Tag Archives: Charlie Alexander

“WELL, WHAT YOU SAY, DIPPER?”

Louis Armstrong came to visit us in tangible form on July 4, 1901, and he transformed into spirit on July 6, 1971.  I know that so many lives would have been different — less illuminated — had he not existed.

Here is something in his honor, lest we forget his power to spread joy.

I find it odd that I’ve never seen sheet music of his theme song with his face on the cover — my copy of the song, from 1931, is a Mildred Bailey sheet — but the significance of that eludes me.  Here is Louis’ first recording of the song he would sing and play hundreds and thousands of times.

“Good evening, everybody!”

And if any disputatious readers want to fuss about July 4, 1901, take it up with Mayann, the mother of the “firecracker baby.”  If others wish to quarrel about “darkies,” I understand the impulse . . . but there are other, better ways to use one’s energy.

May your happiness increase!

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THE JAZZ CORNUCOPIA WITH RAY SKJELBRED’S FIRST THURSDAY JAZZ BAND (December 18, 2011)

A few days ago, I re-posted a few videos by this wonderful band  in performance at the Puget Sound Traditional Jazz Society, and I had hopes of more.  Now, thanks to Steve Wright and Candace Brown, the cornucopia has overflowed . . .

As I write this, twenty — twenty — new video performances have emerged on YouTube.  Not only are they notable for good clear sound and clear videography — the band is sweetly spectacular.  The jazz heroes on the stage are Ray Skjelbred, piano, vocal, leader;  Chris Tyle, trumpet and vocal; Steve Wright, reeds and vocal; Jake Powell, banjo and guitar; Dave Brown, acoustic string bass (arco and pizzicato); Mike Daugherty, drums and vocal.

I won’t post all twenty here: the cornucopia overwhelms emails and I receive puzzled comments. You can visit Steve Wright’s channel

There, you’ll get the good stuff first-hand: romping ensembles, lyrical solos, swing from the first note, and a rhythm section that just won’t quit . . . but here are three tastes:

a musing, Commodore Records-in-mind JADA:

Who’s that coming down the street?  Looks like a boy from my home town — that’s Charlie Alexander.  How about a surprisingly swinging WHEN IT’S SLEEPY TIME DOWN SOUTH (all those people are wide awake and cutting a rug in Puget Sound):

Feel like a drive?  Take the Goldkette band — I mean the First Thursday Jazz Band along — no matter how small your car is.  IN MY MERRY OLDSMOBILE (remember, “you can go as far as you like with me”):

I could explain why these performances are so life-enhancing, but you’d gain more by watching them — more than once, perhaps.  Students of what is called “jazz history” in “the academy” should put down their textbooks and enroll for this very lively, totally enlightened intensive workshop in swing: this is music aware of the traditions but happily situated in 2011: nothing antiquarian here.  Not nostalgic — just superb.  And I know “the state of the jazz economy” is just as dismal as you imagine it to be — but this band should be starring at festivals and have a shelf of CDs . . .

Why not?