I don’t quite remember how we found out about Mal Sharpe’s regular sessions (his Big Money in Jazz Band) at the No Name Bar in Sausalito (Sunday), the Savoy Tivoli in North Beach (Saturday), and Armando’s in Martinez (one Thursday a month), but these anything-can-happen festivities have been a continuing pleasure.
Mal is not only an engaging trombonist / singer; he also enjoys the possibilities of improvising in front of — and with — an audience. So at the same time the Beloved and I have enjoyed the down-home sounds, we’ve also been delighted by the chances Mal takes . . . quizzing the audience, muttering philosophically just loud enough to be heard, having a good time. And Mal surrounds himself with some of the best musicians, who drive the band and provide subtle moments for an attentive crowd.
My title — somewhat mysterious in itself, perhaps — can be untangled or interpreted for readers too impatient to watch all the videos at the start of SUNNY SIDE below.
Here are five slices-of-life from December 23, courtesy of Mal, Clint Baker, trumpet; Paul Smith, string bass; Dwayne Ramsey, reeds; Carmen Cansino, drums; Si Perkoff, piano.
Mal becomes more anatomical than we might expect on his vocal rendition of ROSETTA:
IF I HAD YOU (with the bridge given over to Carmen, our heroine):
Clint stomps off SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET at the 1938 Louis-Fats jam session tempo:
Need spiritual counseling? The Reverend Dwayne lays it out for us with soul on JUST A CLOSER WALK WITH THEE:
And I know they heard this musical trilogy all the way over in Provincetown — I FOUND A NEW BABY / THE SONG IS ENDED / Closing Ceremonies:
Something different . . . unpredictable . . . hot jazz and hilarity intertwined.
May your happiness increase.