Although the name BABY SODA conjures up weird visions of toddlers working their way through quart-sized paper cups of Diet Coke (tell me it’s all a dream?), the BABY SODA JAZZ BAND has no artificial ingredients and Science has shown that their joyous music extends rather than shortens human life.  Here’s a recent sample — JAZZ ME BLUES from Stompology in Rochester, New York, recorded this June:

Their most recent disc is a delightful encapsulation of their essence.  For those of my readers who doubt that they will get to the Radegast Bierhalle in Brooklyn any time soon, this disc can act as an effective flying carpet.  For those familiar with the delights to be found there, this disc — with equally magic powers — can make a night at Radegast portable . . . compressing the whole experience so that it can reverberate through your earbuds or car audio system.

The music was recorded live on June 29, 2011, by an all-star cast: Emily Asher, trombone, vocal; Adrian Cunningham, clarinet, tenor saxophone; Kevin Dorn, drums; Jared Engel, plectrum banjo; Peter Ford, box string bass, vocal; Kevin V. Louis, cornet, vocals . . . and guests Will Anderson, clarinet; Satoru Ohashi, trumpet; Ed Polcer, cornet; Bria Skonberg, trumpet.  The songs are YOU RASCAL YOU / WEARY BLUES / MARDI GRAS IN NEW ORLEANS / JUST A CLOSER WALK WITH THEE / WHEN YOU WORE A TULIP / WININ’ BOY BLUES / JOSHUA FIT THE BATTLE OF JERICHO / PALM COURT STRUT / SUGAR / NOBODY’S SWEETHEART / GLORY GLORY.

Now, I know that some readers — looking at the song list and not knowing many of the musicians — might sniff derisively and think, “Oh, New York Dixieland — the same routines I heard, better, in 1956 / 1971 / whenever.”  Wrong.  Sorry, but Wrong.

Most of the musicians in this band (with the exception of the Senior Ambassador, Mister Polcer) are still within hailing distance of their thirties, and they approach this music with a good deal of expert enthusiasm and precise vigor.  They have heard the records but they are going for themselves, which is always a good thing.  So rather than this being a routine gathering of players who can do BOURBON STREET PARADE in their sleep, this session conjures up much of the joyous unbridled energy of a New Orleans street band in this century.  It isn’t Jazz By The Numbers.  There is good humor, lyricism, and a deep understanding of jazz as a dance music with cadences designed to make Grandma get up and Shake That Thing.

For more information and delight, visit the BABY SODA homepage.  And if you would like to buy the music in MP3 form, here is the link to do just that.

As a colleague of mine says (it’s her highest accolade), THEY ROCK.

May your happiness increase.


  1. Judy Sadowsky

    Love it! So nice to know this wonderful music is in excellent hands and will be around for quite a while.

  2. That can’t be “Senior Ambassador Mister Polcer”, but it might be his son?
    Just the facts, please!

  3. Dear Joe (Friday), it says ED on the sleeve . . . lock ’em up!

  4. OK, I see you identify the trumpet as Kevin V. Louis, someone I’ve never heard of before. (But I think Ed Polcer does have a son who plays trumpet, no?)

  5. Yes, Ben Polcer (and a very fine player is he). Here’s the breakdown: there are a variety of trumpeters on the CD: Louis, Bria, Ohashi, Ed Polcer, sitting in on various tracks. I could clarify it more but it might require me to master the art of the spreadsheet.

  6. It’s hard to beat the “old timers,” but, I have to say, this is a great group of musicians! I love seeing the enthusiasm in the younger generation. Keep the jazz going, kids!! Thank you NM


  8. Hey Doug. Jared from Baby Soda here. Just to clarify, it is indeed Senior Ambassador Ed Polcer on the record with us. Ed joins us fairly regularly, and it;s always terrific when he does. His son, Ben, was actually also a member of Baby Soda before he moved to New Orleans. Ben’s doing quite well down there playing a lot with Meschiya Lake as well as his own band.


  9. Jared, thanks for the note. I love the group’s swing. I think I first heard an early incarnation at Bar Tabac in my neighborhood of Brooklyn. At that time it included an extraordinary washboardist (Lanois?). Seems like the group has had many members over the years – not a bad thing. Keep swingin’!

  10. i sometimes wished i lived in the newyork area to get this knd of music. you certainly cantget it in phila.

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