I urge anyone who loves the music to experience it live. For some, that isn’t possible because of cost or one’s health. But even though I am proud of my video recordings, they are not the same thing as being on the spot while beauty is created. And jazz festivals, parties, clubs, concerts can only go on if there are people in attendance.
My readers know all this. But the trick is to make the great leap from an intellectual awareness (“I should go hear some live jazz . . . someday.”) to action. All of us who have said, “I’ll go to hear Hot Lips Ferguson some other Sunday . . . those gigs will go on forever!” know the sadder reality.)
End of sermon.
I cannot attend this year’s Steamboat Stomp in New Orleans, but my absence means there’s another seat for you. It begins Friday evening, November 14, and ends Sunday afternoon, the 16th. In between I count nineteen one-hour sets of music, in addition to a presentation about the Historic New Orleans Collection, four steam calliope concerts by Debbie Fagnano. Much of the music will be performed on the two decks of the steamboat Natchez, gliding up and down the Mississippi River. The artists include Duke Heitger, Don Vappie, Evan Christopher, the Yerba Buena Stompers, Dukes of Dixieland, Tim Laughlin, David Boeddinghaus, Hal Smith, Banu Gibson, Solid Harmony, Jon-Erik Kellso, John Gill, Kevin Dorn, Clint Baker, Tom Bartlett, Conal Fowkes, Orange Kellin, Leon Oakley, Steve Pistorius, and another dozen.
I was able to attend in 2013, and had a wonderful time. Some evidence!
SWEET LOVIN’ MAN by Duke and the Steamboat Stompers:
Steve Pistorius considers the deep relationship between music, memory, and love in A DOLLAR FOR A DIME:
Banu Gibson, as always, shows us her heart, and it’s full of RHYTHM:
and the Yerba Buena Stompers play a later King Oliver piece, EDNA:
INSERT FOUR-BAR MODULATION HERE.
I returned last night from the 2014 Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party, exhausted and uplifted. The exhaustion will wear off (it always does) after a day or two of treating myself like an invalid, nut the joy is permanent. It comes from seeing people make friends through music. The music began with rehearsals at 9 AM on Thursday and ended sometime late Monday morning (I heard the jam session at the pub as I was going up the stairs around 1 AM). The texts for those mellow sermons were based on the teachings of Johnny Dodds, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Johnson’s Paradise Orchestra, Jabbo Smith, Jean Goldkette, Bix Beiderbecke, Red Nichols, Chu Berry, Paul Whiteman, Cootie Williams, Adrian Rollini, Jimmy Dorsey, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Johnny Dunn, Luis Russell, Bing Crosby, Helen Morgan, Jimmie Lunceford, Benny Carter, Don Byas, Willie Lewis, Sidney Bechet, Al Bowlly, Cliff Edwards, Eubie Blake, James P. Johnson, Chick Webb, Jelly Roll Morton . . . you get the idea.
And the performers! Rico Tomasso, Duke Heitger, Menno Daams, Andy Schumm, Bent Persson, Claus Jacobi, Thomas Winteler, Matthias Seuffert, David Boeddinghaus, Graham Hughes, Alistair Allan, Martin Litton, Janice Day, Morten Gunnar Larsen, Keith Nichols, Richard Pite, Malcolm Sked, Phil Rutherford, Spats Langham, Emma Fisk, Frans Sjostrom, Josh Duffee, Nick Ball, Mauro Porro, Henri Lemaire, Kristoffer Kompen, Lars Frank, Martin Wheatley, Jean-Francois Bonnel. . . and sitters-in at the Pub, including Torstein Kubban. (If I’ve omitted anyone’s name, it is because yesterday was nearly twenty hours of travel, which does terrible things to cognition.)
And the friends! Everyone who was there will have a mental list, but I think we all start with Patti Durham — then I think of Bob Cox, Bobbi Cox, Derek Coller, Veronica Perrin, Chris Perrin, the young woman clarinetist, so intent, Jonathan David Holmes, Julio Schwarz Andrade, Andrew Wittenborn — and many more.
If you are wondering, the answer is Yes, I did bring my video cameras. Plural. Safety first.
And I shot video of all the sets, one jam session / concert in the Victory Pub, and many of the rehearsals — several hundred performances. It takes some time to upload and download, so I have nothing from this last weekend to share with you at the moment. But I will.
While you are thinking, “How could I start putting money away for the 2015 WHITLEY BAY CLASSIC JAZZ PARTY?” (for that will indeed happen), I invite you to revel in this, recorded at a rehearsal at the 2012 Party:
All over the quite comfortable Village Hotel in Newcastle (with a very solicitous staff) are signs and photographs advertising the pleasures to be found there, all sharing a lower case “v.” at the start, both to show an intensity of feeling (“very!”) as well as remind you of the hotel chain’s identifying logo. In the mechanism that takes you from one floor to another (I called it an elevator and was reminded that it was a “lift,” because I was in the United Kingdom now) was a photograph of three pillows reading “v. snuggly” “v. cheeky” and “v.lazy.”
All I will say here, as a bow to the Party and to the Village Hotel and to my heroes and friends, is that I am “v.joyous.”
May your happiness increase!