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