I must be candid here. Other bands make more of a ruckus. Other bands have better-coordinated bright polo shirts. Other bands have more memorable gimmicks.
But I don’t know other bands that make such beautiful lyrical floating jazz, song after song.
I hear in them a gentle mingling of all sorts of influences: as if Kenny Davern and Bobby Hackett and Teddy Wilson and the Basie rhythm section were their guardian angels, as if the Thirties Bobcats — with the Blessed Irving Fazola — decided to play music for dancing — sweet pastoral swing of the highest order.
The musicians I am extolling are Tim Laughin, clarinet; Connie Jones, cornet; Doug Finke, trombone; Chris Dawson, piano; Katie Cavera, guitar; Marty Eggers, string bass; Hal Smith, drums.
Here are three examples of what they give us unstintingly, without fanfare — as they offered their art so generously at the 33rd annual San Diego Jazz Fest in November 2014:
I’M SORRY I MADE YOU CRY:
AUNT HAGAR’S BLUES:
Please notice the easy tempos, so beautifully maintained, the delicious translucent ensemble interplay, the distinctive tone each musician gets on his / her instrument, the impeccable rhythmic flow, the rocking outchoruses, the overall elegance, the avoidance of cliche . . . the overall singing sound of this band.
Reviewing these videos, if I close my eyes and listen deeply, I think this band the equal of many with larger reputations from the Thirties onwards. See if you don’t agree. I have learned from them at every San Diego Jazz Fest since 2010, and I think it an honor to be in their presence.
May your happiness increase!