“FORTY AND TIGHT”: THE JOHNNY DODDS JUBILEE at the WHITLEY BAY CLASSIC JAZZ PARTY (November 8, 2014)

I present to you — with pride and gratitude — one of the many ecstatic moments of the 2014 Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party — the finale to the Johnny Dodds tribute set, which featured an astonishing assemblage: cornet, three reeds, three banjos, washboard, piano, string bass, hot violin . . . without ever getting messy.

The song is FORTY AND TIGHT (for once I will leave the etymological questions* to others) and the players Rico Tomasso, cornet; Claus Jacobi, alto; Matthias Seuffert, Thomas Winteler, clarinet; Martin Litton, piano; Malcolm Sked, bass; Emma Fisk, violin; Nick Ball, washboard; Martin Wheatley, Spats Langham, Jacob Ullberger, banjo.

I love this.

Exact and abandoned at the same time, and a triumph of community — notice the musicians’ smiles and tapping feet as well as their common language of signs and experience: a nudge or a shoulder-lean that says “You take the next break,” the circling motion that indicates “let’s conclude this with an ensemble chorus — the language of brothers and sisters who know the tribal signs for joy — people who embody joy as well as understanding it. Look at the happiness on the face of one Nicholas D. Ball, percussionist, to feel that emotion.

Two afterthoughts.  FORTY AND TIGHT was obviously a way of signifying the highest level of approval.  Whether the unspoken references were to physical attributes that gave erotic pleasure or something else I do not know.  Was “forty” in the Chicago Twenties the equivalent of a more recent “a perfect ten”?  In-group dialogue, cherished and partially submerged, hidden from us.

And something technical.  To watch my videos in the best visual fidelity (preferably on a screen even larger than your iPhone 6!) find a tiny icon of a gear  — a toothed wheel — at the bottom right of the YouTube screen.  Click on it and raise the number displayed to the very highest, 1080, for the clearest image.  I also encourage viewers to watch this in “full screen,” preferably on a monitor the size of the living-room wall, but that last bit may not be possible.

Can you see and hear from this video what a wonderful time we had at the 2014 Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party?  (A purely rhetorical question, I assure you.) And there will a 2015 Party . . . let joy be unconfined!

May your happiness increase!

6 responses to ““FORTY AND TIGHT”: THE JOHNNY DODDS JUBILEE at the WHITLEY BAY CLASSIC JAZZ PARTY (November 8, 2014)

  1. Rebecca Kilgore

    Hi Mr. Steinman and Happy Birthday to you!! This is terrific, (but did they need THREE banjos)? Much love from Dick and me, Roo

    >

  2. Ordinarily I would agree with you about banjo-terrors, but these three fellows play so sweetly that I didn’t feel oppressed. And thanks for the b******y wishes!

  3. David (Seventy-Five and Loose)

    Deelish! As my grandfather used to say: שלוש banjos עדיפים על אחד.

  4. Happy Belated Birthday!! (sorry) I can definitely feel and hear the joy that this tune offered at Whitley Bay. Now I am kind of in a quandary…Who wrote this? I am almost positive I know. Thank you dear NM

  5. Ah, you caught me napping! FRANK MELROSE wrote it and appeared on the original 1929 recording — with Johnny and Baby Dodds and trumpeter Herb Morand. I should have pointed it out. Thanks for the birthday wishes — they never get stale.

  6. Pingback: THE JOHNNY DODDS JUBILEE, PART TWO at the WHITLEY BAY CLASSIC JAZZ PARTY (Nov. 8, 2014) | JAZZ LIVES

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s