Tag Archives: Bohem Ragtime and Jazz Festival

“RIGHT ON IT”: The EarRegulars SHOW US HOW (Berlin, March 26, 2014)

The EarRegulars — that flexible, wise, hilarious, and swinging group led by Jon-Erik Kellso and most often featuring Matt Munisteri — has been one of the pleasures of living in or visiting New York since 2007. (Almost every Sunday night of the year, they hold court at The Ear Inn, 326 Spring Street, New York., from 8-11 PM, more or less.)

This year, thanks to the Bohem Ragtime and Jazz Festival, they had the opportunity to share the good sounds in Hungary and in Germany to properly appreciative audiences.

The EarRegulars recorded their first CD — with Jon-Erik, Matt, Scott Robinson, and Greg Cohen — in beautiful sound.  Want a copy?  (It’s $15.)  Click TheEarRegulars and tell them you saw it on JAZZ LIVES.  If you don’t “do Facebook,” send me an email at swingyoucats@gmail.com., and I will pass it along.

But there’s more: a new video recorded in a Berlin jazz club on March 26, 2014:

And if you didn’t see the beautiful video of SINGIN’ THE BLUES from the Bohem festivities, here it is.

Sal sends her love.

May your happiness increase!

BLUE AND POIGNANT. FOR BIX. FOR US: THE EARREGULARS IN EUROPE (MATT MUNISTERI, JON-ERIK KELLSO, SCOTT ROBINSON, GREG COHEN in HUNGARY: MARCH 28, 2014)

This video celebrates one of many interlocked triumphs.  For one, the wonderful elastic small group known as the EarRegulars (most often spotted on Sunday nights at The Ear Inn, 326 Spring Street, New York, from 8-11 PM) made their maiden voyage to Europe.  They recorded a CD — something the faithful, like myself, have been waiting for . . . for a number of years) and they performed, as a justly featured ensemble, at the 23rd International Bohém Ragtime & Jazz Festival.

Here’s one of their performances — captured with many cameras in rapt silence (as opposed to the homespun videos I’ve shot at The Ear Inn) of a song always associated with Bix Beiderbecke, Frank Trumbauer, and Eddie Lang — SINGIN’ THE BLUES (by J. Russell Robinson, Con Conrad, Sam M. Lewis, and Joe Young.  Matt Munisteri, vocal and guitar; Scott Robinson, tenor saxophone; Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet; Greg Cohen, string bass:

Recorded at the Bohém Festival in Kecskemét, Hungary, March 28, 2014.  More info about the Bohém Festival here.

Now, the beauties of that performance will be evident to anyone willing to sit still and listen. But a few things need to be said. One is the sustained sweet delicate understatement shown by all four players, singly and as an ensemble. No one weeps or carries on; no one has to step to the microphone and sing or play LOOK AT ME, I AM SO UNHAPPY. They trust themselves, and they trust the power of the notes and words to convey the complex messages of this song.

And — rather like the Willard Robison songs of which Matt is the master — the sadness has a slight tinge of wry self-awareness. I’m singin’ the blues, my baby is somewhere else, life is so sad . . . but I am going to make something beautiful out of my sorrows.

And since 1927, when Bix, Tram, and Lang (among others) recorded SINGIN’ THE BLUES, it’s been one of the most imitated recorded performances in classic jazz. Notice, please, that the EarRegulars are not in the business of xerography, of necrography, of exact reproduction. They know the recording; they could play the solos, but they have faith in the music . . . to carry them to beautiful new places that echo old glories.

Poignant and worth several visits.

May your happiness increase!

“ON A COCONUT ISLAND” (March 26, 2011)

Here’s a delightful example of the multiculturalism that jazz embodies. 

What could be more expansive than a band of French musicians (with an American pianist sitting in) playing music created by a mixture of races and ethnicities in New Orleans? 

They’re playing a Hawaiian pop song (or at least its subject is Hawaii) recorded by an African-American trumpet player and singer — and my friend Melissa Collard, too.

And they’re playing it in Hungary. 

Call that narrow or insular at your own peril!

The facts:

The Night Owls, from Paris, play a leisurely ON A COCONUT ISLAND, at the 20th International Bohém Ragtime and Jazz Festival in Kecskemét, Hungary, March 26, 2011.  The Owls are Jerome Etcheberry, trumpet; Christophe Deret, trombone; Enzo Mucci, banjo; Sebastien Girardot, string bass; Guillaume Nouaux, drums.  And the meditative-looking fellow at the piano is none other than Butch Thompson!

The 2011 Bohém Festival DVD compilation can be obtained from order@bohemragtime.com.  See more at: www.bohemragtime.com.

SIGN UP FOR “OHYEAHDAY”!

From Tamas Itzes, virtuoso pianist, violinist, and director of the Bohem Ragtime Jazz Band and its annual jazz festival:

 
1. The 20th International Bohém Ragtime & Jazz Festival in Kecskemét, Hungary (March 25-27, 2011), again, offers a great line-up and different tourist packages.  Because it will be the 200th anniversary of the birth of Franz Liszt, the event runs under the theme “Liszt Year in Ragtime” and we will feature 5 fabulous pianists (Mimi Blais, Morten Gunnar Larsen, Butch Thompson, Paolo Alderighi, Adam Swanson) and the fantastic Paris-based New Orleans style band, The Night Owls. “Festival Only” packages and “7-day Wellness packages” are available.  Visit http://www.bohemragtime.com/en/act.html for more information. 
 
2. LET’S MAKE THE 4TH OF AUGUST INTERNATIONAL DAY OF CLASSIC JAZZ EVERY YEAR.

August 4 is Louis Armstrong’s documented birthday (although he always celebrated on the 4th of July and stated that he was born in 1900), so his 110th anniversary in 2011 is a perfect date to start such a movement.

We have plenty of ideas about how to use this International Day all year long for different projects that help generate more media coverage for jazz events worldwide and would also draw young audiences in. 

But to achieve this, we need plenty of supporters (not financial support, only people who join the movement by signing it on the website). So if you agree (and why wouldn’t you?), please visit www.OhYeahDay.com and support the idea.

Our goal is to get 100,000 (yes, one hundred thousand) supporters (no, not Facebook Like’s but people who sign up at the website).
 
Note that there IS an International Day of Jazz but it is not connected to any birthday of a jazz giant but to the Sacramento Jazz Festival as the initiative came from the Jubilee’s side decades ago.  But almost nobody knows about this today anymore and it would be a waste of time to try to bring that back to life as it never really has been a worldwide festive event. That’s the reason that I found out about the day of CLASSIC jazz; Armstrong’s name is still known around the globe and his anniversary would be a good starting point for such a festivity.
 
Therefore I really am asking everyone not only to sign the idea but to send it around to ALL of your friends so we can reach that high number of supporters. Please, understand that I am only the initiator but this movement is NOT for my benefit, this is for ALL OF US, jazz lovers, jazz musicians.
 
Please sign up at www.OhYeahDay.com

I’ve signed up: won’t you?

EIGHT DOLLARS BUYS A JAZZ WEEKEND!

Eight dollars might buy you a restaurant lunch but it won’t cover a ticket to the movies.  It doesn’t go very far in the world of jazz, although it would be enough for a used CD or some downloaded songs. 

But here’s a bargain!  

This coming weekend, March 26-28, the clever folks who run the Bohem Ragtime and Jazz Festival in Kecsemet, Hungary, will be broadcasting the proceedings online as they occur for the eight dollar fee mentioned above.  And the eight dollars that would buy you a hamburger and drink will also allow you to view the concerts as you like from April 1 – May 31, with unlimited visits to the site (www.bohemragtime.com.)  

The players include the Washboard Wizardz (USA), Nicolas Montier (France) – ts, Thilo Wagner (Germany) – p, Jennifer Leitham (USA) – sb, Vince Bartels (USA) – dr, Bohém Ragtime Jazz Band (Hungary), PapaJazz (Hungary) Swing Manouche Project (Hungary), Balázs Dániel (Hungary) Iván Nagy (Hungary) Penge Benge Jazz Band (Hungary). 

I know that people are used to viewing video music clips online for free, and I’ve contributed to that phenomenon.  But your eight dollars will also support the continuation of the Bohem Festival in years to come — surely a worthy endeavor. 

Here’s a clip from the 2009 Festival — an all-star group playing SOMEDAY SWEETHEART — proof of the musical and cinematic quality you can expect:

(The players were Herbert Christ, trumpet; Matthias Seuffert, clarinet; Tamás Ittzés, violin, vocal;  Morten Gunnar Larsen, piano; Ad van Beerendonk, bass; Nick Ward, drums.)

HUNGARIAN JAZZ RHAPSODIES

It’s not something I like to admit, but until a few hours ago I was unaware of the fine hot jazz in Hungary.  Carol Baer had given me a CD by the Bratislava Hot Serenaders, but my world geography is so weak that I never quite figured out where Bratislava was, although I liked the band.

But I’ve just heard from Tamas Ittzes, of the Bohem Ragtime Jazz Band and the Bohem Ragtime and Jazz Festival.  And I’m delighted to add his site to the blogroll: http://www.bohemragtime.com.  If you are still burdened by a narrow world-view, here are some of the players who have appeared at the Festivals in the past: Paul Asaro, Bria Skonberg, Matthias Seuffert, Nick Ward, Russ Phillips, Paolo Alderighi, Morten Gunnar Larsen, Bob Barnard —  are you convinced?  The RJB has also recorded with Barnard, George Kelly, Zeke Zarchy (!), and Joe Muranyi.

But this isn’t an instance of a European group that needs the visiting stars to bolster itself.  Proof is here, in their  March 2007 live version of Ellington’s BLACK BEAUTY.  The players are Attila Korb, cornet (normally trombone); József Lebanov, trumpet; Zoltán Mátrai, tenor; Tamás Ittzés, piano, leader; József Török, bass; György Mátrai, guitar; Alfréd Falusi, drums.

And here’s more evidence of the worldwide connections amongst swinging jazz musicians — an entertaining (and well-edited) mini-documentary filmed at the 2009 Festival.  Watch closely and you’ll see your favorites, and some players you hadn’t known but obviously should.

I’ll be posting more about the CDs and the festivals to come in Hungary in 2010 — one in March and a Louis Armstrong Festival in June.  Obviously, NOBODY’S SWEETHEART and TIGER RAG transcend any language barriers, as we always knew they did.