That title isn’t just a pretty Thirties song recorded by Fats Waller, Ruby Braff, Bob Wilber, Ralph Sutton, and Marty Grosz. Although I am incorrigibly secular, my version of a jazz miracle took place a few days ago when I learned that the 2009 Jazz at Chautauqua party was going on, full speed ahead, this year. It will take place, as it has for some time, at the lovely, old-fashioned Athenaeum Hotel, looking out over Lake Chautauqua. Joe Boughton, who has a deep affection for improvised lyricism and wondrous songs that haven’t been overplayed, is once again at the helm. He tells me he’s grown a beard, but I expect that the faithful will still recognize him. And he has once again triumphed over the obstacles that would have stopped an army in their tracks to create this party.
Loyal readers of this blog — if they search for “Chautauqua” — will find that it was the subject of my very first posting. I am very sentimental about this party, because I’ve heard some of the best impromptu jazz of my life there. The party starts with informal music (sometimes the best of the whole weekend, but that’s a secret) on Thursday night, September 17 — and it goes apparently without a four-bar rest up to the early afternoon of Sunday, September 20.
I won’t clutter up this blog with the annoying details of prices, but you can find all of that out for yourself by contacting Apryl Seivert, reservations manager and tracer of lost persons at the Athenaeum — at 1-800-821-1881 or at email@example.com.
I know that September seems a long way off, but it’s not too early to close your eyes and imagine the music that you’ve heard at past Chautauquas . . . or the music you know that the players below will invent. Here’s the magical cast of characters, most of them returning veterans with a few new stars:
Cornet / trumpet: Duke Heitger, Jon-Erik Kellso, Joe Wilder, Andy Schumm, Tom Pletcher
Trombone: Dan Barrett, Bob Havens
Reeds: Dan Block, Harry Allen, Bob Reitmeier, Bobby Gordon, Chuck Wilson, Scott Robinson
Piano: Keith Ingham, Ehud Asherie, James Dapogny, Rossano Sportiello
Guitar: Marty Grosz, Howard Alden, Andy Brown
Bass: Jon Burr, Frank Tate, Vince Giordano
Tuba / Bass Sax: Vince Giordano
Drums: John Von Ohlen, Pete Siers, Arnie Kinsella
Vocal: Rebecca Kilgore, Petra van Nuis, Marty Grosz
Extra Added Attractions: the faux frenchmen with Andy Stein and Joe Lukasik
I know that it is a really bad idea to rush time ahead — you never get those days back! — but I’m looking forward eagerly to this. More to come!