Clint Baker is an inspiring multi-instrumentalist (everything from brass to reeds to strings to drums to vocals) and here at Dixieland Monterey 2011, he contented himself with leading a small hot group from his drum set — he is a master of percussive sounds and propulsions. With him were hot cornetist Marc Caparone, pianist / singer Dawn Lambeth (united in connubial bliss), trombonist and euphonist Howard Miyata (that’s Uncle Howie to Gordon, Brandon, and Justin Au), reedman Mike Baird, bassist Paul Mehling, and guitarist / banjoist Katie Cavera.
Oh, they did rock!
Their first selection was a request — from Dottie Baird, Mike’s wife, who always asks for WHEN MY DREAMBOAT COMES HOME, on which Mike has to play saxophone. A wonderful idea:
One law of performance is “Get the crowd involved: engage the audience!” So here’s a bit of audience participation — feel free to join in at home in the HOLLER BLUES with shrieks or howls:
Dawn Lambeth (who is moderately pregnant — we wish her the world’s easiest delivery!) is also a spectacularly gifted singer. Here she introduces IT HAPPENED IN MONTEREY, written by Mabel Wayne, as a song with a great deal of sentimental depth for Marc and herself — the sad lyrics notwithstanding. Even with a terrible cold, Dawn sounds so fine:
A good old good one — what could be better than PANAMA by William H. Tyers, king of the Exotic Landscape (he also wrote MAORI):
And a tribute to Papa Joe Oliver, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong’s spiritual father, SNAG IT (An idle thought: where did the inspiration for that slang phrase come from? I take it to mean “Oh, get it!” From fishing? From baseball?):
Finally, something personally pleasing. SWEETHEARTS ON PARADE is one of my favorite songs — even though it’s not exactly harmonically taxing — perhaps because I heard Louis’s recording of it early in my life. And I felt very much embraced at and by Dixieland Monterey (a weekend of many hugs, all given and received happily), no more so than when Marc asked me if I had any requests and then played this one. You know you’ve arrived! Two by two, they go marching through:
This band is the absolute equivalent of a big plate of down-home red beans and rice: spicy, colorful, hot, satisfying for a long time afterwards. And look how happy they look!
A footnote: JAZZ LIVES readers who energetically watch “SFRaeAnn”‘s channel will see her videos of these performances. She is Rae Ann Berry, a wonderful archivist and deep friend to me and to many musicians . . . and we were often sitting at the same concert in Monterey and videotaping. Why, then, you might ask, why post my versions as well as hers? I have this fantasy that someone more technically gifted than myself will find a way to screen both her video and mine on a particular song – – – synchronized, to provide something like Dixieland Cinerama, or Hot Technicolor. Just imagine!
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