Sometimes, in what’s loosely known as traditional or Mainstream jazz, the band launches into “an old chestnut,” “a good old good one,” and listeners no longer hear the original song, but layers and accretions of conventions, of echoes of past recordings and performances. Although satisfying, the whole performance may have a slight dustiness to it.
This wasn’t the case when Ehud Asherie, piano; Hal Smith, drums; Joel Forbes, string bass; Scott Robinson, tenor saxophone and metal clarinet; Randy Reinhart, cornet, performed their set at the Cleveland Classic Jazz Party, last September 17. I’ve already posted their magical LADY BE GOOD here — exceedingly satisfying.
They did their magic on three other jazz classics, none of them newer than 1929, but making the music seem fresh and new. They weren’t museum curators, carefully approaching the venerated antique with awe and cotton swabs; rather, they seem like little boys in the summertime, skinny-dipping in the music, immersing themselves in it, delighting in it. Life, lived, rather than archaeology.
There are, of course, humorous and loving nods to the past: Ehud’s Tatum; the tempo chosen for WILD MAN BLUES which makes me think of Henry “Red” Allen on THE SOUND OF JAZZ; the Hawkins riff which shapes the last choruses of TEA FOR TWO. But the music itself seems so lively that I thank each and every one of them.
Look out for the WILD MAN!
Have some TEA?
Inhale that floral bouquet, if you will:
May your happiness increase!