Here’s a classic jazz festival / jazz party set (or at least the second part of one): it could have been a completely disconnected group of stars doing their feature numbers, but they are unified by The Groove.
And it helps immensely that Jay McShann, piano; Gene Ramey, string bass; Gus Johnson, drums, were having a little reunion of the original McShann rhythm section. The band is in a Kansas City mood, even though none of them hails from that city: Erskine Hawkins, trumpet; Vic Dickenson, trombone; Buddy Tate, tenor saxophone; Jim Galloway, soprano saxophone; Claude “Fiddler” Williams, violin. (Alabama, Ohio, three from Texas, Scotland, two from Oklahoma, should you wonder.)
This video begins with Hawkins’ hit — recorded almost forty years before to the day, TUXEDO JUNCTION, then the song Vic featured with the Eddie Heywood band and also the band Ed Hall led in Boston, PLEASE DON’T TALK ABOUT ME WHEN I’M GONE, and a slow raunchy BLUES featuring Buddy and McShann.
Erskine didn’t record after 1971, but he had a rewarding steady gig, well-remembered by our friend Hank O’Neal in this lovely portrait of the man and the musician who got people on the floor to dance, wherever he was:
Perhaps this will send people back to hear Erskine’s Bluebird and Victor recordings — entertaining documents of a danceable swinging band. This post, by the way, is for my friends Nick Rossi and Michael Gamble, among others, who know The Groove when it enters the room.
May your happiness increase!