Doctor Leyland, Doctor Ramirez. By appointment only.
I’m not a practitioner of homeopathy, although I have used some of its remedies with success. But I do know that a basic principle is “like cures like”: you suffer from too much heat, you take in a remedy that increases the heat. Bear with me.
Doctor Hamilton. “May I see your insurance card?”
In gloomy times like this, my first impulse is to share the most effervescent music I can find, and I suppose that might work for some listeners. But today I am taking a homeopathic approach: offer you some gloomy groovy sounds — and please do wait for the musical punchline!
Doctor Zimmerman. Take as needed.
These four eminent medical professionals got together for a consult on Saturday, March 7, under the auspices of the Jazz Bash by the Bay, in Monterey, California: Carl Sonny Leyland, piano, vocal, and moral enlightenment; Lakshmi Ramirez, string bass and mood-enhancement; Jeff Hamilton, drums and philosophical commentary; Jacob Zimmerman, alto saxophone and spiritual journeys. Under Doctor Leyland’s guidance, they performed a Dark Sonata in Bb, otherwise known as the Empty Room Blues, recorded by Memphis Slim in late 1940:
I don’t know why this makes me feel better. It would make me uncomfortable to think it was Schadenfreude — “Hey, someone’s got it worse and that’s wonderful!” — but perhaps it is the immense joy of hearing these artists bring such light-hearted expertise to a dark text. And the punchline makes me laugh.
I hope you feel better, too. Don’t hesitate to call the office if symptoms recur.May your happiness increase!
I’m stunned, but in a delightful way: the band schedule for the Monterey Jazz Bash by the Bay — although it could change — is available here. I have all I can do to not print it out and start playing jazz-chess with my highlighter (once I find it). But you’ll see the reason for my opening emotions: there’s so much good music here, some of it in conflict with other explosions of good music . . .
Now, the schedule is too large to be appropriately reprinted here in the space that WordPress allows, and that is in itself significant. So a few facts. There’s hot jazz, blues, gospel, trad, zydeco, hokum, singers, banjo players, gypsy jazz, washboards, saloon songs, stride piano, boogie-woogie, and did I mention just plain hot music for dancers and for listeners?
There’s a special Thursday night session. Friday and Saturday the music runs for more than twelve hours in eight simultaneous venues (all under the same roof); on Sunday the last set begins at 3 PM.
When I called, yesterday, the Portola Hotel still had a few rooms left at the special Jazz Bash rate; Monterey is a lovely town with interesting shops and good things to eat. Easy. Now, a few possibly-impolite lines. If you are coming to the Bash, I salute you, I embrace you (if we’ve signed the appropriate paperwork). If you’re not coming because you live too far away or because it costs too much or because of health issues, I do not upbraid you, but sorrow with you and hope you will watch the videos I create from the performances this March.
But if could come but you don’t make the effort and say wistfully, “Gee, I’d like to get there. Maybe in a year or two,” I just hope this and other festivals are ready for you when you are ready to attend. Festivals, although they look huge and solid, are fragile affairs, and they don’t survive when there are too many empty chairs in the room. It’s easy, after the fact, to say that “they” did a bad job, whoever “they” are, but you and your attendance are the fuel necessary for the festival car to make it up the hill year after year. I have spoken.
It’s never too early to get prepared for joy, especially the varieties that the Jazz Bash by the Bay delivers so generously. (An All-Events badge is available at a discount before December 31, so if thrift makes your eyes gleam, check here.) Now.
I’ve been attending this March festival every year since 2011 (I missed 2018) and have fond memories. I could write a good deal about the pleasures of this grouping of musicians and fans, and the pleasures of being able to walk around a truly charming town center . . . or the pleasure of being a guest at the Portola Hotel and Spa, with the music just a trot away, but I will simply direct you to the Bash’s website, where you can find out such useful information as the dates (March 6-8), the band schedule (not available yet), ticket prices, and the bands themselves.
For me, the bands and guest stars are the reason to come to a particular festival, so I will list them here (as of January 2020) so you can see the delights to be had. First, the Musician of the Year is my hero Marc Caparone, so even though I doubt there will be a parasol-laden coronation, I want to be there to see the rites and praises. Then, guest stars Bob Draga, Brian Holland, Danny Coots, Dawn Lambeth, Eddie Erickson, Gary Ryan, Jeff Barnhart, Jerry Krahn, and Katie Cavera. The bands: Blue Street Jazz Band, Bye Bye Blues Boys Band, Carl Sonny Leyland Trio, Clint Baker’s New Orleans Jazz Band, Cornet Chop Suey, Crescent Katz, Don Neely’s Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, Fast Mama Excitement, Holland-Coots Jazz Quintet, Ivory&Gold, Le Jazz Hot, Midiri Brothers, Sierra Seven, Tom Rigney and Flambeau, We Three (Thursday only), Yve Evans and Company, and the Zydeco Flames.
Looking at the 2019 schedule, the Bash offered four simultaneous sessions for full twelve-hour days on Friday and Saturday, and a half day on Sunday . . . one hundred and fifty sessions, including full bands, singers, solo and duo pianos, youth bands, sets for amateur jammers, and more. Even someone like myself, who doesn’t fell compelled to see and hear everything, finds it a delightfully exhausting experience. There’s a separate Thursday-night dance and an appearance by We Three, and I quote: “Kick off Jazz Bash by the Bay on Thursday, March 5, 2020, with a big band dance party featuring Clicktrax Jazz Orchestra. Attendees will enjoy danceable swing and traditional jazz at the Portola Hotel and Spa from 7:30 to 11 pm. Admission is $25.00. Also, in a Special One-Night-Only appearance, the hit trio We3 featuring Bob Draga, Jeff Barnhart, and Danny Coots will be playing from 7 to 8:30 pm. Admission is $30.00. Add the dance for $20 more. All tickets can be purchased by phone, mail, online or at the door.”
Did you notice that there is an Early Bird All-Events Badge at a discount if you order before December 31, 2019? Yes, I repeat myself: details here.
For me, a post advertising a particular festival is not effective unless some musical evidence can be included. I broke one of my rules — that is, there are musicians in the 2011-19 videos below who do not appear at this year’s Bash, and I apologize to them if anyone’s feelings are bruised. But I started to go through the 200+ videos I’d posted of various Monterey Bashes, and some of them were do fine that I couldn’t leave them out. You’ll get a panoramic sense of the wide variety of good, lively, inventive music that happens here. And each video has a detailed description of who’s playing and singing, and when it happened.
an old song, swung, 2019:
Becky and the blues:
the late Westy Westenhofer:
Ivory&Gold (Jeff and Anne Barnhart):
Paolo Alderighi, Phil Flanigan, Jeff Hamilton:
Katie Cavera and the Au Brothers:
Bob Schulz and the Frisco Jazz Band:
Allan Vache, John Sheridan, John Cocuzzi, Paul Keller, Ed Metz:
Hot Strings at Monterey 2011:
a jam session with Bryan Shaw, Jeff Barnhart, Dan Barrett, Marc Caparone, John Reynolds, Katie Cavera, Ralf Reynolds:
Carl Sonny Leyland, Marty Eggers, Jeff Hamilton, performing Sonny’s composition that insures that no rodents visit the Portola during the Bash:
It might seem a long way away, but it isn’t. And it’s a truly enjoyable event.
For those who love the music, this reminder may be superfluous. But there are always new people whom we hope to attract into the world of jazz and dance for great fun. So, first, hereis the Bash’s Facebook page, and hereis their website. Several truly pertinent facts — from personal experience. March in Monterey is balmy, and I recall it as shirt-sleeve / eat gelato with Italians weather. All of the music at the Bash happens under one roof, on several floors of the same building, and there is (as I recall) an elevator. There are eight venues — which, loosely translated, means an immense number of choices, enough to produce vertigo. Approximately 154 sets of music from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon. Seven dance floors. All under one roof, a fact worth repeating.
There are also a few names that didn’t fit on the poster, people you’d know and applaud. Jacob Rex Zimmerman, Steve Pikal, Clint Baker, Jeff Hamilton, Paul Hagglund, Sam Rocha, Chris Calabrese, Sue Kroninger, Ed Metz, Jerry Krahn, Howard Miyata, GROOVUS, Don Neely, and more. I expect that the final schedule will be posted soon on the website so that people like me can start planning strategy with brightly colored highlighters.
A little personal history: I encountered the Jazz Bash by the Bay in 2011, on my first visit to California — out of the womb, that is — and this is what I encountered. Dawn Lambeth had a bad cold, but even congested, she sounds thoroughly endearing: with her, are Clint Baker (drums); Marc Caparone (cornet); Howard Miyata (trombone); Mike Baird (clarinet); Katie Cavera (guitar, banjo); Paul Mehling (bass):
And another piece of vintage joy from 2011, featuring Katie Cavera, the 2019 Musician of the Year, in the center, with Clint Baker, Paul Mehling, and John Reynolds on various banjos — with Marc Caparone on bass and surprises (Clint has a surprise for us, too), and Ralf Reynolds on washboard:
Now, this blogpost isn’t a Trip Down Memory Lane, although I must say I nearly went down the largest rabbit-hole I can imagine when I started searching my own videos to see when I’d first visited Monterey. I couldn’t believe: “Wow, you recorded that? And THAT?” The air was thick with immodesty and gratitude.
No, this is to remind people what glories happen at Monterey, and will happen in less than two months: March 1, 2, 3 of this year. And — let us leave subtlety aside for those who need it — to encourage people to get out of their chairs and be at the Bash. See you there — maybe in the elevator or rapt in the first row.
Rebecca Kilgore is coming to New York in April 2019 to sing, uplift, and to teach. In case you need to be reminded of her magic and the music she engenders in her fellow musicians, here’s a sunny example — with Jeff Hamilton, drums; Joel Forbes, string bass; Eddie Erickson, guitar; Carl Sonny Leyland, piano; Dan Barrett, trombone; Bryan Shaw, trumpet. This swing miracle took place some years back (March 5, 2011) at Dixieland Monterey:
Communication is essential, even when you’re writing the letter to yourself in lieu of one you’re hoping to get. And everyone on that stand knows how to send a heartfelt message Express Mail right to our hearts.
The dear Ms. Kilgore is coming east for the best reasons. Hark!
Hereis the link to the Facebook page, and you can see the website listed in the advertisement above. April seems a long time away, but enterprises such as this fill up early, so don’t wait for the crocuses to burst through the ground. Rather than sending yourself a letter, make yourself a gift of enrolling.
I missed out on the 2018 Jazz Bash by the Bay in Monterey, California, March 2-4 of this year. But once again the First Lady of Hot Video, RaeAnn Berry, brought back some good sights and sounds for us.
A particular favorite was this set featuring Marc Caparone, trumpet; Dawn Lambeth, piano; John Reynolds, guitar; Katie Cavera, string bass — with nifty vocals from each of the four. Completely charming, light-hearted melodic swing, with no tricks. They would have been a hit at the Hickory House or the Onyx Club, and what a blessing to have them with us now.
RaeAnn posted all ten performances, but here are the four I was especially charmed by because the songs are rarely performed — and, as JAZZ LIVES readers know, these four musicians are dear to me.
Anyone want to split cab fare to Fifty-Second Street?
PARDON ME, PRETTY BABY:
WHEN THE RED RED ROBIN COMES BOB BOB BOBBIN’ ALONG (another thing to thank Harry Woods for, as Dawn offers us some tender optimism):
LITTLE GIRL (I dream of the ten-CD set called JOHN REYNOLDS SINGS FOR YOU):
I’VE GOT MY FINGERS CROSSED (with a sparkling conversation between Marc and John near the end):
With luck and a GPS, I’ll be at the 2019 Jazz Bash by the Bay. It beats worrying about snow and then shoveling it, which is March in my world of New York.
Why, you ask? Why would a reasonably stable person spend most of a day traveling across the country on Thursday and then do the same on Sunday night? The answer is the 37th San Diego Jazz Fest, which runs from November 23 through the 27th. Many of my friends — musical, personal, and both! — will be there. (Facebook page here).
Here’s a sample of what happened in November 2015:
and in 2014:
a day earlier in 2014:
and in 2013:
Optimism in 2012:
and a feature for the rhythm section in 2012.
Tim and Connie won’t be there this year — Connie has retired from playing, alas — but these videos sum up what I find most endearing about the Fest. There’s nothing like it. And it’s worth sitting in seat 7C, coming and going. I assure you. And here is the schedule: if you can’t find something / someone to listen to, you might not be trying at all.
And, as a joyous bit of laginappe, here is a Frolick from Dixieland Monterey 2011 (John Reynolds, ever polite, calls this song, CALIFORNIA, HERE I BREATHE HEAVILY):
Dixieland Monterey is no more. You — yes, you — are essential to keeping these mammoth enterprises afloat. But you know that.
I wish I could offer you a recording of Mildred Bailey singing this song in 1933, or in any other year. I can’t . . . but I can share this new discovery — Mildred on the cover of this sheet music:
I can, however, offer this version, from Dixieland Monterey in 2012, with Bob Schulz, cornet; Doug Finke, trombone; Kim Cusack, clarinet and worried vocal; Ray Skjelbred, piano; Jim Maihack, tuba; Scott Anthony, banjo; Hal Smith, drums. Choreography by Stomp Evans, vocal arrangements by the Spirits of Rhythm:
“Who gives you that ‘Hi, Baby’?” Plato worried over this, as did Nietzsche. Best not to worry so much.
I am not readjusting Kipling’s famous lines for the twenty-first century, simply reminding everyone that the Jazz Bash by the Bay (a/k/a Dixieland Monterey) is almost here. Think of this blogpost as a public service announcement, more exciting but just as necessary as those reminders to change the battery in your smoke detector.
Here is the schedule of sets for Friday / Saturday / Sunday (that’s March 7-8-9) . . . very good news indeed, with music from Rebecca Kilgore, Marc Caparone, Carl Sonny Leyland, Jeff Barnhart, Dan Barrett, High Sierra, Dawn Lambeth, Jeff Hamilton, Marty Eggers, Paolo Alderighi, Stephanie Trick, Bob Draga, Gordon Au, his brothers and uncle How, the Ellis Island Boys, Katie Cavera, Le Jazz Hot, Paul Mehling, Sam Rocha, Bob Schulz, Ray Skjelbred, Jason Wanner, Bob Draga, Danny Coots, Yve Evans, Frederick Hodges, Sue Kroninger, Virginia Tichenor, Steve Apple, Chris Calabrese, Don Neely, Eddie Erickson, Ed Metz, Phil Flanigan . . . . and I know I am leaving out a multitude here. But the music starts on Thursday night, so be sure to get there early!
Here is information on ticket pricing, ordering, and all that intriguing data.
I think JAZZ LIVES readers who live in California know all about the Jazz Bash by the Bay, for it has been generously offering hot music of all kinds for three decades. If the festival is new to you, and you can consider being there, you should: it has been a consistent pleasure for me since the first deliriously good one I attended in March 2010. I won’t belabor the subject, but if you search this blog for “Monterey” you will find enough wonderful improvisatory evidence; if you go to YouTube and type in “Dixieland Monterey” or “Jazz Bash by the Bay” the same thing will happen. A powerful series of advertisements for those who can carpe the diem while the diem is still hot, or something like that.
These two worthies found love at the Jazz Bash by the Bay:
I am not proposing that everyone who goes to this year’s festival (March 7-9) will come away with the Love of His / Her Life — maybe you are all already spoken for.
But the music will be wonderful. And I write this as someone who’s been there since 2010.
For me, the Jazz Bash by the Bay was a transformative experience.
I had not been to California since having been conceived there . . . . insert your own witticism here. And when I had the notion in March 2010 of going to see and hear the people I so admired in their video appearances, I expected to have a good time in a new jazz setting, perhaps make a few new friends.
It was a life-altering experience: I came back to New York and said to the Beloved, “I’ve never had such a good time in my life. Do you think we could spend the summer in California?”
Fast forward to 2014, where I am writing this from Novato, with serious plans to make the Golden State my retirement home.
So if the Jazz Bash by the Bay can make one couple find love; if it can make a native New Yorker say, “I’ll move to California,” I think its powers are . . . powerful. But enough personal narratives. What’s in store for you?
As always, a wide variety of well-played music.
You can visit the site to find out if Your Favorite Band is going to be there, but here are some kinds of music that will be played: blazing stride piano in solo and duo, boogie-woogie, sweet singing in so many forms, rocking small-band swing, New Orleans ensemble polyphony, trad, Dixieland, blues, zydeco, gypsy swing, classic songs from the Great American Songbook, Jazz Age hot dance music, ragtime piano, stomp, swing, music to dance to, San Francisco jazz, washboard rhythm, music to hold hands to.
And the stars? Well . . . Ray Skjelbred, High Sierra, Carl Sonny Leyland, Bob Draga, Rebecca Kilgore Trio, Dan Barrett, Ivory and Gold, Ellis Island Boys, Marc Caparone, Le Jazz Hot, Jeff Hamilton, Dawn Lambeth, Virginia Tichenor, Marty Eggers, Yve Evans, Katie Cavera, Paul Mehling, Clint Baker, Stephanie Trick, Paolo Alderighi, Frederick Hodges, Jim Buchmann, Eddie Erickson, Jason Wanner, John Cocuzzi, Howard Miyata, Big Mama Sue, Ed Metz, the Au Brothers, Bob Schulz, Pieter Meijers, Brady McKay, Tom Rigney, Royal Society Jazz Orchestra . . . and more, and more.
The all-important too-Much-Of-A-Good-Thing-Is-Wonderful SCHEDULE, which calls for careful planning (“If I go to see X, then I have to miss part of Y, but it puts me in a good place to be right up front for Z. Anyone have a Tylenol?”) — with four or five sessions going on at the same time.
And most important — with a Sidney Catlett drum roll or a Vic Berton tympani flourish — the GET TICKETS NOW page.
I try to hold down the didactic tendencies that four decades of standing in front of sleepy (good-natured) young men and women have solidified, but I hope readers will permit me this basic logic exercise. Festivals where people buy tickets last forever. Festivals where people don’t vanish. And then there is a wailing and a gnashing of teeth — very hard on the neighbors and harder on the dental work. I think of the California festivals that have moved into The Great Memory even in my short acquaintanceship with this state.
(Or, as William Carlos Williams — or was it Philip Larkin? — wrote: “Want it to stay? Do not delay.”)
So I hope to see throngs of friends and even strangers at the Jazz Bash by the Bay. Anything that makes live jazz in profusion go on is a good thing.
P.S. Need more evidence? Go to YouTube and type in “Dixieland Monterey,” or “Jazz Bash by the Bay,” or the name of your favorite artist. I, Rae Ann Berry, and Tom Warner, among others, have created many videos — enough to while away the hours in the most energized ways. Proof!
It might take a village to raise a child. But it only takes Jeff and Anne Barnhart to entertain an audience for an hour. Jeff (piano, vocals, puns) and wife Anne (flute, voice, comedy and organization) held a group in thrall at the 2013 Dixieland Monterey / Jazz Bash by the Bay — with a delightfully varied program, mixing stride piano, sweet and raucous singing, vaudeville, old songs and new, sentimental melodies (that’s a compliment), Broadway and film songs. It all swung; it was all expertly done and masterfully improvised.
Ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages, I present IVORY& GOLD (named after aspects of their respective instruments), Jeff and Anne Barnhart!
BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN / PINEAPPLE RAG:
A wild and woolly version of THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER YOU:
WATER FROM AN ANCIENT WELL:
EXACTLY LIKE YOU:
ALICE IN WONDERLAND:
IT’S THE TALK OF THE TOWN:
For the felines among us, MEMORY:
Bob Barta’s I’M IN HEAVEN:
TENDER IS THE NIGHT / I GOT RHYTHM:
You can follow IVORY&GOLD here — Jeff and Anne are always on the move, which means you have a better-than-average chance of seeing and hearing them in person someday soon. Jeff’s singular website can be found here.
Warming us all up in the best ways are John Reynolds, guitar / whistle; Ralf Reynolds, washboard; Marc Caparone, cornet / vocal; Katie Cavera, string bass; Clint Baker, clarinet / vocal — at Dixieland Monterey / Jazz Bash by the Bay, March 3, 2013, with repertoire honoring Bing, Louis, Clarence Williams, Punch Miller, early Disney, and the sweet energies of the Thirties. Guest pianist David Boeddinghaus joins in for the final three songs.
Although he is politely amused, never aggressive, pianist / singer / composer Carl Sonny Leyland is obviously a powerful force — for good.
This is especially true when he sits down at the piano, as he did in a rare solo session at the 2013 Dixieland Monterey Jazz Bash by the Bay. It was also refreshing to see Carl in front of an audience of devout fans, who knew his compositions and wanted to hear them. Their enthusiasm made it possible for everyone in the room — and now everyone reading this blogpost — to hear more of Carl’s own compositions, which are (like their composer) spicy, surprising, and anything but formulaic.
Here comes Father Leyland!
ALMOND JOYS (with delighted dancers — a serendipitous echo of JAMMIN’ THE BLUES):
ARGYLE AVENUE BREAKDOWN:
WILLIE THE WEEPER:
RAT CATCHER’S BLUES:
Thank you, Carl, for that seismic motion that cheers us.
I waited to post this until the British heir to the throne safely entered this world, so as not to draw attention from that monarch-to-be. But here’s another royal event, the jazz coronation of Howard Miyata as Musician of the Year on March 2, 2013, at Dixieland Monterey / the Jazz Bash by the Bay. His regal attendants include Susie Miyata, Gordon, Brandon, and Justin Au (nephews three), and the High Sierra Jazz Band, with special commentary by Pieter Meijers and Bryan Shaw.
Where HAIL TO THE CHIEF meets TIGER RAG, and where “catcalls” are a good thing. Congratulations to Uncle How!
Here’s a masterful swing session recorded on March 2, 2013, at Dixieland Monterey / Jazz Bash by the Bay, featuring Allan Vache, clarinet; John Sheridan, piano (and leader for this set); John Cocuzzi, vibraphone / vocal; Paul Keller, string bass; Ed Metz, drums.
Characteristically, they draw inspiration from the best sources: Goodman, Ellington, Ray Noble, Lunceford, Charlie Christian, jazz and pop classics from the Swing Era and earlier — for leisurely yet intense performances solidly based on smooth rhythmic propulsion and logical melodic improvisations. For this set, John Sheridan was appointed leader: a role he takes to modestly yet with style — like his approach to the piano. You’ll also have the pleasure of a few of John Cocuzzi’s slyly irresistible vocals, Allan Vache’s fluid clarinet playing, and superb rhythmic playing from Paul Keller and Ed Metz.
POLKA DOTS AND MOONBEAMS, by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen, was Frank Sinatra’s first big hit record.
Although the lyrics take odd turns — initially one stumbles over the idea of a “pug-nosed dream” as the brand-new Love Object, it remains an endearing song. Lester Young, Clifford Brown, Paul Desmond, Glenn Miller, and Wes Montgomery recorded it, among others.
The song seemed especially endearing this past March when Dawn Lambeth sang it during a Van Heusen tribute set at Dixieland Monterey / Jazz Bash by the Bay, accompanied by Yve Evans and friends.
One of my favorite singers, Dawn is a sophisticated artist who manages to make the dream-castles she creates seem real, withour straining. Easy and casual; she summons up deep emotions without feeling the need to act them out. A performance by Dawn lingers in the memory with sweet swing. Her song winds its way into our hearts.
Incidentally, the song has a verse that no one sings — a very brief prelude to introduce the story of love found in a garden:
Would you care to hear the strangest story? / At least it may seem strange to you. / If you saw it in a moving picture / You would say it couldn’t be true.
Readers of JAZZ LIVES know Gordon Au (youthful brass Maestro / composer / arranger / occasional vocalist) but may be less familiar with his gifted younger siblings — Justin (trumpet) and Brandon (trombone). They’ve played jazz festivals as the Au Brothers Jazz Band, keeping family ties strong with the addition of Howard (Uncle How) Miyata on tuba. Friends who round out the band are guitarist / banjoist / vocalist Katie Cavera and swing percussionist Danny Coots. On paper, especially for those used to the “traditional” line-up, this combination might look unorthodox, but it works beautifully. I can prove it!
They’ve just released their debut CD, aptly called THE AU BROTHERS TAKE OFF! (with witty art by Molly Reeves of the Red Skunk Gipzee band, and characteristically literate liner notes by Gordon).
The CD features a few chestnuts given new life — JELLY ROLL (with a vocal by Uncle How that is reminiscent of a good bakery) and LIMEHOUSE BLUES, several songs from a century ago — WHEN FRANCIS DANCES WITH ME (vocal by the choreographic Katie) and CENTRAL, GIVE ME BACK MY DIME (a song new to me but one that gives Brandon an opportunity to rail at the limitations of the “new” technology when it’s involved in romance) — and originals by Gordon which show his range from wooing to hilarious, from swing to comedic grotesquerie: PISMO BEACH PARADE, STINKY FEET BLUES (not what you might expect), CAPITAL-BOUND, HOW COULD I SAY THAT I LOVE YOU, TANGO OF LOST LOVES, BROOKLYNBURG RAG — and a wonderful collage of themes from jazz classics, BIG CHIEF DADA’S AXE OF PLENTY STRAIN. The interplay between the horns is marvelous; the rhythm section rocks, and the whole enterprises sits comfortably somewhere between the Hot Five, Gil Evans, Tom Lehrer, and Spike Jones, the balance shifting from song to song.
You can find out more about the band (their schedule of future appearances) and the CD here, and the Brothers have generously posted many videos of the band on this site.
I will take this opportunity to add to the Brothers’ video hoard — for current watchers and future generations as well as life forms on other planets who might be vibrating to the gigabytes in interstellar space — with some engaging evidence of the ABJB in action at the 2013 Jazz Fest by the Bay in Monterey, California. Gordon’s casual wardrobe was especially arranged by American Airlines’ baggage handlers.
PISMO BEACH PARADE:
PENNIES FROM HEAVEN:
HOW CAN I SAY THAT I LOVE YOU?:
TANGO OF LOST LOVES:
WHEN FRANCIS DANCES WITH ME:
In the words of the 1933 LAUGHIN’ LOUIE, “Take off, Gate!”
I am back home and back at the computer one day after the 2013 Jazz Bash by the Bay (or Dixieland Monterey for those who like alternatives): it was quite fine on many levels. I didn’t video quite as much as I have done in past years, but this was because I had made a conscious decision to behave with greater rationality . . . rather than seeing how many sets I could cram into the weekend and arriving home with a cold or a cough that would take two weeks to shake off. But there will be videos, I promise.
I heard splendid music from Carl Sonny Leyland in a solo set full of his originals; I encountered Ivory and Gold for the first time, although I have known Jeff and Anne Barnhart — wonderful variety of sounds; their characteristic wit; a great presentation. The Allan Vache – John Cocuzzi – John Sheridan – Paul Keller – Ed Metz group rocked (a highlight was an extended IN A MELLOTONE); the splendid singer Dawn Lambeth appeared with a number of bands and made us feel better and better as she sang; Marc Caparone appeared as a guest star with High Sierra — his teamwork with Bryan Shaw is astonishing; Jim Fryer had a rare and delightful solo set; the Reynolds Brothers with Clint Baker caused seismic shifts of the most rewarding kind. Howard Miyata was crowned Musician of the Year 2013 in a ceremony both goofy and touching, and his nephews Gordon, Justin, and Brandon swung out with the noble help of Katie Cavera and Danny Coots.
And I know other attendees had their own version of an exquisite weekend while listening to all the other bands and soloists on the program.
Did you miss it? Were you being wisely frugal? Did it pass you by? Don’t despair: a 2014 Jazz Bash by the Bay is solidly in the works, with these artists and more — Becky Kilgore, Dan Barrett, Paolo Alderighi, the Reynolds Brothers, Eddie Erickson, Bob Draga, the Au Brothers, High Sierra, Bob Schulz’ Frisco Jazz Band, Danny Coots, Phil Flanigan, Stephanie Trick, Sue Kroninger, Carl Sonny Leyland, High Sierra, Crown Syncopators, and more. (And without being too didactic, I will point out that these enterprises rely on your tangible support — financial / physical — or they evaporate. Look around for the sad evidence.)
It will be held March 7-8-9, 2014. You may call 831.675.0298 or visit here for more information. I will provide updates as I know them.
On to a related subject. You are encountering JAZZ LIVES through a computer, an iPad, a phone or some other electronic gizmo. And probably you think nothing of it. But for other members of the jazz community, this is a terrifying kind of esoterica.
I met several charming ladies of a certain age (one doesn’t ask) at the Bash who told me that they were pining away for want of gallant male swains with whom to dance. In each case, the ladies had been happily married for a long time; their husbands had died. And unattached men seem not only fragile but in short supply. So — if you are a single fellow out there, with or without two-tone shoes, and you can dance, there are willing partners a-plenty at these festivals.
The second part of my thinking goes back to our easy reliance on technology. Since I have had a life-changing experience on Craigslist (of the best sort), I said to each of the damsels, “Do you have a computer?” No. One had a computer but her son used it and she had no idea how to on her own. In each case, it was as if I had asked, “Do you know how to speak Sanskrit?” I was all ready to say, “I know there are music-loving men of your generation who would be happy to dance with you — you could go to STRICTLY PLATONIC or ACTIVITY PARTNERS (whatever it is now called) on Craigslist — and gratifying things would happen.” But no.
So, I propose this as a generous act for a segment of the JAZZ LIVES readership. If you know someone, Auntie or Grandma or the Lady Two Houses Down, and she loves to dance . . . either help her out on your computer OR show her how to operate one. I think this would be an act of deep swinging charity. I know that people say, “Oh, no! I don’t go on the computer! I could get killed! I could get my identity stolen!” These fears have some basis in reality, I admit . . . but going to your grave without a partner is, to me, a sorrowful idea.
The music doesn’t start for another ten days, give or take — but we’re excited about the 2013 Jazz Bash by the Bay (or you can call it Dixieland Monterey . . . call it what you will as long as you support it by your presence!).
The Beloved and I will be there for as much of it as possible. The music begins on Thursday night (Feb. 28, if my dates are right) with a special benefit concert by “We3” — Jeff Barnhart, Danny Coots, and Bob Draga — and runs like an express train until Sunday, March 3, late in the afternoon.
Here‘s the schedule. And although my counting skills are imperfect, I see 149 or so sets in that weekend — because of simultaneous action in a variety of rooms. What this means to me: Marc Caparone, Dawn Lambeth, Jeff Barnhart, Anne Barhart, Bryan Shaw, Howard Miyata, John Reynolds, Clint Baker, Ralf Reynolds, Katie Cavera, Carl Sonny Leyland, Banu Gibson, John Sheridan, John Cocuzzi, Allan Vache, Ed Metz, Paul Keller, Sue Kroninger, Eddie Erickson, Chris Calabrese, Jim Fryer, Danny Coots, Jeff Hamilton, Virginia Tichenor, Marty Eggers, Gordon Au, Justin Au, Brandon Au, David Boeddinghaus, Jason Wanner, Ray Templin . . . and you can add your own favorites, heroes, heroines, and heartthrobs.
Here‘s ticket information. Few people I know are moved to take positive action because of fear and dread, but the evidence speaks for itself: many jazz festivals have vanished or morphed unrecognizably before vanishing: join us at the Jazz Bash by the Bay!
And for those readers who say, “I’m not convinced. I need evidence before I get in the car, find someone to walk the dog, and unstrap my wallet,” will this do? Recorded on March 2, 2012 — something to provoke SMILES:
I’m happy, excited, bewildered, and reaching for the oaktag and the colored Sharpies. No arts and crafts project is on the horizon, but Dixieland Monterey’s JAZZ BASH BY THE BAY has just published its 2013 schedule. This moment is always a combination of elation and puzzlement. “Are all my favorite bands playing or am I dreaming?” to quote a late-Thirties record. Yes, there’s John Sheridan and Jeff Barnhart, Carl Sonny Leyland and the Au Brothers, High Sierra, The Reynolds Brothers, David Boeddinghaus, Banu Gibson, Katie Cavera, Marc Caparone, Eddie Erickson, Sue Kroninger, Danny Coots, Howard Miyata, Pieter Meijers, Allan Vache, Bob Draga, Ivory and Gold, Jim Fryer, Titan Hot Seven, John Cocuzzi, Virginia Tichenor, Marty Eggers, Ivory and Gold, Frederick Hodges, We 3, Jerry Krahn, Ed Metz, Paul Keller, and more . . .
That’s wonderful. Then the headache starts to creep up my neck. “All right. I have to see X but Y is playing at the same time, and Z starts a half-hour later. Where shall I go?”
We should all have such problems. Plot out your perfect weekend — including dance lessons and a Thursday-night concert by We 3 (Barnhart, Coots, Draga) to kick things off properly.
I know it’s wise to live in the moment. The time we rush away we don’t get back. But there is a lot to be said for having something to look forward to. I don’t have a 2013 wall calendar yet, but the first thing I will put on it will be
And the punctual folks at the Bash have even posted a list of the bands and musicians who will be playing that weekend. Here goes:
The Reynolds Brothers, The Pieter Meijers Quartet featuring Banu Gibson, The Au Brothers Jazz Band, Danny Coots, Jeff Barnhart, High Sierra, Big Mama Sue Quartet, Eddie Erickson, Blue Street Jazz Band, Carl Sonny Leyland Trio, John Cocuzzi/ Allan Vaché Swing All-Stars, Crown Syncopators, Gonzalo Bergara Quartet, Ivory & Gold, Old Friends, The Original Wildcat Jass Band, Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, Titan Hot Seven, Tom Rigney & Flambeau, Yve Evans & Company. And an assortment of youth bands and (I am sure) more than a few surprises.
The 2013 Musician of the Year will be the deserving and much-loved Howard Miyata.
Rumors that Walter Page, Hot Lips Page, Bob Helm, Herschel Evans, Mildred Bailey, Ann Sothern, Joan Blondell, and Myrna Loy will be sitting in are so far unsubstantiated. I will let you know the details as they appear.
Anyone ready for a Bash? I have a sentimental attachment to the Jazz Bash by the Bay — at my first and second Monterey Bashes, I had the time of my life. . . You can too!
Some jazz parties and festivals visibly deflate in their final hours. Not the 2012 Jazz Bash by the Bay — also known as Dixieland Monterey. This was, for me, the final set of the three-day blowout, and it was a delight.
Once again, the sly truth came out: the Reynolds Brothers don’t have the international reputation their music deserves, and on some festival bills they aren’t the band whose name appears in the largest font.
But they exude jazz pheronomes — or, to put it more simply, the best musicians on the bill always make it a point to sit in with John Reynolds, Ralf Reynolds, Katie Cavera, and Marc Caparone. It’s the jazz equivalent of a civilian finding the restaurant where the chefs eat on their night off. The noble sitters-in were John Sheridan, piano; Allan Vache, clarinet; John Cocuzzi, unamplified vibraphone. “Three Johns, no waiting,” says Mr. John Reynolds at the start.
The set started right off with an enthusiastic affirmation — saying YES to life is a good thing! — I WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR YOU:
Another affirmation, even when it’s couched as a question by way of Fats Waller, AIN’T ‘CHA GLAD?:
One of Ralf’s many secrets is that he did graduate work in European history . . . who better to instruct the crowd in historical geography with CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS . . . making Merry, of course. Merry says hello:
From raillery to romance with the help of Dawn Lambeth, the living embodiment of what Louis called “tonation and phrasing,” her subtly textured voice and her speaking rubatos beautifully on display in SUGAR (with majestically quiet help from John Sheridan):
What might seem odd, an instrumental version of a song associated with Bing Crosby, works perfectly, with Marc leading the way into YOUNG AND HEALTHY:
A friend of the music and one of the gracious shapers of the Jazz Bash by the Bay, Sue Kroninger — also a dynamic singer — joined in with WHAT A LITTLE MOONLIGHT CAN DO, giving Allan a chance to show off his version of early Benny to great advantage with Hamp Cocuzzi and Teddy Sheridan in hot pursuit. 1936, anyone?:
The tempo had to slow down — so here’s a tender I’VE GOT A FEELIN’ I’M FALLING. Beneath that serious exterior, John Sheridan is a deep romantic — and his playing of the verse is just another glorious piece of evidence. And it’s not just the verse! Listening to this one again, I think it might have been one of the highlights of the whole weekend:
John’s choice of THE OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN is always a wise one — not only is it a romping song, but its political / ethical sentiments continue to strike chords today — Thoreau in swingtime:
And — to close — CRAZY RHYTHM — a rendition that truly lives up to its name with a cutting contest or a conversation between Ralf on washboard and John on vibraphone — or at least parts of his vibraphone — that has to be seen to be believed. Or something like that. Crazy, man, crazy! (With very strong echoes of a Hampton Victor circa 1937, too.):
Thank you, Reynolds Brothers. Thank you, friends. Thank you, Merry. Thank you, Jazz Bash by the Bay. I’m ready to make my room reservations for March 2013. Just let me know the dates! Dixieland Monterey / Jazz Bash by the Bay is a proven source of joy.