Tag Archives: James Cagney

BEAUTY IN THE PARLOR: JOHN SHERIDAN at JAZZ AT CHAUTAUQUA (Sept. 21, 2012)

John Sheridan is a wonderful pianist (also arranger, composer, deep listener and jazz thinker).  He is so dependable that I hope he doesn’t get overlooked in favor of more mercurial, showy improvisers.

But you could wake John in the middle of the night, say, “Get dressed.  Your country needs you to swing right now,” and he would be do it.  Sheridan is apparently tough on the outside (although polite) but a tender-hearted romantic on the inside.  In the black-and-white 1931 crime film unreeling in my head, he is Cagney’s pal, a ferocious cop who gives money to the orphans.

But you don’t have to get distracted by my analogies.  Rather, listen to the man play — as he did on Friday, September 21, 2012, at Jazz at Chautauqua.

Henry Nemo’s very lovely song ‘TIS AUTUMN (always appropriate but chronologically so on Sept. 21, 2012):

A small suite for Bix.  First, his IN THE DARK:

Then, the justly famous IN A MIST:

A romantic interlude from the pre-GPS era, thanks to Frank Loesser, LET’S GET LOST:

From GUYS AND DOLLS, more from Loesser, I’VE NEVER BEEN IN LOVE BEFORE:

And a Bob Zurke romp — all that motion in two minutes flat!  EYE OPENER:

If your eyes are not open by now, go back to the beginning — da capo al fine — and savor what John does so beautifully!

May your happiness increase.

GRATITUDE IN 4/4 (Part Five): THE KATIE CAVERA TRIO at the 2011 SAN DIEGO THANKSGIVING DIXIELAND JAZ FESTIVAL (thanks to Rae Ann Berry)

This is music both propulsive and soothing — and the experience was communal, as the audience joined in very sweetly.  The Katie Cavera Trio — Katie and John Gill on banjo and vocal, with the steadfastly swinging Marty Eggers on acoustic bass — were the opening act of the 2011 San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival, and they set the right mood.  Affectionate, approachable, and fun — without being ashamed of any of those qualities.  Add a little vaudeville and some old-fashioned patriotism of a non-sectarian kind, and you have a very unassuming but rewarding interlude.

All of this was made possible by Paul Daspit, who brought these musicians together and made sure everyone on and off the stand was beaming. Thanks also to “SFRaeAnn,” Rae Ann Berry, who shares the music in her up-to-date list of hot jazz gigs in the area on www.sfraeann.com and her YouTube channel here.

Here’s a quartet of pastoral Americana with a distinct jazz flavor.  First, CAROLINA IN THE MORNING:

Then, two parts of a George M. Cohan medley — you’ll want to watch it all the way through to hear John become Jimmy Cagney, perfectly:

And YOU’RE A GRAND OLD FLAG — one or two of the little sisters here had learned the song in school and she belted it out:

A perennial (I might even have requested it?) by James P. Johnson — ONE HOUR, or, if you’re exacting, IF I COULD BE WITH YOU ONE HOUR TONIGHT where John suggests Louis, Jolson, and Bing in the nicest ways:

Thanks to Katie, John, Marty, Rae Ann, Paul, and the little girls!