist and scholar David Sager, who admires Dapogny as I and many others do, has created an opportunity for the Professor and eminent friends to become his East Coast Chicagoans in a concert in Silver Spring, Maryland, on Friday, November 16, 2012. The musicians David has assembled are stellar team players and soloists: Randy Reinhart, cornet; Anita Thomas and Scott Silbert, reeds; David Sager, trombone; Craig Gildner, guitar; Tommy Cecil, bass; Brooks Tegler, drums.
Details can be found here— a Kickstarter campaign to fund the concert, to pay the musicians (what a delightful idea), and to record the proceedings.
I know that some readers will groan — silently or otherwise — at the mention of Kickstarter, because it occasionally seems that every improvising artist is asking for financial support through it, but times’ getting tougher than tough . . . and with all the things that we are urged to buy that will give us only the most brief pleasure (at best) supporting James Dapogny and his East Coast Chicagoans will not only benefit the listener but the musicians.
So I encourage you to consider supporting this enterprise, even if you can’t get to Silver Spring. I have hopes of attending, and the District of Columbia is not my usual Friday destination . . . but this is important.
Don’t forget this Friday date!
May your happiness increase.