They’re college students — 20 and 21 — they’re very intelligent and enthusiastic — and they play a kind of hot jazz that’s rarely heard these days. And they play it with love. They’re the Original Cornell Syncopators, led by multi-instrumentalist Colin Hancock. This is their five-piece incarnation, with Colin on cornet and vocal, Hannah Krall on clarinet and saxophones, Rishi Verma on trombone, Amit Mizrahi on piano, and Noah Li on drums. For this Sunday afternoon set at the San Diego Jazz Fest, they were also graced by Katie Cavera, banjo and vocal, who has graduated from her own college and now teaches by exuberant example.
The Syncopators have a special place in my heart because they are exploring different areas of hot improvised jazz that are usually neglected. I revere Louis, but this band is curious about kinds of hot jazz that are not heavily Louis-influenced; they often concentrate on bands from the Middle West: all of this is enlightening and their playing has that delightful youthful zest, the way the music must have sounded when it was brand-new, say, in 1924.
WHO CAN YOUR REGULAR BE, BLUES:
Here ‘s a very recent profile of leader Colin Hancock, an intriguing artist and a good fellow in the bargain. And here is the band’s Facebook page. The band has just released its debut CD — the cover below — which offers not only the quintet but the twelve-piece dance band and several other combos in between. I’ve heard a few tracks and it’s marvelous. So far, I think it is available on Spotify and iTunes, and a physical disc is in the works. Details here.
May your happiness increase!