Daily Archives: December 17, 2014

GETTING HOT IN SPOKANE

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.

BING AL MILDRED

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.

I was curious about the video, so I clicked here. I was enlightened although only a little dismayed by the absence of Crosby-recognition in this century.  (The collective memory resembles a drop of water in a hot cast-iron skillet, but I digress. Collective ignorance is much more durable.)  But I was intrigued to learn more about Al Rinker as a composer, and any project that brings more attention to Mildred is just fine with me. The Hot Club of Spokane is also offering a free collection of five Christmas songs for your listening and dancing pleasure here: they are a limber medium-sized group with their own personality, which always pleases.  I asked Garrin about the musicians in the HCS, and he sent me a list — although they often work as combinations of six, seven, or eight: Rachel Aldridge, Abbey Crawford (vocal); Michael Harrison (trumpet); David Fague (tenor); Christopher Moyer (tenor, alto, bari, bass, and clarinet); Robert Folie (alto, bari); Steve Bauer (lead guitar); Don Thomsen, Aaron Castilla (fiddle); Eugene Jablonsky, Kim Plewniak (string bass); Mark Stephens (drums); Garrin Hertel (rhythm guitar).  I hope you’ll feel motivated to investigate and support this project, and if you can’t, spread the word about the Hot Club of Spokane and the good sounds they create.
May your happiness increase!

 

THEY’RE WONDERFUL: THE IVORY CLUB BOYS at ARMANDO’S (May 31, 2014)

This is more joyous evidence from a great evening of music created by the Ivory Club Boys — this time at Armando’s in Martinez, California, on May 31, 2014.

The ICB are devoted to the hot and sweet swing music often associated with Stuff Smith and his Onyx Club Boys — a Fifty-Second Street small jazz group of the middle Thirties, featuring Jonah Jones and Cozy Cole among others.  Their twenty-first century incarnation includes Paul Mehling, guitar / vocal; Evan Price, electric violin; Isabelle Fontaine, guitar / vocal; Sam Rocha, string bass / vocal.  This night, sitting in for Clint Baker, we had Marc Caparone, cornet, who will be familiar to readers of JAZZ LIVES.  I’ve posted other music from this evening in half a dozen posts — this is a special favorite of mine.

But here are two more: a sweet one (written by Stuff) and a hot one (written by several people including Puccini).

IT’S WONDERFUL:

AVALON:

The Ivory Club Boys gig here and there, hither and yon — most recently in Santa Cruz, which I couldn’t get to.  I dream of regular gigs, a CD, a DVD, and more.

“Ask for them by name!  Accept no imitations!”

May your happiness increase!