One could make the case that anyone can hear STARS FELL ON ALABAMA without thinking of Jack Teagarden or JEEPERS CREEPERS without recalling Louis Armstrong, but I would be somewhat skeptical. For me, the first song is ever associated with Jack — for thirty years — and with Louis at Symphony Hall in 1947; the second one has been sung and played by many people including Billie Holiday and Leo Watson, but for me it is always a Louis song — again, for thirty-five years.
But I know that for most musicians, this kind of nostalgic scholarship is, at most subliminal, and these two songs are just well-established parts of the common language, songs everyone of a certain persuasion knows and loves. As do I.
These performances took place on September 18, 2014, at the Thursday night jam session that is a tradition for the Allegheny Jazz Party (formerly known, in a different location, as Jazz at Chautauqua). I was sitting so close to the band, a position I favor, that it was impossible to capture everyone at once, but I think you will agree the sound and image are worth it.
The band for ALABAMA was Duke Heitger, trumpet; Randy Reinhart, cornet; Bob Havens, trombone; Rossano Sportiello, piano; Howard Alden, guitar (hear his astonishing harmonics on the first song); Nicki Parrott, string bass; John Von Ohlen, drums. For JEEPERS, Harry Allen, tenor saxophone, joined in.
Here’s the leisurely STARS FELL ON ALABAMA:
And the romping JEEPERS CREEPERS:
What better advertisement for the good times and fine music to be had at the Allegheny Jazz Party?
May your happiness increase!