Tag Archives: Jim Klippert

PIPING HOT at CAFE BORRONE (June 10, 2011)

You might need to get a pot-holder from the kitchen before proceeding.  Perhaps you’d like to turn on the air conditioning?

Through the generosity of Rae Ann Berry and Clint Baker’s Cafe Borrone All-Stars, I am able to share with you two video performances that perfectly exemplify HOT JAZZ at its finest.  The first is a pretty, mournfully rocking “rhythm ballad,” TRUE:

The wizards on your screen are Clint Baker, clarinet; Leon Oakley, cornet; Jim Klippert, trombone; Jeff Magidson, guitar; Sam Rocha, bass; Bill Reinhart, banjo; and Isabelle Fontaine, washboard.

HOT, to remind you, isn’t fast or loud: it’s intense while all the time pretending with the greatest casualness that nothing difficult is being accomplished.  Here’s something that is both HOT and romping, a performance of WEARY BLUES that is anything but — with Riley Baker added on drums:

It is HOT in here — it isn’t just me.


We know that we’ve made it through a very extended winter when we can hear Clint Baker’s Cafe Borrone All-Stars swing out (thanks to the devotion of Rae Ann Berry and her Magic Tripod). 

Recorded April 1, 2011, but everything here is for real. 

The CBAS are Clint, banjo / guitar / vocal; Leon Oakley, cornet; Jim Klippert, trombone; Robert Young, soprano sax; Bill Reinhart, bass; Steve Apple or Riley Baker, drums, joined by Jason Vanderford, banjo.

Here’s a very sweet-hot WHISPERING:

A perfect combination: Clint sings I’M CRAZY ‘BOUT MY BABY (and the band goes back for the verse in the middle:

How about SOME OF THESE DAYS (catch Leon’s riffing behind Robert and more — including a group vocal behind Clint):

I know why I waited . . . no one does those love scenes EXACTLY LIKE YOU (Leon in a very Beriganesque mood, ten-year old Riley Baker on drums):

Another one for Fats and Louis — THAT RHYTHM MAN:

If your GPS is recalculating, you might sing “Where shall I go?” or the SONG OF THE WANDERER:

Finally, since candor is a beautiful thing, remember IT’S A SIN TO TELL A LIE:

To prepare for your trip to Cafe Borrone in Menlo Park (where Clint’s All-Stars play most Friday nights), do visit http://www.cafeborrone.com.  The Beloved and I are looking forward to our first in-person visit this summer! 

Thanks to the gentlemen of the ensemble, to Rae Ann, and to Roy Borrone, the rhythm man of great renown who has kept hot jazz alive at his restaurant for two decades.

More videos from this session can be seen at “SFRaeAnn” on YouTube — if you haven’t subscribed, you’re missing a great deal of inspired elation.

FIFTY-SECOND STREET WEST (Cafe Borrone, Oct. 15, 2010)

Because of the wonderful photographs that Charles Peterson and others took, some of my readers will be able to visualize the bandstand at Jimmy Ryan’s sixty-five years ago — crowded with hot musicians jamming on, say, BUGLE CALL RAG, with every luminary in New York City eagerly improvising at the peak of their powers.

Now imagine that scene with additions.  A wondrous singer — let’s say Connee Boswell, Lee Wiley, or Mildred Bailey is joining in for a few numbers. 

And, if your imagination can hold this, Django Reinhardt and some members of his group are also there, off to the side, having a fine time.  Bob Wills is coming through the door, too. 

Did this happen?  If it did — in New York City, circa 1945 — it hasn’t been documented.  But something very much like it happened last Friday, October 15, 2010, in Cafe Borrone, which sits happily in Menlo Park, California.

Cafe Borrone has — through the generosity and prescience of its owner, Roy Borrone — having Clint Baker’s All-Stars as its Friday night jazz band.  For twenty years of Fridays, mind you.  And the 15th was a twentieth-anniversary party.

And “SFRaeAnn,” who is Rae Ann Berry on her driver’s license, was there to record this occasion.  Clint’s regulars were in attendance, but so were some instrumentally-minded friends.  As was the eloquently hot Gypsy-tinged small group Gaucho, and New York’s own wonder, Tamar Korn.  The musicians (collectively) are Clint Baker, playing everything expertly; Robert Young, saxophone; Leon Oakley, cornet; Katie Cavera, banjo, guitar; Tom Wilson, trombone; Jim Klippert, trombone; Dave Ricketts, guitar; Rob Reich, accordion; Mike Groh, guitar; Ari Munkres, bass, J. Hansen, drums, Riley Baker, drums.

A word about GAUCHO — a group I’ve seen in San Francisco (and I’ve also listened happily to their recordings): many “Gypsy swing” groups that loosely resemble this one specialize in superhero-speedy readings of the Reinhart-Grappelly repertoire.  In such cases, I agree with my friend Anthony Barnett when he proposes a moratorium on such endeavors.  In my case, all I want is not to be pummelled with notes.  But GAUCHO is superbly different.  The overall affect is superficially of music you’d hear on the porch or in the living room, but that feeling is undercut by the instant awareness that no amateur musicians ever, ever sounded this good.  Its two guitarists play and swap roles with grace and a stylish casualness.  Rob Reich makes the accordion an instrument I would happily listen to, as he spins out wandering lines (I was traumatized by an accordion as a child.)  And Ari Munkeres brings together Pops Foster and Paul Chambers very adeptly.  The overall feeling brings together Teddy Bunn and Western swing and a whole host of refreshing improvisations on various subtle, profound models.   

Here’s part of a delightful EXACTLY LIKE YOU, where Tamar and Leon converse:

And a full-fledged YOU’RE DRIVING ME CRAZY — where Tamar’s eyes and facial expressions reveal a great comic actress, singing the twisty lyrics at a rapid clip.  (Not only that: she sings the verse twice!)  This performance becomes a series of witty conversations and overlapping monologues, most fetchingly: 

How about SOME OF THESE DAYS, with an incredible outchorus where instruments and Tamar (the Mills Sister) blend so exuberantly:

Here’s a  delicate, unaffected I’M CONFESSIN’ — a performance where Ari’s arco bass, Leon’s Ziggy Elman – Harry James emoting, Robert’s sweet alto, and more theoretically disparate elements come together to create something terribly moving:

The simplistic philosophy of WHEN YOU’RE SMILING remains true — complain too much and even the dog walks out of the room — but what catches my eye in the first minute of this performance is that an audience member has asked Tamar to dance (unless I am missing the essential subtext).  At what other site do band members dance with the audience?  I ask you!  And don’t miss the vocal duet between Tamar and Jim Klippert, a man who is having just too much fun to keep it to himself:

Tamar sat out PLEASE DON’T TALK ABOUT ME WHEN I’M GONE (perhaps the jitterbugging had worn her out for the moment?) and Clint took the vocal, with solos from everyone: 

And the evening ended with a romp nothing short of ecstatic on BILL BAILEY (or, as Joe Wilder calls it, THE RETURN OF WILLIAM BAILEY), which should have you grinning for days:

I’m thrilled that this music was created and that the apparently tireless Rae Ann Berry saved it for us and for posterity.  Bless Roy Borrone, all the musicians, and our own devoted videographer, too.

P.S.  And I have it from good authority that GAUCHO’s new CD has Miss Korn and Mister Oakley in attendance — with some songs that Tamar has written lyrics for.  I check the mailbox every day . . . and will let you know when it arrives!


The New Orleans musicians — even the ones who took expansive solos as the nature of jazz changed — knew how important inspired ensemble playing was.  It would have been very bad form to cut short a romping group effort and simply dilute its force into a series of solos with the rhythm section. 

And this principle is perfectly demonstrated by a recent performance by Clint Baker and the Cafe Borrone All-Stars (captured on August 13, 2010, by the unwearying Rae Ann Berry) of the pop song “SAY ‘SI SI'” where for nearly five minutes the front line keeps a splendid momentum going. 

That’s Clint on trumpet and clarinet, Jim Klippert on trombone, Robert Young on a variety of reeds, Bill Rinehart on banjo, Jason Vanderford on guitar, and Sam Rocha on bass:

Just try and keep sedately still while this video is playing . . . !


What do Rae Ann Berry, Elin Smith, and Lisa (Mook) Ryan have in common?  They’re all women who have a deep involvement in jazz, even though they don’t play instruments.  Nor are they married to instrumentalists or players. 

All three are very creative members of the jazz audience — which is often more male than female.  But they do more than sit and applaud: they are improvisers behind the camera, video artists. 

Rae Ann is known to many by her YouTube channel name — SFRaeAnn — and she takes her camera to jazz happenings on the West Coast: regularly, she finds Clint Baker and his band at Cafe Borrone in Menlo Park, or a solo piano recital by the esteemed Ray Skjelbred at Pier 23 in San Francisco, as well as regularly videorecording jazz fetival performances.  Here are two of her most recent captures:

From July 20, 2010, here’s Ray working his deep-blue way through KMH DRAG, an impromptu blues line created by Max Kaminsky, Freddie Moore, and Art Hodes for a memorable Blue Note record date in (I believe) 1944:

And ten days later, Rae Ann recorded Clint and friends at Cafe Borrone, playing HINDUSTAN.  That’s Clint, clarinet; Leon Oakley, trumpet and necktie; Jim Klippert, trombone; Jason Vanderford, guitar; Bill Reinhart, bass; Steve Apple, drums; and Robert Young, banjo.  There’s good rocking tonight, New Orleans-style:

Elin Smith lives in England, and it was my good fortune to meet her and Ron, her husband, last year at Whitley Bay and again this year.

Elin loves to record jazz performances, but also is fascinated by composing films: her YouTube channel is “elinshouse,” and here she’s trained her lens on two performances by Thomas Winteler, who sounds more like Sidney Bechet than anyone I’ve ever  heard.  These songs are from the most recent Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival, where Thomas was joined by my hero Bent Persson on trumpet, Michel Bard on reeds, Lou Laprete on piano, Henri Lamaire on bass, and Ron Houghton on drums for ALLIGATOR CRAWL:

And a triumphant POTATO HEAD BLUES.  Like its predecessor, it suggests what might have happened if Sidney had brought his clarinet into the OKeh studios while Louis and his Hot Seven were recording:

Finally, there’s Lisa (Mook) Ryan, another Californian. 

Lisa is intrigued not only by the music of Bix Beiderbecke but by the people who continue to investigate it, play it, and keep his legacy alive.  She’s done wonderfully atmospheric films set to Bix’s music.  Here’s IN THE DARK (as played by Dick Hyman) which she’s used atmospherically — creating juxtapositions of slowly-observed still photographs — to muse on what Bix experienced and felt in the year 1928, all seen as shades of light, shadow, and blackness.  Other impressionistic creations of Lisa’s can be seen on her “MookRyan” channel:

 Most recently, under the heading of “MookCam,” she’s captured cornetist Andy Schumm in performance.  Although youthful, Andy has so many fans with video cameras (including myself) that he might be the most-documented jazz musician of the last two or three years — a singular tribute to his talent and the affection it inspires! 

Here are Andy and His Gang at the Putnam Museum, on July 22, 2010.  Andy is playing Bix’s cornet, John Otto on clarinet and sax, Vince Giordano on bass sax/tuba/string bass, Dave Bock on trombone, David Boeddinghaus on the Beiderbecke family piano, Leah Bezin on banjo, and Josh Duffee on drums for a merging of CLARINET MARMALADE and SINGIN’ THE BLUES:

The generous creativity of RaeAnn, Elin, and Lisa inspires us!


Cafe Borrone in Menlo Park, California, looks like a perfectly nice restaurant in the middle of a shopping mall — but it has hot jazz every week.  (Wish that the mall nearest to me could get this idea.)  And Rae Ann Berry is there, faithfully. 

She captured a particularly rewarding session by Clint Baker’s Cafe Borrone All-Stars on May 14, 2010, from which I’ve taken Jelly Roll Morton’s WININ’ BOY (there’s been a small fervent discussion of whether it’s WININ’ or WINDIN’ or WINDING or WiNDING BALL and what those terms suggest . . . the usual consensus is that they refer to various types of male sexual prowess: use your imaginations). 

On this lengthy soulful version, Clint is at the drums, doing splendid things with cymbal accents; Bill Reinhart is providing a powerful string bass pulse; Jason Vanderford takes a rare acoustic guitar solo late in the performance; Robert Young emotes beautifully on the soprano sax; Jim Klippert not only anchors things on trombone but takes an impassioned vocal; trumpeter Leon Oakley finds just the right mute for each chorus; Ray Skjelbred “makes that old piano [in this case an electric keyboard] sound exactly like new,” or even better, with right-hand splashes and solid chords. 

A wonderfully cohesive group – – – especially in the middle of grilled chicken salads.  Don’t deny their names!

Thanks, as always, to Rae Ann, to the band, and even to the shoppers and diners who make this gig possible.


“RaeAnn Berry” is, I believe, what it says on her driver’s license — but for fans of Hot Music, she’s “SFRaeAnn,” and we owe her many thanks for the jazz she posts with unflagging regularity on YouTube.  She takes her camera down to Cafe Borrone in Menlo Park, California, to record a few performance by Clint Baker’s All-Stars, and every week I watch the clips with pleasure.  Two tiny mysteries always are a part of the experience: Clint is truly multi-instrumental and multi-talented, so I always wonder, “What instrument(s) will he be playing this week?”  And most sessions feature the wonderful work of trumpeter Leon Oakley.  But Leon always looks serious, pensive, even when he’s just played a beautiful impromptu creation.  I was beginning to wonder about his worldview, although no unhappy man could play so well.

Thus, it is with elation and relief that I post two clips from the All-Stars’ performances of October 23, 2009.  And, rather like the advertisements for early sound pictures that told us GARBO TALKS! — I report with pleasure that 1) Leon is playing splendidly, beyond splendidly, and 2) he grins now and again through these two performances.  You had me worried, my man!

The first performance is EXACTLY LIKE YOU — which Leon starts off with a melodic improvisation instead of a straight melody line — quite fetching — and things get hotter from then on!

Then, a rarely-played Twenties favorite, paying tribute to that kid from New Orleans, PAPA DIP.  Here, I delight in Clint’s directing of musical traffic during the breaks.  Good job!

The other All-Stars are having a good time, as always: Clint on clarinet; Katie Cavera, banjo and vocal; Robert Young, alto and tenor sax; Jim Klippert, trombone; Bill Reinhart, bass; Tom Wilson, guitar; J. Hansen, drums.  Visit Clint at: http://www.clintbakerjazz.com


Milt Hinton used to say, “If you don’t like this, you don’t like broccoli.”  (Readers who loathe that delicious green are advised that here at Jazz Lives substitutions are possible, even encouraged.)

Courtesy of SFRaeAnn (is that her dainty manicured hand descending from the right of the frame in “Come Back Sweet Papa”?) I present some fine jazz from Clint Baker’s Cafe Borrone All-Stars, recorded live just a few days ago (June 5, 3009) in Menlo Park, California.  The CBAS are Clint Baker, clarinet; Leon Oakley, cornet; Jim Klippert, trombone; Evan Price, guitar; Bill Reinhart, bass; Tom Wilson, guitar; and J. Hansen, drums. 

First, they swing out on the Hot Five classic (a favorite of Vic Dickenson’s, when he could surround himself with people who knew the changes), COME BACK, SWEET PAPA — notable for Oakley’s stop-time excursion, Hansen’s old-time melodic solo, and the general ebullience.  

Here’s SOME OF THESE DAYS, not too fast:

I especially admire the flourishes Clint gets into at the end of his chorus (he was ready to go for another one), Leon’s soaring eloquence (and no one applauded?  for shame!), the four-bar trades that precede Clint’s nicely offhanded vocal, and Hansen’s energetic tom-tom accents in the final eight bars.

Since I’ve been only recently reminded that Louis did, in fact, record SOMEDAY, SWEETHEART, I felt obliged to include this version — complete with verse and neat horn backing to Clint’s clarinet chorus.  Leon leaps into his solo almost aggressively and returns in the same mood after Jim has had a brief comment.  (Need I say that I am exceedingly envious of Clint’s abilities on what are apparently a half-dozen instruments?)

James P. Johnson’s sweetly sentimental paean to romantic love, IF I COULD BE WITH YOU ONE HOUR TONIGHT, begins with some down-home Oakley eloquence (his solo begins with a sidelong remembrance of WE JUST COULDN’T SAY GOODBYE, which is both musicially and thematically apt).  Nice rhythm section playing — subtle harmonies — behind Clint’s clarinet, as well. 

These clips make me want to take a plane to Cafe Borrone some Friday (8-11 PM, I’m told) and experience this band in person.  Broccoli, anyone?


Courtesy of “SFRaeAnn,” here’s just under five minutes of pure relaxed pleasure: Clint Baker and his Cafe Borrone All-Stars, recordeon on April 3 at Menlo Park, California, with Robert Young, C-meloody sax;  Leon Oakley, cornet;  Jim Klippert, trombone; Jason Vanderford,  guitar;  Monte Reyes, banjo; and Bill Reinhart, bass.  Visit Clint at: http://www.clintbakerjazz.com

I’m especially fond of this almost-forgotten tune (memorable to me because of a 1928 recording where Louis Armstrong backs Lillie Delk Christian) but this performance is special in itself.  No one rushes the tempo; no one gets loud or louder, and the musicians work together in a casual, affectionate understanding of what a band needs.  Great fun, and if you’re too busy for this, what can I say?