Over the past few years, Ray Skjelbred and his Cubs have given me and others immense consistent pleasure. (How lovely to see a band with a steady personnel, a rarity in these times.) They are Ray, piano; Clint Baker, string bass; Katie Cavera, rhythm guitar; Kim Cusack, clarinet; Jeff Hamilton, drums. At the recent Hot Jazz Jubilee in Sacramento, California, held over Labor Day weekend, the Cubs were joined by cornetist (and hero) Marc Caparone for several sets. Here are three particular delights, captured for us by the tireless Rae Ann Berry.
In honor of radio disc jockey [how archaic that familiar phrase now seems] and concert host Fred Robbins, here is ROBBINS’ NEST, co-composed by Sir Charles Thompson, a particular hero of Ray’s, and Illinois Jacquet — a lovely Forties groove even in 2016:
and a sad blues, sung by Ray, the only composition I know that has a weeping rabbit at center stage. (Ray’s version also adds a famous cracker, a snack of my childhood):
Here’s Exhibit A, the photograph from a fascinating blog:
and another ancient favorite, taken here at a nice tempo (some bands play it so quickly that I worry that the BABY is found for a minute only before slipping out of the finder’s affectionate grasp):
May your happiness increase!