Love was in the air at the Nine-Twenty Special — at the Russian Center on Sutter Street in San Francisco the night before Valentine’s Day 2014 when Clint Baker and his New Orleans Swing Band (with the wryly independent singer Nicole Frydman) played a swing dance in honor of Cupid.
When I write “love,” I don’t know actually how many couples went home smitten; how many new alliances were forged across the crowded room. (No one kept tabs, and no one came up to the balcony where I was shooting videos to announce their new happiness. Why, I don’t know.)
But I do mean love of melody, of melodic improvisations, of great songs, or bouncing buoyancy. You can hear and see for yourself. I am very fond of these videos not only for the music but for the ambiance: from my second-story perch, I was able to capture the whole band and that sweet rumble you hear is the sound of the dancers moving, their shoes making graceful arcs, their whispered conversations and giggles.
The band was our man Clint, trumpet, clarinet, vocal; Robert Young, saxophone, vocal . . . and a lovely rhythm section of Jeff Hamilton, piano, gloriously; Tom Wilson, string bass; Katie Cavera, guitar; J Hansen, drums.
Here are the highlights of the first set. Love it? Love it!
CRAZY RHYTHM, with a vocal explication by Robert:
ONE HOUR, with endearments by Clint:
VALENTINE’S DAY JUMP:
EVERYBODY LOVES MY BABY, as described by Nicole, and an enthusiastic Mr. Baker:
THEM THERE EYES, with charms delineated by Ms. Frydman:
A double-header . . .
I DON’T WANT TO SET THE WORLD ON FIRE (Clint at his most Swing Romantic) with a quick segue into BOURBON STREET PARADE:
SWING, SISTER, SWING, with Nicole giving us the embodiment:
AFTER YOU’VE GONE:
“Had a good time every time I went out.” True indeed, if Clint Baker has a hand in the music.
May your happiness increase!