Daily Archives: August 16, 2012


Jim Klippert said it best.  “I always wanted to play with a band like this.”

On August 1, 2012, Clint Baker’s New Orleans Jazz Band rocked the house — the Cheryl Burke Dance Studio in Mountain View, California — at the “Wednesday Night Hop.”

The participants?  Clint on trumpet and vocal; Jim Klippert, trombone; Bill Carter, clarinet; Jason Vanderford, guitar; Bill Reinhart, banjo; Tom Wilson, string bass; Steve Apple, drums.

Here’s where you can find out about future Wednesday Night Hops.

And here’s the first part of the evening.

Now, to the second.  The constant delights were beautiful ensemble energy and precision, wonderful hot playing — passion, relaxation, and intuition — no matter what the tempo.  More than one person let me know that the first set was so entrancingly distracting that it got them off track at work . . . . I have visions of people at their desks all over the world trying hard to stay focused while Sister Kate does her thing . . . . for Clint and his colleagues create music that is deliciously distracting.  Their music is a sure cure for gloom, tedium, ennui, Victorian swoons, pins-and-needles, existential dread, coffee nerves, the blahs, low blood sugar, high anxiety, and more.

SISTER KATE (or, for the archivists in the room, GET OFF KATIE’S HEAD):

Woe, woe.  It’s CARELESS LOVE.  Be careful, now!

Thanks to Puccini, here’s AVALON, not too fast:

For Bix, for Louis, for Papa Joe — ROYAL GARDEN BLUES:


KNEE DROPS is an irresistible Louis Armstrong song from the Hot Five sessions. For this post, I tried to find more information on what the dance move would have looked like in 1926 . . .but I am not sure that the “knee drop” as practiced in break-dancing and ballet would have been recognized at the Sunset Cafe or other Chicago nightspots:

When in doubt, SHAKE THAT THING (defined loosely):

May your happiness increase.


Mr. Todd, making a theoretical point. Photograph by Michael Steinman

Mr. Edward Todd, of San Geronimo, California, is a devoted reader of JAZZ LIVES.  He is also deeply thoughtful.  I received the following missive from Mr. Todd just the other day.

Dear Michael,

If I may.

I have noted with great interest the long-standing connection between the jazz musicians you celebrate and the members of the apparently domesticated Feline tribe.

This, at its simplest level, takes its utterance in the desire to call said musicians CATS.  This nomenclature is not to be taken casually; it is as great a mark of respect as can be bestowed on humanity. 

Permit me to speculate on some of the similarities.

Jazz musicians are notably independent.  They may appear modest and even self-doubting, but deep down they are exceedingly proud creatures who know their worth.  They will join together in groups for their common happiness and interest, but they are truly reluctant to be led unless they truly respect and love their leader.  Even then, it may take some time to assemble them into an apparently obedient group.  They have a fine disdain for the ordinary.

They are individualistic.  They do not resemble one another, nor do they sound alike. 

Treat them badly and they do not forget.  The offender may get swatted, scratched, nipped, or satirized.  Treat them kindly and they may permit you a small space on the pillow.  They are particular about whom they love but their loyalty is powerful.

They are capable of an unimaginable variety of sounds; with voices and instruments, they purr, hiss, meow, and caterwaul.  They like warmth — thus, the expression GET HOT.  Just as we Felines can find comfort in the smallest of spaces, the best jazz musicians can find memorable ways to express themselves in a rimshot, a four-bar break, a tonal shading.  They have many lives — not merely in calendar years, but in variety.  They land on their feet.  A few of them are known to scatter litter all around, but most pride themselves on being clean.  Like Kittens, they love to play, and many enjoy fast tempos, racing around when the mood strikes.   

We Felines prize these jazz musicians and admire their efforts to emulate us.  At their most highly evolved, they approach some small portion of our majesty.  Hence, CATS. 

Thank you, wise Mr. Todd!

May your happiness increase.