I don’t mean that my title should be taken entirely seriously, but the music that Gordon Au’s Grand Street Stompers made at the Cupping Room Cafe (359 West Boardway) on the first Wednesday in September and October gives me pause. I really feel like a restaurant critic who has discovered a new place where the food is tasty, fresh, inexpensive, surprising — and then has a moral dilemma. Does (s)he share this knowledge with the world, knowing that it will then be impossible to get a table? Or should I keep this information quiet? The CRC is a lovely place to hear music, reasonably quiet, with a very attentive staff and a good menu . . . so perhaps you can tell a few people, but only those who are truly worthy. You’ll have to decide.
This was the Grand Street Stompers Trio — Gordon, cornet, compositions, arrangements; Nick Russo, guitar, banjo; Rob Adkins, string bass (hear his intonation! so splendid!); Molly Ryan, vocals; Dan Levinson, guest star / reedman.
For now, here are some wondrous highlights of the October 3 evening
MY LITTLE BIMBO is a song I’ve only heard a few bands do — John Gill sings it memorably. Gordon’s lovely, loping reinvention is MY LITTLE BIMBO GOES CALYPSO:
PAVONIS is connected to the beautiful bird, the peacock — one of Gordon’s haunting compositions:
Molly joined in for a typically lilting GOODNIGHT, MY LOVE:
She then backtracked through the musical romance with LOVE IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER:
And she then offered Berlin’s very wistful series of love-questions, HOW DEEP IS THE OCEAN?:
Gordon’s BROOKLYNBERG RAG is one of his new / old tunes — consistently surprising, twisting and free from cliche:
And here’s his ONCE, DEAR (which I assume is a swinging love ballad rather than a warning to a potentially erring Dear?):
For Fats! BLUE TURNING GRAY OVER YOU:
Years ago, a test pressing of a Dick McDonough group playing BROADWAY ROSE surfaced, with some hopeful listeners opining that the trumpet soloist was Bix Beiderbecke. That theory deflated quickly (in favor of Mickey Bloom or Bob Mayhew) , but the song is a real treat — a side-glance at NOBODY’S SWEETHEART and GLAD RAG DOLL, perhaps:
For Fred and Ginger: LET YOURSELF GO, with help from husband Dan:
And a rocking instrumental version of YOU DO SOMETHING TO ME:
And by the way, a new GSS CD is on the way . . . called CHRISTMAS STOMP. Even I’m awaiting it anxiously!
May your happiness increase.