Trumpeter / composer / arranger Gordon Au is a generous person, and so I was delighted to be in the room wtih a video camera when it was time to celebrate him. But it happened in a delightfully subversive way. I was on hand last Wednesday night, October 19, 2011, which happened to be Gordon’s birthday. (I don’t know the exact number of years he has amassed, but it can’t be all that many.) But I hadn’t driven all the way into Williamsburg for a slice of cake. Something better! Gordon’s Grand Street Stompers were playing. That night, the Stompers were Dennis Lichtman (clarinet); Matt Musselman (trombone); Nick Russo (banjo, guitar); Rob Adkins (string bass); Tamar Korn (vocal).
Late in the evening, Nick Russo pulled me aside to let me know a happy plot was hatching — the results of which you’ll see in the video below. The song was CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF YOU — which was appropriate, because if you turn away, you’ll miss Gordon’s expressions as the band makes a sharp right turn into HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
Dancer, photographer, and dance scholar Lynn Redmile was there also, and (at my request) she provided this valuable annotation:
The shenanigans started with Matt at 1.55 but Gordon only realized at 2.05 (his face was priceless). His girlfriend Veronica Lynn (tap dancer extraordinaire) came through with the cake, and the jam started at 3.20. Jennifer Sowden started the jam with Gordon, followed by Shana Kalson (Gordon doing some great Charleston with her), then Michelle de Castro, Tamar Korn, and finally Veronica Lynn.
Happy birthday, dear Gordon Au! Thanks for all you have given us, and we look forward to much more through many happy years.