“Four Boys and A Dream” was Marty Grosz’s mocking / affectionate title for this splendid little group that delighted us at Jazz at Chautauqua on the first night of music, Thursday, September 20, 2012.
The Boys are Marty (guitar, vocal, ancient vaudeville, head(y) arrangements, and satire); Andy Schumm (cornet); Dan Block (clarinet); Kerry Lewis (string bass). The Dream? A kind of timeless swing that would have made Bix Beiderbecke, Fats Waller, Eddie Condon, Count Basie, and Louis Armstrong feel right at home — and it made us smile as well.
The four tunes would have fit in nicely in a Chicago club circa 1939 but they sound pretty good even now, with or without a cream pitcher of Mrs. Circe’s gin.
‘WAY DOWN YONDER IN NEW ORLEANS:
IT’S A SIN TO TELL A LIE:
TIN ROOF BLUES (at a less-morose-than-usual tempo):
THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR THE SUNRISE:
JAZZ LIVES’ readers will know well Messrs. Grosz, Block, and Schumm. But I would ask you to pay special attention to the beautifully focused and swinging bass playing of Mr. Kerry Lewis — whom I first heard perhaps two years ago with Banu Gibson. He’s just right, and I heard him be the emotional / harmonic / rhythmic compass for a variety of groups that weekend, never playing a loud note, a wrong note, or an unsubtle one. Hail!
And as far as the band . . . What a Dream!
P.S. If you wonder what those blinding flashes are early in this program, silently turning the screen white in the manner of ON THE BEACH, some amateur still photographers in the audience were using flash cameras. Alas.
May your happiness increase.