(CAFE) DIVINE INSPIRATION: LEON OAKLEY and CRAIG VENTRESCO, IN LIVING COLOR (Part Two: June 15, 2014)

Good things happen at Cafe Divine (1600 Stockton Street, San Francisco, California) — the food and the North Beach ambiance — but for me the best things happen on the third Sunday of each month, when the Esteemed Leon Oakley, cornet,and Craig Ventresco, guitar and banjo, improvise lyrically on pop tunes and authentic blues for two hours.  I posted four performances from their satisfying June 15, 2014, session here. I was taught as a child to share . . . so here are five more beauties, in living color both in the view and the soaring improvisations.

STRUTTIN’ WITH SOME BARBECUE (with Craig on banjo, delightfully):

BLUES IN F (nothing more, nothing less — evoking Joseph Oliver):

MARGIE (that 1920 lovers’ classic):

And two songs that make requests — one spiritual, connected to Bunk Johnson and Sidney Bechet, LORD, LET ME IN THE LIFEBOAT:

and one secular — I think of Pee Wee Russell with TAKE ME TO THE LAND OF JAZZ:

Which they do.  More Divine Music to come.

 May your happiness increase!

4 responses to “(CAFE) DIVINE INSPIRATION: LEON OAKLEY and CRAIG VENTRESCO, IN LIVING COLOR (Part Two: June 15, 2014)

  1. Don "Zoot" Conner

    Nice post,as usual.The duo is always entertaining, despite all the soup and chicken noises from the tone-deaf audience.

  2. Let’s be fair, Don: the audience is in a restaurant and they are eating . . . the music rises above the chatter, as you say.

  3. Leon has that quick vibrato and sweet tone that recalls 1920 Louis maybe more than anyone else I have ever heard in recent times.

  4. Wayne Moore

    I visited San Fransisco in December last. I’m from Australia (Brisbane).
    I did not know about this venue and must have walked past it plenty of times. Had I know about Craig Ventresco and Leon Oakley, I would have been there every time they were on. While I ama mainstream player, I just love those guys. Len is very Louis but very much his own man as well. Craig has that ability to drive the hell out of a tune but is so very lay back, you wonder how he mixes it. I have never like Rag Time but, as I said, I could listen to those guys blow all night and never get bored. In fact, I’d dealry loved to have had a blow ith them as I spent a lot of years playing Dixieland Jazz.
    Somehow, I’ve got to get back there to have a listen.

    Wayne Moore

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