According some serious-looking online research, the average temperature in Spokane, Washington is 48.05 degrees Farenheit. So you know my title is not, strictly speaking, true as a statement about climate.
But there are kinds of heat one can’t measure with a thermometer, as JAZZ LIVES readers know. I know Spokane as the birthplace and early proving grounds for some serious artists: Harry Lillis Crosby, Mildred Rinker Bailey, and her brother Al. Put them all together and you have a sizable chunk of twentieth-century creativity in fine music. But they run the risk of being forgotten, which is sad.
I was thus amused and pleased to hear from Garrin Hertel, swing guitarist and cultural crusader, who wrote me (he’s very articulate, so I’ll let you read his words):
I’m emailing to send you a press release for a project I’m starting here in Spokane with my band Hot Club of Spokane. While the band name probably brings to mind Django Reinhardt, we’re actually more in tune with the original Hot Club of France. That is to say, we’re less concerned about being just like Django, and more concerned with keeping traditional jazz, swing, and blues alive and well.
So, with that in mind, we’re recording a CD aimed at celebrating our local jazz icons – Bing Crosby, Mildred Bailey, and Al Rinker. Most people in Spokane, sadly, have never even heard of Mildred Bailey or Al Rinker. And as you’ll see in our Kickstarter video (which is short – 3min for the main message) – many people in Spokane couldn’t even name a Bing Crosby tune that wasn’t associated with Christmas.
[But] Jazz lives in Spokane, even though the jazz lives that were so influential a century ago have faded. We want to help light up our community again, and you know, play some great music.