This set — one of the last ones at the 2012 Sacramento Music Festival — was a lovely combination of modern ideas, rich swing and inventiveness, and a repertoire going back almost ninety years. But there was no archaeology, no fancy business: playing the old tunes as they had been in their prime, or reinventing them according to some aesthetic principles. No, this set was simply a gathering of people who had similar philosophies: swing is everything; sweet melodies uplift our hearts; go for yourself.
Leader / drummer Vince Bartels is a substantial man with a gentle touch on the drums, and he assembled a multifaceted band of like-minded musicians: string bassist Jennifer Jane Leitham; pianist Jason Wanner; tenor saxophonist Nicolas Montier; trombonist Russ Phillips; clarinetist Allan Vache; cornetist Dan Barrett — with a special guest appearance by singer Jeannie Lambert.
SWING THAT MUSIC, both for Louis and as a statement of principles:
I WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR YOU:
THE ONE I LOVE, that 1924 pop hit that jazz fans remember fondly because it was the first song — at the Chicago Musicians’ Union — that Earl Hines and Louis Armstrong played together:
BUT BEAUTIFUL, a feature for Ms. Lambert and Mr. Phillips — celebrating their twenty-eighth anniversary — is something special:
POLKA DOTS AND MOONBEAMS shows off Jason Wanner, living proof of how novices with the right stuff become young masters in jazz:
And a Condon-styled CHINA BOY, with Town Hall Concert breaks at the end:
May your happiness increase.