What follows is the video record of a rewarding evening I spent observing — and being uplifted by — James Dapogny and his East Coast Chicagoans on November 16, 2012, at the Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church, Silver Spring, Maryland.
The Real Thing, as we say: a small band neatly yet passionately improvising and recreating lively hot music.
Leader James Dapogny, pianist, scholar, poet, wit, barrelhouse master, is one of my heroes — and if you don’t know his work . . . . where have you been? He assembled a fine band: Randy Reinhart, cornet; David Sager, trombone (who did the hard work of making this concert a reality); Anita Thomas, Scott Silbert, reeds; Tommy Cecil, string bass; Craig Gildner, guitar; Brooks Tegler, drums. No funny vocals, no gimmicks or tricks — just surging, delicate, detailed jazz. An honor to be there! And this post is for those of you, like the writer Gretchen Comba and Aunt Ida Melrose, and many other friends, who couldn’t make it. It was good.
W. C. Handy’s BEALE STREET (in the arrangement that I recognize from the 1944 Commodore session that featured a front line for the ages — Miff Mole, Ernie Caceres, Bobby Hackett, Pee Wee Russell):
Jelly Roll Morton’s forward-looking (1930!) BLUE BLOOD BLUES:
Alex Hill’s DELTA BOUND:
Hoagy Carmichael’s OLD MAN HARLEM:
Roy Eldridge’s THAT THING:
Chris Smith’s TOOT TOOT, DIXIE BOUND:
A lyrical Thirties song, something I’ve only heard when Professor Dapogny is at the keys, COUNTRY BOY:
In honor of the Ellington small groups, LOVE’S IN MY HEART:
Juan Tizol’s Middle Eastern revery, CARAVAN:
The ideal state of affairs, BREEZIN’ ALONG WITH THE BREEZE:
Hill’s TENNESSEE TWILIGHT:
I’d like to see Dapogny concerts like this in every city on a regular basis. Wouldn’t you?
May your happiness increase.