On Sunday, March 2, 2014, while the rest of America was watching the Oscars, the Beloved and I were muggin’ lightly with the Ivory Club Boys (presented by the Hot Club of San Francisco) paying tribute to Stuff Smith and his Onyx Club Boys, at Rancho Nicasio in Nicasio, California.
The Ivories were (for this occasion) Paul Mehling, guitar and vocal; Evan Price, violin; Clint Baker, trumpet, euphonium, clarinet, and vocal; Sam Rocha, string bass, and guest star Mike Lipskin, piano.
And before we proceed: the Ivories aren’t a repertory band devoted to reproducing Stuff and Jonah’s hot ecstasies right off the record — so the scholars among us may find a certain liberty in their improvisations. My goodness, they even perform songs Stuff never recorded! But they don’t want to make history; they just want to swing. Four-four, if you don’t mind. Charlie Christian and Teddy Bunn are at the bar, too.
Here are eight rocking numbers from their first set:
I’M CRAZY ‘BOUT MY BABY (vocal by Paul Mehling):
DESERT SANDS (a Stuff original, very atmospheric):
CHINA BOY (Mike strides in):
I’M CONFESSIN’ (with commentary by Mister Lipskin at the start):
JEEPERS CREEPERS (ditto and likewise — hear the band shift into tempo after the verse!):
ONE HOUR (vocal by Clint Baker after Mike’s lovely exposition of the verse):
We were with them two hours that night, and the band was so very rewarding. I’m looking forward to their next gig, their CD, their DVD, the world tour, the t-shirts, keychains, their own Facebook page. Until the real thing comes along, enjoy this set — and there’s more to come.
May your happiness increase!