Tag Archives: film noir

WHERE THE RENO CLUB MEETS FILM NOIR: “BEALE STREET BLUES,” by The EarRegulars: JON-ERIK KELLSO, MATT MUNISTERI, DUKE HEITGER, HARVEY TIBBS, DAN BLOCK, NEAL MINER (The Ear Inn, June 7, 2009)

I missed out on the Reno Club, and Fifty-Second Street transformed downwards years before my birth, but there are serious compensations. I did and do have The Ear Inn (and so do you) where The EarRegulars have been playing every Sunday night from 8-11 PM since the summer of 2007. 326 Spring Street, Soho, New York City.

This is one of the earliest videos I shot there . . . at a time when YouTube allowed posters to take dark-hued video and change it into black-and-white. So we have my version of film noir, bowing to Ida Lupino, to the Reno Club, to wartime Greenwich Village jazz, to building intensity through backgrounds and riffs. All priceless.

Fault-finders are encouraged to floss with a cactus needle, then take Nipper out for a constitutional.

The song? Handy’s BEALE STREET BLUES. The performers? Jon-Erik Kellso, Puje; Duke Heitger, trumpet; Harvey Tibbs, trombone; Dan Block, clarinet; Matt Munisteri, guitar; Neal Miner, string bass. Heroes all. They know what to do — no one needs a GPS — and they do it beautifully, individually and collectively. And they know how to sustain and build a mood, gently but dramatically, for twelve minutes.

And, yes, such things are still possible. But you do have to get out of your chair and find them where they are happening . . . real players, too substantial for any lit screen. Bless them when you see and hear them, too.

May your happiness increase!

ELEGANT GREASE AND FUNK: GRAMOPHONIACS: “UNDERGROUND SWINGTAPES”

To quote Dave Frishberg, listen here:

and here:

Very groovy.  Very mellow.  And they do the neat trick of paying homage to all sorts of performances — film noir soundtracks as well as late Forties small-group swing — while sounding like themselves.   This CD is such a nice odd mix of big band groove boiled down for your smaller band: you hear those imagined films and television themes from Fifties detective dramas, some funky Illinois Jacquet touches: an unusual blend.  And completely danceable.

From the outside, the Gramophoniacs (who hail from Germany) have a witty name and a great logo.  But there’s so much more to this package than the clever wrappings: they can and do swing, and not only for dancers but also for listeners.

You can read the very amusing biographies of the band members here and visit their Facebook page here.  And here’s more relevant information, with the dashes of humor that characterize this band’s slightly whimsical approach to the music — their noir has a wink in it, which adds to the overall pleasure:

You can delve deeper here — and purchase the CD or (for people who go all the way) clever stylish t-shirts, so that you can be the hippest person in your neighborhood.  I applaud their groovy nature, and hope they prosper.  There’s nothing artificial about their elegant blend of grease and funk.

May your happiness increase!