Here is a concert performance, nearly an hour, of one of my favorite chamber-jazz groups ever, the Royal Garden Trio, in a slightly amended state: Mike Karoub on cello, Brian Delaney on guitar, and sitting in for Tom Bogardus on tenor guitar and clarinet, the eminent James Dapogny on piano and trumpet. This rare delight took place at the Franke Center for the Arts, Marshall, Michigan, on Saturday, January 16, 2016.
Here are the major landmarks on this delightful musical interlude. The Royal Garden Trio lovingly presents these songs in the most affectionately complete fashion — with their verses, an almost forgotten part of the musical / theatrical presentation, even when you don’t hear the lyrics.
LINGER AWHILE [Vincent Rose]
DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME [ Fabian Andre, Wilbur Schwandt, Gus Kahn]
BODY AND SOUL [Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, Frank Eyton, Johnny Green]
I NEVER KNEW [Gus Kahn, Ted Fio Rito]
LET’S GET AWAY FROM IT ALL [Matt Dennis, Tom Adair]
BLUE ROOM [Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart]
OL’ MAN RIVER [Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II] (beginning with stealthy grace)
CLOSE YOUR EYES [Bernice Petkere, Joe Young], as if under the lady’s window in Verona, Madrid, or perhaps Ypsilanti
SWEET SUE, JUST YOU [Victor Young, Will J. Harris] (with Joel Mabus, vocal / guitar, and hot trumpet interludes from Jim)
LAZY BONES [Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer]
SWEET GEORGIA BROWN [Maceo Pinkard, Ben Bernie, Kenneth Casey].
Had you peeked in through my window when I stumbled across this marvel, you would have seen that most odd spectacle of a man seated in front of his computer, applauding a video. It delights me so. . . .not only the three brilliant rocking soloists, but the companionable layering of the three very different but evocative instrumental voices.
The Royal Garden Trio might appear happily archaic — they make beautiful swing chamber music — but they do exist in the twenty-first century. They have, believe it or not, a Facebook page, an up-to-date band website, and three compact discs for sale as discs or downloads. Could they possibly be more hip?
As Jake Hanna often said, “PAY ATTENTION!” I direct that summons to PBS, to NPR, to the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall . . . and I am sure you can add other names to this list. Help people find out about the delicious phenomenon that is the Royal Garden Trio.
May your happiness increase!