What’s hot, has six legs, and floats? Easy. HOT CLASSICISM, the trio of Kris Tokarski, piano; Andy Schumm, cornet and clarinet; Hal Smith, drums, when they’re on board the steamboat Natchez on the Mississippi River — in this case, Saturday, September 23, 2016, as part of last year’s Steamboat Stomp. But you knew the answer already. (And in the name of accuracy, they float even when on dry land — musically, that is.)
Here’s the first half of a hot, historical but expansively creative set that this trio performed for us on the boat: with admiring glances at Jelly Roll Morton, Tiny Parham, King Oliver, Bix Beiderbecke, Doc Cooke, Freddie Keppard, Albert Wynn, Sidney Catlett, Punch Miller, and dozens of New Orleans and Chicago hot players whose names you would also know.
This Morton tune is called FROG-I-MORE or FROGGIE MOORE RAG (I think those are all the variants) and Mister Morton said it was named for a vaudeville contortionist. No doubt:
SUNDAY, a tune that all the musicians in the world love to play, takes me back to Jean Goldkette in 1927, even though the Keller Sisters and Lynch didn’t make it to the boat:
Are your tamales hot? They should be. Freddie Keppard’s were:
A beautiful slow groove:
I could be wrong, but I think PARKWAY STOMP is a romp on the changes of DARKTOWN STRUTTERS’ BALL — something that was being done long before ANTHROPOLOGY and ORINTHOLOGY. The Albert Wynn recording with Punch Miller is also an early Sidney Catlett recording, something the Honorable Hal Smith knows well:
Who remembers Tiny Parham? Jen Hodge does, and I do, and Milt Hinton did. So does HOT CLASSICISM:
What a wonderful hot band! There’s another serving to come, but until then, you might investigate this delight. And HOT CLASSICISM has gigs to come: follow Kris, Hal, Andy on Facebook. You will be rewarded for diligence.
May your happiness increase!