The very expressive swinging violinist Emma Fisk was given a difficult assignment — to summon up the ghosts of Stuff Smith (violently, dramatically hot) and Eddie South (elegance personified) in thirty minutes at the 2013 Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party. I’d give her and her colleagues very high marks at this nearly-impossible task.
The colleagues are Jeff Barnhart, piano and vocal (hear him romp on the verse to LADY BE GOOD — a feat that astonishes the band — as well as on a block-chord solo on SKIP IT), the ceaselessly rocking Richard Pite, drums; the energized Henri Lemaire, string bass; the versatile Spats Langham (called upon to be Django for seven choruses of uplifting accompaniment on EDDIE’S BLUES), and two guest stars to take us close to the Onyx Club Boys of fabled memory, Ben Cummings, trumpet (hidden behind someone’s coif, but he comes through clear as a bell); Jean-Francois Bonnel, clarinet.
Here they are — recorded on November 3, 2013, nimbly being themselves while honoring departed masters.
IF YOU’RE A VIPER (thank you, Jeff!):
MAMA MOCKINGBIRD (for Hoagy and Eddie):
LADY BE GOOD:
Well played, Emma, Jeff, Spats, Henri, Richard, Ben, and Jean-Francois!
And I know that Emma has a feature set at this year’s Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party called FIDDLESTICKS in honor of Signor Venuti, which I know will be fun.
May your happiness increase!