LIVING THE BASIE WAY at THE EAR INN: DANNY TOBIAS, DAN BLOCK, JAMES CHIRILLO, ROB ADKINS (May 7, 2023)

It isn’t heralded with drums, parades, fireworks, and headlines, but sometimes the miraculous happens. Musically, I mean.

It did two Sundays ago, May 7, 2023, at The Ear Inn (326 Spring Street, Soho, New York) when a singular version of the EarRegulars assembled in the corner that has been their stage and pulpit for about sixteen years now.

They were Danny Tobias, trumpet and Eb alto horn; Dan Block, clarinet and tenor saxophone; James Chirillo, guitar; Rob Adkins, string bass. And here’s an example of their gliding lyrical mastery: the Count Basie-associated pop tune, I’LL ALWAYS BE IN LOVE WITH YOU, written in 1929 (Bud Green, Sam H. Stept, and Herman Ruby). Did the Basie musicians play and sing it in Kansas City then? I can’t say, but it certainly enjoyed a renaissance in 1936 . . . and in 2023.

But let us consider the source material, a very pretty waltz:

It came from a pioineering sound film, with an enticing one-word title:

so I assume that musicians as well as civilians went to see the film and had the song in their minds. But when Count Basie picked it up again, perhaps seven years later, it was not to be a waltz, but a swing number for the dancers. And the Basie way — sly, understated joy through swing — lives on here:

But “the Basie way” is a beautiful paradox: taking life and art with the greatest seriousness while refusing to be perceived as doing so. Literary people will recognize Castiglione’s sprezzatura, or nonchalance . . . grooving without sweating over it, making the most difficult work appear easy. Messrs. Tobias, Block, Chirillo, and Adkins know how in their cells, and show it here. Bless them as they bless us.

More to come. And you’ve never been to the Ear Inn on a Sunday night?

P.S. as of today, May 25, I am still exiled from Facebook, thanks to a hacker. So please share this with people who will get its spirit. Thank you.

May your happiness increase!

One response to “LIVING THE BASIE WAY at THE EAR INN: DANNY TOBIAS, DAN BLOCK, JAMES CHIRILLO, ROB ADKINS (May 7, 2023)

  1. Derek Coller

    Dear Michael

    I have had a special affection for “I’ll Always Be In Love With You” ever since hearing the Benny Goodman Quartet version with Jess Stacy at the piano.

    And interesting to know that there was a film called “Syncopation” before the one of 1942.

    Are you still at 215 Middle Neck Road? I may have a book for you to review.

    Keep forwarding the good noise.

    Derek

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