The Tim Laughlin – Connie Jones All Stars, a band I was fortunate enough to hear for a few years at the San Diego Jazz Fest, remains in my mind as a transcendent listening experience: a completely melodic group with great sensitivity and a wonderful quiet drive.
Here’s another sample of their magic, from the 2014 Fest — with a romper, a groove, and a pretty ballad — each gloriously realized. The players are Tim, clarinet; Connie, cornet; Doug Finke, trombone; Chris Dawson, piano; Katie Cavera, guitar; Marty Eggers, string bass; Hal Smith, drums.
THAT DA DA STRAIN has nothing to do with baby talk or with Marcel Duchamp; like many other songs of the times, it describes a dance that would bring dancers bliss. Mamie Smith, early on, then Eva Taylor, then the NORK, and on. Everyone solos here except Marty (who will on the next performance) but I’d call special attention to Hal, who rocks the church:
Here’s another Twenties song (popularized by Paul Whiteman) with an equally onomatopoetic title, THE WANG WANG BLUES. We’ve looked for deep meaning in that title, but I recall reading somewhere that one of the three people listed on the cover thought that WANG made a good sound once, and twice was even better — so it added a little spice to the conventional she-went-away-and-I’m-so-sad. As far as I can tell, there was no other intention, not Asiatic or anything else.
Now to move forward to 1947, to a song immediately taken up by Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, and Billie Holiday — connected to the film NEW ORLEANS. This performance has a surprise in it: Tim talk-sings the lyrics, and it is a heartfelt effusion of feeling for him, because he has a deep connection to his city, immediately evident in his playing and now in his song:
What a band. How generously they offer splendid subtle music to us. And I count myself fortunate that I will see Tim (and Kris Tokarski) at the Evergreen Jazz Festival at the end of this month, and then at the Steamboat Stomp in New Orleans in September.
May your happiness increase!