Happiness spreads through a room in seconds and tension vanishes. And musical happiness the great artists create — see below! — is especially wonderful because it combines expertise and play. The sounds that make us smile or weep are the result of decades of hard work but these masterful artists know that “being careful” results is flatness. Taking risks is the only way to free and beautiful expression.
So I think of this compact musical experience as a basket of blossoms for the spirit: flowers that won’t ever die, given graciously to all of us. It comes from a Saturday afternoon session at the 2012 Jazz at Chautauqua (September 23, 2012) and the Bringers of Bliss are Duke Heitger, trumpet and vocal; Randy Reinhart, cornet, Rebecca Kilgore, vocal; John Sheridan, piano; Jon Burr, string bass; Ricky Malichi, drums.
Two trumpets with rhythm, you say? A Battle for sure, as they “tie up like dogs” and play Faster, Higher, Louder? Only in the movies. Randy and Duke know Beauty and Song — as do John, Jon, and Ricky, so they daringly begin a set with the very pretty, very soulful MEMORIES OF YOU, which belonged to Louis before Benny claimed it as his own. And these brotherly musicians listen and blend, support and exalt — not for a second deterred by the crashing of dishes at the start:
BABY, WON’T YOU PLEASE COME HOME? features one of the nicest vocal pairings you will ever hear. No one needs to have the sweet subtle appeal of Miss Rebecca Kilgore’s singing explained, and she credits Mister Duke Heitger as one of her favorite singers. I wish they could do a CD together, but perhaps that will have to wait for a hip Renaissance patron of the arts. However, here is their 2012 Jaunt into Beauty:
NO MOON AT ALL was a request — thank you, wise Requester. What a song and what a performance from everyone:
HAPPY AS THE DAY IS LONG reminds some of us of Ivie Anderson (and Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler and the Ellington band) but even if it doesn’t, it is an apt description of how this set by these people made us feel. And after the playful trumpet battle, Slyboots John Sheridan starts off his solo with a nod to the dancer Taps Miller — immortalized in a Basie record of the same name. And there are hints of the dance called THE SKRONCH — on the fourth beat, then you ree-peat, but no matter. The grins at the end of this interlude were blinding, no fooling:
May your happiness increase.