Without trying to copy a note or a cadence, Dave Stuckey and the Hot House Gang can take me back into the imagined past. It’s not adoration that becomes cloning: at times he and the band resemble Fats Waller and his Rhythm or a Red McKenzie group, but they all sound like themselves: playful, joyously tumbling around — musically, that is. And Dave’s originals have a friendly kinship with the best music of the middle Thirties, so I could imagine some of them having been issued, in an alternate jazz universe, on Vocalion, Decca, Bluebird, and Brunswick. But they’re here — glowing right in front of us — in this case at the Saturday-night dance party at the San Diego Jazz Fest on November 26, 2016. I’d posted the first tune I’d heard, a rollicking SHIM-ME-SHA-WABBLE, here — and I urge you to see it or see it again, because it is a Hoot and a Holler with serious Commodore roots for certain.
But after that, I moved up to a more stable position (on one side, of course, but the side where I could in effect look over Carl’s shoulder, always a nice spot) and I stayed there. Dave offered three of his originals, all gratifying. And the Hot House Gang certainly lived up to its name: Dan Barrett, Corey Gemme, brass; Nate Ketner, reeds; Carl Sonny Leyland, piano; Dave, guitar, vocal; Katie Cavera, string bass; Gareth Price, drums.
MAYBE IT’S THE BLUES:
Dave’s Egyptian serenade, THE POTENTATE OF HARLEM:
PARDON MY FRENCH (an expression that my mother used to use before saying something naughty):
Those are really good tunes, aren’t they? They are complete expressions, words and music — not just scraps pasted together with Gorilla Glue and hope.
Here’s a homage to Wingy Manone in his Capitol Period, BESAME MUCHO:
and the jazz classic I associate with Louis and Lillie Delk Christian, TOO BUSY:
Never too busy to swing! And the banquet’s not over: three delicious vocals from this set by Dawn Lambeth, bluesy, hot, and tender, will follow shortly.
Incidentally, it is possible that Dave and the Gang possess too much talent, but until the authorities find out, we’ll enjoy the superfluity.
May your happiness increase!