We were very fortunate that Andy Schumm had three concert-length appearances at the Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival, each with his Bixologists. On the final day of the festival, the Bixologists were Norman Field, reeds; Paul Munnery, trombone; Keith Nichols, piano and vocals; Spats Langham, guitar, banjo, vocals; Frans Sjostrom, bass saxophone, with guest appearances by Michael McQuaid, clarinet, and Nick Ward, drums (the latter in the second part of this posting).
Here are ten marvelous performances from that session!
Howdy Quicksell’s SINCE MY BEST GAL TURNED ME DOWN is unusually sprightly for its rather sad theme. Two conventions are also at work here: the witty imitation of a wind-up phonograph at the start, sliding into pitch on the first note, and the slow-drag break at the end. (They are as solidly accepted pieces of performance practice as the whole-tone break in SOMEBODY STOLE MY GAL, something that Dan Barrett and Jon-Erik Kellso do perfectly when the stars are right.):
SUGAR isn’t the more famous Maceo Pinkard song, beloved of Ethel Waters and Louis Armstrong, but a bouncy concoction on its own, here sung most convincingly by Mr. Langham:
RHYTHM KING (listen to that Rhythm King, I tell you!) falls to Keith Nichols, so ably:
Bix and his friends didn’t exist in a vacuum, though: while they were in the OKeh studios, so were Louis and Bessie Smith and Clarence Williams. Andy invited our friend Michael McQuaid up to the stand to whip up a ferocious version of Clarence Williams’ CUSHION FOOT STOMP, which suggests a healing visit to the podiatrist or something else whose meaning eludes me:
Letting Michael off the stand after only one number would have been a bad idea, so he and Norman embarked on a two-clarinet version of the ODJB (and Beiderbecke) CLARINET MARMALADE, which paid homage not only to Johnny Dodds and Boyd Senter but to Olympic gymnasts as well:
Who was CLORINDA? Only the Chicago Loopers knew for sure:
The Original Dixieland Jazz Band affected everyone who had even fleeting thoughts of playing jazz at the beginning of the last century: here’s their ORIGINAL DIXIELAND JAZZ BAND ONE-STEP, which has no relation whatsoever to CUSHION FOOT STOMP:
Andy Secrest would be jazz’s most forgotten man if it weren’t for the affectionate recall of people like Andy Schumm and Dick Sudhalter, who brought him out of the shadows (he was rather like the understudy forced to step into an unfillable role). WHAT A DAY! is in his honor:
I’M GOING TO MEET MY SWEETIE NOW — always a delightful thought — brings us back to the days of those all-too-few romping recordings the Jean Goldkette Orchestra made for Victor Records:
And (finally, for this posting) another version of BALTIMORE — the new dance craze — a rhythm that’s hot, as Keith Nichols knows so well:
More to come (on the other side, of course)!