Slightly less than a year ago I was a happy member of the throngs at the 2014 Sacramento Music Festival. I couldn’t make it there this year, but that’s no reason you and I can’t savor some wonderful music I recorded there. All but one performance is emerging from the JAZZ LIVES vaults (deep and extensive) for your listening, dining, and dancing pleasure.
The band here is led by drummer Vince Bartels — his All Stars — and they are accurately named. Dan Barrett, cornet; Allan Vaché, clarinet; Russ Phillips, trombone; Johnny Varro, piano; Dave Stone, string bass. The ambiance, for the most part, is an unabashed lovefest for the music Eddie Condon and friends made in the Fifties. Not all the selections were in the Condon repertoire, but the band kicks along splendidly without any imitations.
SWING THAT MUSIC:
THE ONE I LOVE:
THE SELFIE MEDLEY (which requires a little commentary. First, I think the selection of ballads — a beautiful thing — draws seriously on the Columbia recording of JAM SESSION COAST-TO-COAST, one of George Avakian’s nicest ideas. I hadn’t known that Vince had a M.A. in improvisational theatre, but he puts it to good use here, asking the audience to come up, surround the band, take selfies of themselves and the band, put them on Facebook, send them to relatives overseas, or what you will. Thus the visual is often a little obscured, but the music is delicious):
CAN’T WE BE FRIENDS? (a heartfelt duo-feature for Russ and Dave):
Oh, joy was certainly spread in abundance. More to come.
May your happiness increase!