A good deal of inspiring music blossoms underground — I think of Mezzrow, and Smalls, and Fat Cat, that paradise of unusual pleasures: hot jazz, creative swing, a variety of games, soft couches from which one might never rise, and youngbloods having fun, playing games, coming in, out, and around.
Pianist / singer / composer / scholar Terry Waldo leads his Gotham City Band there most Sundays from about 5:45 to 7-something, two sets. On Sunday, December 27, 2015, he had a particularly illustrious crew: aside from Terry on piano, there was John Gill, banjo / vocal; Brian Nalepka, bass / vocal; Daniel Glass, drums; Evan Arntzen, clarinet / soprano saxophone / vocal; Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet; Jim Fryer, trombone . . . thus the music was loose, expert, and gratifying. Here are several highlights of that late-afternoon session:
APRIL SHOWERS (where Brian reminds us that Spring is always on the way):
HAPPY FEET (vocal Evan):
ACE IN THE HOLE (vocal John):
WILLIE THE WEEPER:
All of the musicians in this edition of the Gotham City Band were well-known to me, many of them for over a decade, but the new fellow, Daniel Glass, is a stunning ensemble and solo drummer: he listens, he swings, and he has a whole peaceful arsenal of appropriate sounds. JAZZ LIVES readers may know him better than I did, but he is someone special, and I will write more about his various enterprises in future.
Right now, I am going to think of violets descending from the sky, a lovely image.
May your happiness increase!