A HOT WEDNESDAY NIGHT IN CHELSEA, FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: EDDY DAVIS, JOHN BUCHER, SCOTT ROBINSON, PETE MARTINEZ, JESSE GELBER, DEBBIE KENNEDY at The Cajun, New York City (June 7, 2006)

The scene: The Cajun, painting by Barbara Rosene. In private collection.
The star: Eddy Davis, banjoist, singer, composer, mischief-maker.

I don’t remember details about this particular Wednesday night at the Cajun — which was soon to close to make way for a high-rise apartment building. But my digital recorder stands in for any gaps in my memory, providing wonderful evidence of what happened more than fifteen years ago. Here is a romping sample — CIRIBIRIBIN, suggested by cornetist John Bucher, sitting in for a set with Eddy, Pete Martinez, clarinet (subbing for Orange Kellin); Scott Robinson, C-melody saxophone; Jesse Gelber, piano (subbing for Conal Fowkes); Debbie Kennedy, string bass. It wasn’t “Dixieland”; it was more an evocation of the sleeves-rolled-up music one heard on Fifty-Second Street, at Eddie Condon’s, a year or so later at The Ear Inn: loose, friendly, playful, expert but hiding its expertise. I think it’s a memorable nine minutes, and when I first unearthed this disc, more than one computer refused to transfer it, so I played it more than a dozen times in hopes that I could vault over the barrier. I loved it more each time, and I hope you will share my enthusiasm.

The building is gone; some of the musicians have moved to other neighborhoods, but the sounds they made and the emotions they evoke are so durable as to be timeless.

May your happiness increase!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s