Here are four delicious performances from a concert at the Aneby Konserthus in Sweden — last month, March 2015, by the JAZZ CLASSICS, honoring Louis — with the special guest Duke Heitger, trumpet; Jens ”Jesse” Lindgren, trombone; Klas Lindquist, clarinet / alto; Holger Gross, banjo, guitar; Göran Lind, dtring bass. Recorded for us by Claes Jansson, to whom we are most grateful.
These are four songs are taken for granted as overworked within the “Dixieland” repertoire. But three of them (I am leaving aside DOLLY as a sentimentally affecting but not terribly dense composition) are complicated, full of small twists and turns to waylay the musician who’s forgotten an interlude. They are dance-like, elegant and hot at once.
And this band — the JAZZ CLASSICS with guest Duke Heitger — does them justice. Pay attention to the ensemble interlude in the middle of MUSKRAT, where Duke picks up his plunger mute, and admire the way everyone so neatly takes those racing turns in BARBECUE and CORNET as well. Louis and Jelly Roll Morton didn’t get along, but these often-delicate performances make me think of “Sweet, soft, plenty rhythm” as the highest aesthetic goal.
STRUTTIN’ WITH SOME BARBECUE:
CORNET CHOP SUEY:
Emerson writes in Nature that everything, closely observed, is beautiful. These performances are transcendental embodiments of that. The most overplayed song can be made fresh and lively when it’s visited again with heartfelt expertise. The lessons of Louis, of course.
There is a wonderful concert CD of this band from 2013, which goes beyond the Twenties in the most delightful fashion: Holger Gross would be happy to tell you more about it.
May your happiness increase!