Tag Archives: dance


Thanks to Dick Karner of TradJazz Productions for providing inspiration and source material for this blogpost. (You could look into the label’s inspiring hot backlist for some good sounds, too.)

Before we get to Dick’s beneficience, I must ask a difficult question.  Do you know how to do the SHIM-ME-SHA-WABBLE?  Or, like me, are you simply someone who loves the 1917 song?  Hark to the lyrics and perhaps you can learn.


The verse:


The chorus:


Like the very best teaching, it leaves ample space for personal improvisation. You’re on your own.  But you look perplexed.  Before you start to “bounce ’round like a big rubber ball” in silence, I have something that will help.  For the impatient listeners, the music takes about nineteen seconds to start:

Frank Chace, clarinet; Don Ewell, piano, Beale Riddle, drums.  Ewell’s apartment, either Chicago or Baltimore, c. 1952.

Isn’t that brave lovely music?  Please don’t write in to say that Ewell sounds just like Jelly or that Frank imitates Pee Wee: I don’t have the psychic army that will protect you from their avenging spirits.  Emulation, homage, but not imitation: these are courageous swinging melodists getting under the skin of the music to have their own glorious say.

Now you can truly do the SHIM-ME-SHA-WABBLE.

May your happiness increase!


Tamar Rob Block

Most of you won’t need the identifications, but that’s Rob Adkins (string bass), Dan Block (clarinet and tenor saxophone), and Tamar Korn (voice, dance, improvisations) — recorded at Casa Mezcal (86 Orchard Street, New York)      on Sunday, May 24, 2015.  These are the three closing performances of a long rewarding afternoon where these brave improvisers went chordless — allowing them great freedom and even more playful room to soar.  At times I thought of three people heading in the same general direction, aware of one another, but each one doing a singular dance.

LOVER, COME BACK TO ME with a gorgeous a cappella verse by Tamar:

RIVERBOAT SHUFFLE, scored impromptu for string bass, clarinet, dance and percussion effects:

STARDUST (the brilliant request of our friend Richard Basi), which results in a singularly moving exploration — brave and sweet — like no other version. I dedicate this one to Debbie White, who is always dreaming of a song:

It was a beautiful day, so many of the regulars at Casa Mezcal had found outdoor cafes or parks to linger in: thus, it was as if these three brilliant explorers were performing in a living room.  All acoustic, you’ll notice also.  Magical and unforgettable.

If you missed my previous postings, here and here you can savor ten more performances from this delicious afternoon.  Thank you, Rob, Tamar, and Dan, for such sweet explorations of worlds known and unknown.

May your happiness increase!


A delicious interlude: Lynne Koehlinger and Peter Varshavsky do an inspired Charleston routine to  Jimmie Noone’s “Every Evening,” at the 2008 Gatsby Ball.   
Lynne and Peter defy the laws of physics.  At some points, they seem to be moving in slow motion, with every kick and turn clear, never blurred.  But you know that they’re really dancing at an exhausting pace.  Hard work made to seem effortless!  Their routine has a lovely shape: they begin as a couple in perfect physical harmony, then break out for inspired capers during Earl Hines’s solo and the stop-time chorus, and conclude as a pair.  It’s worthy of Olympic consideration.  Why there isn’t a category for Jazz Dance still mystifies me.  Let’s call it Hot Made Visible.
Thanks to SUN, the Singers’ Underground Network (I just made that up) of Meredith Axelrod and Melissa Collard, who passed this gem on to me.  And now, to you.   
Dramatis Personae:
Melissa Collard should be someone readers of this blog know and admire.  Her first CD, OLD FASHIONED LOVE, is a treasure.  Rumor has it that she and Hal Smith have completed a second one, which is great news. 
Meredith Axelrod, who often works with guitar genius Craig Ventresco, has thoroughly internalized the vocal styles of the early twentieth-century in a way both eerie and exhilirating.