I love that I live about an hour from the jazz-metropolis that is New York City, but I will drive for hours when the music beckons. It did last Saturday, when brassmen Danny Tobias and Warren Vaché joined with Philip Orr, piano; Joe Plowman, string bass; Pat Mercuri, guitar, for a wonderful afternoon of acoustic improvisations at the lovely 1867 Sanctuary Arts and Culture Center in Ewing, New Jersey. (101 Scotch Road will stay in my car’s GPS for that reason.) Here’s some evidence — thanks to the very subtle photographer Lynn Redmile — to document the scene:
and the two Swing perpetrators:
It’s an immense compliment to the melodic swinging inventiveness of this ad hoc quintet, that their music requires no explanation. But what is especially touching is the teamwork: when portrayed in films, trumpet players are always trying to outdo each other. Not here: Danny and Warren played and acted like family, and a particularly loving branch. They have very individual voices, but if I said that the approving ghosts up in the rafters were Ruby Braff, Joe Wilder, Kenny Davern, and Tony DiNicola, no one would object. Phil, Joe, and Pat listened, responded, and created with characteristic grace. Thanks to Bob and Helen Kull, the guiding spirits of the 1867 Sanctuary, for making us all so welcome with such fine music.
It was a memorable afternoon, and I wish only that this was a regular occasion, to be documented by CD releases and general acclamation. We can hope.
I have a dozen beauties to share with you. Here are the first four.
Irving Berlin’s ALL BY MYSELF, and someone in the band breaks into song, most effectively:
Another Berlin treasure, CHANGE PARTNERS:
Edgar Sampson’s paean to hope, IF DREAMS COME TRUE:
To celebrate the start of Fall, AUTUMN LEAVES:
May your happiness increase!