Jazz flourishes where you wouldn’t expect it, but always amidst its fervent supporters. What follows was one portion of an afternoon concert for the San Joaquin Dixieland Jazz Society, held at an Elks Lodge in Stockton, California.
It was worth the drive to hear one of the bands most effectively committed to a style, a period, an energized way of playing: the music that Clarence Williams and friends made between the early Twenties and the middle Thirties.
The Black Diamond Blue Five was created almost two decades ago by the banjoist George Knoblauch, sadly no longer with us, and George’s friends carry on the hot, earnest, deeply felt tradition: Clint Baker, banjo, guitar, vocal; Leon Oakley, cornet; Robert Young, soprano / alto saxophone, vocal; Marty Eggers, piano; Bill Reinhart, tuba, and special guest Isabelle Fontaine, washboard, vocal.
Here’s a theraputic offering of hot jazz, dance tunes, blues, serenades to imaginary figures, mildly naughty inventions, and a song about obsessions. Just the right mixture:
PAPA DE-DA-DA (“He’s the ladies’ man!”):
I’VE GOT HORSES AND NUMBERS ON MY MIND:
Thanks also to the ladies — not seen on the stand — who make good things happen in hot jazz: Brenda and Jean.
The Black Diamond Blue Five will be making another appearance — and they aren’t as frequent as we’d like — at the Cline Cellars jazz extravaganza that will take place in a week at the Cline vineyards in Sonoma, California. Details here. I’ll be there.
May your happiness increase!