Daily Archives: January 7, 2015

THREE FOR PAPA JOE: THE YERBA BUENA STOMPERS at the SAN DIEGO JAZZ FEST (November 27, 2014)

I saw a bumper sticker here in California that read JOE OLIVER IS STILL KING. I might take issue with that, since Papa Joe has many heirs, including that young man from back o’town, but I understand the sentiment.

The Yerba Buena Stompers share that feeling but they do better than just nostalgic affection: in their hands, King Oliver’s music comes alive, and I’ve closed my eyes at a YBS gig and thought, “This is what it must have sounded like at the Lincoln Gardens!”  (Listen closely to the two-horn duet on DIPPERMOUTH if you doubt me.)

I know other bands are playing these tunes — somewhere, even as my fingers race across the keyboard — but no band sounds like the Stompers.

The Stompers are Conal Fowkes, piano; John Gill, banjo, leader, vocal; Clint Baker, tuba; Kevin Dorn, drums; Leon Oakley, cornet; Duke Heitger, trumpet; Orange Kellin, clarinet; Tom Bartlett, trombone.  And this is how they looked and sounded on November 27, 2014, at the San Diego Jazz Fest, playing three Oliver-associated songs.  Beautifully.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls.  It’s the CHIMES BLUES:

And the RIVERSIDE BLUES by Thomas A. Dorsey:

Finally, for the young man mentioned above, the DIPPERMOUTH BLUES:

Some band. Long may they Stomp!

May your happiness increase!

TAMAR KORN’S NEW YORK (with MICHAEL COLEMAN, ROB ADKINS: CASA MEZCAL, December 14, 2014)

Although Tamar Korn hails from Long Beach, California, she has deep roots in New York City — something evident in her choice of material.  Here are two ancient paeans to Gotham exuberance sung by Tamar and her friends, bassist Rob Adkins and pianist Michael Coleman during their Sunday afternoon gig at Casa Mezcal on Orchard Street in that very same city, December 14, 2014.

The first song may be more famous to jazz fans because it is a Jelly Roll Morton composition — late in his career, perhaps representing his final attempt to make this cruel city fall at his feet.  The melodic line is simple but inescapable, and the cheerfully simple lyrics stay in the mind long after more subtle ones have become dim.

JELLYand here are Tamar, Michael, and Rob:

Another Gotham ode, this one from 1931, is DO THE NEW YORK — a much more Art Deco supercharged composition, with an appropriately delightful unaccompanied verse from Tamar.  The composers are listed as J.P. Murray, Barry Trivers, Ben Oakland — which I find pleasing, because Oakland was a distant cousin on my mother’s side (I believe the original family name was Auslander).  But enough genealogy: here’s the exuberant performance:

Thanks to Michael and Rob for their swinging individualities.  And I know that we are grateful that a brightly-colored bird (species Tamar Korn) has decided to perch in New York and gladden our lives.

May your happiness increase!