These six musicians — friends and colleagues, brothers in swing — formed a heartening community for us at the 2013 Jazz at Chautauqua weekend. Harry Allen and Dan Block, tenor saxophone; Rossano Sportiello, piano; Howard Alden, guitar; Frank Tate, string bass; John Von Ohlen, drums, brought us singing melodies, intertwining lines, a gracefully flowing rhythm section, a sweet inventiveness, music that never grows stale. No sompetition here, just harmony.
A beautifully floating exploration of Ray Noble’s THE TOUCH OF YOUR LIPS (the unsolicited interjection, “Nice baby,” at the start, comes from the lips of Marty Grosz, walking by, who somehow connected me — intent on my camera — with Milt Gross. Who can tell?):
Irving Berlin’s stirring declaration of love, THE BEST THING FOR YOU (WOULD BE ME):
I WANT A LITTLE GIRL, with sweet references to Lester, Eddie Durham, and the Kansas City Six:
And, to close, a compact but still romping FOUR BROTHERS:
And a postscript.
One of the fans arose noisily, declaring, “I didn’t come here to listen to that bebop!” and left in a huff. What can one say? I, too, admire AT THE JAZZ BAND BALL — but there are worlds and worlds of creativity and gratification to be experienced — as displayed by Messrs. Von Ohlen, Tate, Sportiello, Alden, Block, and Allen.
May your happiness increase!