WORDS AND MUSIC BY RAY SKJELBRED (and HIS CUBS) at SAN DIEGO, NOVEMBER 28, 2015

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There’s a particularly hurried or perhaps impatient species of video-critic who comments on many of my YouTube productions when the musicians have the temerity to speak before playing, “Music starts at 2:30.”  That particular kind of data-notation is true enough, but I like to keep my video camera running, because many musicians are fascinating raconteurs and verbal improvisers. And I think of future generations : what wouldn’t we give to hear Alex Hill say, “Wow, it’s cold in here,” or Jimmie Blanton say, “Excuse me, what did you say?” So the passages of musician-monologue or -dialogue are always interesting to me.

Ray Skjelbred is a thrillingly individualistic pianist — he loves the tradition and it courses through him, but he knows that all journeys are wildly irregular.  So his little band, his Cubs, is always surprising.  They rock, also, at any tempo.  Here’s their performance of SUGAR from the 2015 San Diego Jazz Fest: that’s Ray, Kim Cusack, clarinet; Jeff Hamilton, drums; Katie Cavera, guitar; Clint Baker, string bass — from November 28, 2015.  (Jeff’s face is hidden by the music stand but you certainly hear and feel him — all to the  good.)

Public service announcement for the unusually restless.  The music in the video below begins at 1:40.  But if you skip it, you will have missed an opportunity to learn a great deal about an arcane but relevant subject:

Wherever Ray and his Cubs are, there’s lovely music and wondrous surprises. And I hope to see you at the San Diego Jazz Fest this Thanksgiving.

May your happiness increase!

4 responses to “WORDS AND MUSIC BY RAY SKJELBRED (and HIS CUBS) at SAN DIEGO, NOVEMBER 28, 2015

  1. SUCH an amazing band….

  2. Your lovely words about “Ray and His Cubs,” are well deserved. I love this band, I could listen all night!! I agree with the “what wouldn’t we give” to hear different musicians improvise on recordings like Ray does on here. Thanks to the band, and to you, dear NM.

  3. I am surprised to learn that some comment unfavourably on the musician announcements. I have learnt a great deal about a great many things that I did not know and I always remind myself that everyone has a “story”. They just need to get it out and the day I stop learning, I’ll be in a box in the back of a hearse’ Rest assured, I enjoy all your Jazz Lives series and I live in Brisbane , Australia. I do hope one day to get to play at one of these events. I do a lot of Jazz singing and playing here. If I had a postal address, I’d send you a DVD. Cheers, Wayne (Vocals and trombone)

  4. Just send it to Jazz Lives, c/o Mike, USA. Our Post Office is very good at getting things delivered accurately.

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