I was closer to home — Beantown in Beverly, Massachusetts — when Ray Skjelbred and his Cubs played several sets (more than forty videos recorded and posted by Rae Ann Berry) at the 28th Annual Greater Olympia Dixieland Jazz Festival, in Lacey, Washington. Ray also appeared at a crucial member of the Evergreen Jazz Band, which Rae Ann also captured on video for us.
Three of the Cubs were the heroes we know: Ray, piano, vocal, and moral leadership; Kim Cusack, clarinet, vocal; Jeff Hamilton, drums, banter. But two other stars — Clint Baker and Katie Cavera — couldn’t be there, so Ray brought two splendid young musician-colleagues from the Pacific Northwest, whom you should get to know right away: Matt Weiner, string bass, vocal; Josh Roberts, guitar. What music they make!
Here are a few glorious samples: finding the rest is not difficult and worth the clicking and mousing.
BOLL WEEVIL BLUES, one I’ve never heard Ray play and sing:
I’LL ALWAYS BE IN LOVE WITH YOU: what if Kim Cusack had been the right age to sit in with the 1937 Basie band?
IDA (for Ida Melrose Shoufler, of course, “Auntie”):
and a blues inspired by an Eddie Condon Commodore record, BEAT TO THE SOCKS:
and another Condon homage, IMPROVISATION FOR THE MARCH OF TIME:
I think of “Buy them, trade them, collect the set!” but that isn’t right: how about “Watch them, enjoy them, honor this music!” You can find more of Rae Ann’s treasures here.
May your happiness increase!