It was a truly glorious evening of musical camaraderie at The Ear Inn (326 Spring Street, Soho, New York City) but that’s completely typical of what happens when the EarRegulars get together on Sunday nights from around eight to around eleven.
Here and here are wonderful highlights from earlier in the evening — marvels created by Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet; Scott Robinson, tenor saxophone and mellophone; Matt Munisteri, guitar; Pat O’Leary, string bass. I call them “marvels” with complete confidence: listen closely to the inspired conversations that take place in each performance (this is a listening band), the sonic variety — each player making his instrument speak with a wholly personal voice — the melodic inventiveness, the wit and tenderness, and the swing.
For the closing three performances, Scott Robinson also brought out his rare Albert system “C” clarinet with the Picou bell — rarity upon rarity (Clint Baker owns one — it was Tom Sharpsteen’s — and Alan Cooper handmade his, but how many others are there on the planet?) which has a lovely persuasive sound. And the young Russian reed wizard Eldar Tsalikov spent his last evening of his New York trip, happily, here, playing alto saxophone and clarinet.
For Lester and Buck and the Kansas City Six — in some subliminal ways — a romping ‘WAY DOWN YONDER IN NEW ORLEANS with some of the same lightness:
For Herschel, Lester, and the Decca Basie band, BLUE AND SENTIMENTAL*:
And for pure fun, IT’S BEEN SO LONG:
Lovely, fully satisfying inventiveness. Every Sunday night at about eight.
Two footnotes. One (*) is a small mystery that so far I haven’t found an answer to. When Herschel Evans died in 1939, he was not yet thirty. And somewhere I have read that he was married and that his wife was around the same age. What happened to Mrs. Evans?
Two. Some viewers comment acidly (here and YouTube) that people in the audience are talking. But to rage in print at people on a video seems ineffective. I delete these comments, because there’s enough anger in the world as it is.
I hear the chatter, too, but I am grateful for the music, no matter what is happening around it. As an analogy, I think of someone finding an unissued Louis test pressing and then being furious because the disc has surface noise. “People will talk,” as the expression goes. Accept what you can’t change, and bring your silently appreciative self to a jazz club to reset the balance.
May your happiness increase!