Tag Archives: Chicago style

CHICAGO STYLE GOES WEST: RAY SKJELBRED and HIS CUBS (SAN DIEGO, NOV. 27, 2015)

CHICAGO STYLE

No submachine guns or taxi wars, simply hot jazz with deep soul.  But the spirit is always moving, never restricted by time and space, so a Chicago circa 1928 resurfaced on the bandstand at the 2015 San Diego Jazz Fest whenever Ray Skjelbred and His Cubs took charge.

For this set, the Cubs (Ray, piano; Katie Cavera, guitar; Jeff Hamilton, drums; Kim Cusack, clarinet / vocal; Clint Baker, string bass) were joined by Marc Caparone, cornet, and Dawn Lambeth, vocals.  Here are the two closing instrumentals of their performance: a 1927 pop classic with deep jazz roots, and a serious blues.

Painted lips!  Painted eyes!  Oh, goodness gracious — what a scandal:

And an intense, easy blues:

Dear viewers and listeners: it is easy to take this music for granted, to start the video while you go in the other room to make breakfast.  And that’s no sin: this music was played for lovers, talkers, and drinkers in clubs (and continues to be). But the Cubs are that rare community, a BAND, where the members support each other and play off of each other, so these performances will repay your most loving close attention.  Something’s always going on, and it’s always fulfilling.  Bless them for the beauty they embody.

I’ll see you at the San Diego Jazz Fest.

May your happiness increase!

Part Two: ANDY SCHUMM’S BIXOLOGISTS (Whitley Bay, July 9, 2010)

Here’s the conclusion of the first impressive performance by Andy Schumm and his Bixologists at the 2010 Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival: Norman Field, reeds; Paul Munnery, trombone; Jeff Barnhart, piano; Jacob Ullberger, banjo and guitar; Frans Sjostrom, bass sax; Josh Duffee, drums.  What inventive melodists they all are!

ROSY CHEEKS:

MY GAL SAL:

SAN:

LOVE NEST:

NOBODY’S SWEETHEART NOW (with a chase chorus for Norman and Andy):

Hot and sweet, lyrical and impulsive — with aural echoes not only of Bix, Tram, and Eddie — but also of Chauncey Morehouse, Red Nichols, Miff Mole, Adrian Rollini, Gene Krupa, Frank Teschmacher, Eddie Condon, and more.

Part One: ANDY SCHUMM’S BIXOLOGISTS (Whitley Bay, July 9, 2010)

Cornetist Andy Schumm was having the time of his life at the 2010 Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival.  Not that Andy doesn’t have fun and spread joy wherever he goes — but here he was with a band of players who knew the music intimately, knew the subtle dimensions of the styles by heart.  So Andy and his Bixologists were an immense hit, and I caught every session (missing perhaps three songs) and I am very glad of it.  The band for this initial meeting on Friday, July 9, was Norman Field on a variety of reeds and amusing scholarly digressions; Paul Munnery on trombone; Jeff Barnhart on piano; Jacob Ullberger on banjo and guitar; Frans Sjostrom, the heroic, on the bass saxophone; Josh Duffee on his minimalist and very swinging drums. 

I will not explicate these performances, because they don’t need my pointing out their delights.  However, they are so much more than pale recreations of records: they are living creative hot music!

AT THE JAZZ BAND BALL:

LOUISIANA:

AT SUNDOWN:

ROYAL GARDEN BLUES:

I’M MORE THAN SATISFIED:

OH, BABY!:

BIG BOY:

BABY, WON’T YOU PLEASE COME HOME?:

And more to come on the other side . . .

THE INTERNATIONAL SEXTET (Part Two)

“Chicago style” is such a misnomer, because only a handful of musicians associated with it were born or worked in that city.  But it is a particular style to cherish — with certain little conventions (flares and explosions) and marked overall by hot intensity (not expressed in volume or speed but in emotional strength). 

Here are two more examples from Anita Thomas, Kim Cusack (reeds), Carl Sonny Leyland (piano), Katie Cavera (guitar), Clint Baker (bass), Hal Smith (drums) — improvising on two old favorites that deserve to be played often:

MY GAL SAL:

THERE’LL BE SOME CHANGES MADE:

Recorded by Rae Ann Berry on March 7, 2010 at Doxieland Monterey.  Of course!