I first encountered the Original Cornell Syncopators at the 2017 San Diego Jazz Fest, where “they blew me away” with their joyous enthusiasm and fierce determination to get it right while having a good time. Here they are with our friend Katie Cavera sitting in, and here is a second helping. Since some of the original members graduated from Cornell in the interim, I had worries that the OCS would have been a brilliant Hot supernova, streaking once only across the sky. I needn’t have worried.
In the fashion of the great bandleaders he adores, the multi-talented Colin Hancock has recruited a whole new crop of brilliant young people to play the music most convincingly . . . and the OCS is embarked on its East Coast tour, with a New York City gig coming up.
And here’s a recent — and very moving example: their version of the King Oliver / Dave Nelson SWEET LIKE THIS, with a guest appearance by the remarkable pianist Ed Clute.
In this video, the OCS (or, as Colin calls them, the “Syncs”) are Colin Hancock, cornet, arranger, director; Lior Kreindler, trumpet; David Connelly, trumpet; Uche Chukwukere, violin; Rishi Verma, trombone; Kieran Loehr, alto, clarinet; Stephen Newcomb, alto, baritone, clarinet; Troy Anderson, tenor, clarinet; Robbert Van Renesse, banjo; Christina Li, piano; Sarah Cohn-Manick, tuba; Noah Li, drums; special guest Edward Clute, piano:
I find that simple melody completely haunting, and hear a whole generation of melancholy music in it — parallel with some of 1928 Louis and forward to 1940 Duke. A true tone-painting, rendered so soulfully by the Syncopators.
This Friday, September 28, the OCS will play a ninety-minute concert at the Triad Theater (158 West 72nd Street, New York City) from 7 to 8:30: details here. I suggest that if you are interested in seeing this phenomenon, you look into buying tickets. As I remember it — from my Upper West Side days — the Triad is not a huge space. But it will be filled to the rafters with love, heat, and enthusiasm.
May your happiness increase!