I had admired HARLEM MAD, the new CD of Glenn Crytzer’s compositions — with a swinging ensemble that included Ray Skjelbred, Solomon Douglas, Meschiya Lake, Dave Brown, and other hot luminaries. (If you’ve never heard the band, here’s my review: https://jazzlives.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/harlem-mad-glenn-crytzer-and-his-syncopators/.
A small version of the Syncopators: Kevin Woods, trumpet; Pete Petersen, reeds; Solomon Douglas, piano; Glenn, guitar, vocal, original compositions; Mike Weatherly, string bass; Mark Ribera, drums — played several sets two nights ago at SALOON on the Upper East Side of New York City. I was impressed: the group has a charging energy. They’re a jump band, somewhere between the 1939 Goodman Sextet (Glenn likes that Charlie Christian fellow) and a Louis Jordan unit. Frankly, although all the members of the band appear to be fair-skinned, they could pass easily for one of the small bands in the Decca studios in the late Thirties, making records for Decca’s “Sepia Series.” Or a powerful version of the little band Lee and Lester Young led. Hear for yourself.
Here are three selections from the first set (I would have liked to stay, but work beckoned with its bony finger):
An original by Glenn, its title not explained — but we don’t mind a little mystery — SKINNY MINNIE. That’s Mr. Woods on the hot mouthpiece:
Here’s an undisguised homage to the 1939 Goodman Sextet, the Christian – Hampton blues, SOFT WINDS:
And the best for last — Glenn’s deadpan paean to elevation, THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER:
If you find fault with the lyrics or the concept, just remember it’s in praise of stilts, step-stools, elevator shoes, platform heels.
The Syncopators live up to their name. And you can’t see the happy dancers — including the very hip Dawn Hampton and Lynn Redmile, but even the Beloved got out there and cut a very stylish rug on that floated wood floor. Good job all ’round!