Tag Archives: Mardi Gras

YOUNG AT HEART: THE EARREGULARS (THE EAR INN, Feb. 20, 2012)

I looked forward to inspiring music last Sunday night — Sunday night sessions at The Ear Inn (326 Spring Street, Soho, New York City) are always emotionally rich and enlightening.  I could trust the four swing masters a few feet away from my perch at the bar:  Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet; Dan Block (clarinet / tenor); Chris Flory (guitar); Jon Burr (string bass).

After the first number had ended, Jon-Erik told us that the EarRegulars would be celebrating Presidents’ Day by honoring Lester Young — the man Billie Holiday called “the President,” after Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Much of the music made last night had direct references to Lester, and these two performances were standouts.  TOPSY was a Basie classic in the great early period of that band; WAY DOWN YONDER IN NEW ORLEANS was not only a foreshadowing of Fat Tuesday 2012, but a reminder of Lester’s happy childhood in that city, and an evocation of the Kansas City Six.

Here’s TOPSY, that not only points to Lester and Buck, to the Basie rhythm section, but to one of Lester’s most eminent disciples, Charlie Christian — close your eyes and you could imagine this music emanating from Minton’s Playhouse circa 1941:

A romping, building ‘WAY DOWN YONDER IN NEW ORLEANS:

The EarRegulars don’t need to make a special point of honoring Lester Young: their floating solos, resonant sounds, their awareness that space is just as essential as the notes, their twining counterpoint, and fluid swing are homages to the Master, no matter what they play.

OH, MY HONEY: THE NEW EL DORADO JAZZ BAND

Click on the video below of ALEXANDER’S RAGTIME BAND (with verse) and be delighted.  And when it’s about halfway through, notice how happy the musicians look:

These inspiring presences are Hal Smith, co-leader, washboard; Marc Caparone, cornet; Kim Cusack, clarinet; Howard Miyata, trombone; Katie Cavera, banjo; Georgia Korba, bass; Carl Sonny Leyland, piano.

Here’s EARLY HOURS, a deep-down opus, in the groove.  The title doesn’t refer to the morning commute to work: it’s Chicago 1926 brought whole into this century: 

Something more cheerful — WHEN YOU AND I WERE YOUNG, MAGGIE (at one of the many tempos this classic works well):

Katie suggests another kind of social networking here: I WISH I COULD SHIMMY LIKE MY SISTER KATE.  You know it’s serious business when Professor Miyata brings on his shiny tuba for a meditation on the theme:

This wonderful music was captured for us by Rae Ann Berry at the Fresno, California, Sounds of Mardi Gras celebration on February 12, 2011.

HOW ABOUT SOMETHING FOR THE MUSICIANS WE ADMIRE SO?  ALL MONEY COLLECTED GOES TO THEM:

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THE WORLD’S JAZZ CRAZY: THE NEW EL DORADO JAZZ BAND! (Feb. 12, 2011)

Rae Ann Berry is back on the case — and we are so much richer for her diligence.  Here she captures a rocking session with the New El Dorado Jazz Band, that hot group honoring cornetist Papa Ray Ronnei and his friends. 

In its current incarnation at the Sounds of Mardi Gras in Fresno, California, it is made up of Hal Smith, drums (he’s the co-leader); Marc Caparone, cornet (subbing for co-leader Clint Baker); Howard Miyata, trombone (“Uncle Howie” of Gordon, Justin, and Brandon Au); Mike Baird, clarinet (a charter member); Katie Cavera, banjo, guitar, vocals; Carl Sonny Leyland, piano; Georgia Korba, bass.

Katie assures us THE WORLD’S JAZZ CRAZY (AND SO AM I):

Do you like Mexican food?  HERE COMES THE HOT TAMALE MAN:

The soaring, pensive FAR AWAY BLUES:

GATEMOUTH BLUES (harking back to Miss Lil and the Dodds brothers):

OLE MISS (named for a very fast train) has Kim Cusack subbing for Mike Baird:

THAT’S A PLENTY (how true):

Hotter than that!

FEELING JAZZ CRAZY?  CLICK HERE TO GIVE SOMETHING BACK TO THE MUSICIANS!

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NEW EL DORADO JAZZ BAND 2010: MARDI GRAS COMES EARLY!

Thanks to the energetic Rae Ann Berry, who took her nimble video camera to Fresno, California on February 6, 2010, for the Sounds of Mardi Gras (sponsored by the Fresno Dixieland Society), here are some lively videos of the New El Dorado Jazz Band, co-led by Hal Smith (on washboard) and Clint Baker (clarinet, banjo, vocals, and more) with Howard Miyata on trombone, Marc Caparone on trumpet, Mike Baird on clarinet, Katie Cavera on banjo, Carl Sonny Leyland on piano, Georgia Korba on bass — with a guest appearances by singer Dawn Lambeth and the multi-talented Jeff Hamilton

Here they are on a romping BIG CHIEF BATTLE AXE, which Dawn once told me they called (privately) BIG CHEAP CADILLAC, a title I much prefer.  Now the secret is out!

Here’s SNAG IT, a wonderful evocation of New Orleans – Chicago funk:

Marty Bloom’s improvisation on the theme of jazz sorrow, MELANCHOLY (with the verse):

Are you prey to violent urges?  SHAKE IT AND BREAK IT might be the right theme music:

Jelly Roll Morton’s WININ’ BOY BLUES, at a splendid tempo, with Carl hilariously swerving around the more erotic lyrics not once but twice (send a quarter to this blog by email for the missing lines, if you’re over eighteen):

And a romping ORIENTAL MAN (which I would bet has wonderfully archaic and unpopular lyrics):

Here’s a delicious YOU’RE DRIVING ME CRAZY — even though Dawn’s microphone lets her down, the combination of her creamy legato approach and the band’s Louis / Moten riffs is irresistible:

In tribute to Papa Ray Ronnei, here’s his original, SALTY BUBBLE:

Here’s YOU ALWAYS HURT THE ONE YOU LOVE — a wonderful song but bad advice in personal relationships.  Howard’s shifted over to the massive helicon, and Jeff Hamilton sits in on trombone (not his usual drums or piano — who knew?):

Carl Sonny Leyland can certainly rock the blues, as he does here — see how Hal Smith is enjoying the tempo even before the band joins in for SONNY’S BLUES:

And a nearly dangerous ONE SWEET LETTER FROM YOU, with Howard and Jeff continuing.  This band delivers the mail for sure. 

This band has recorded a CD for Clint’s BURGUNDY STREET RECORDS: if you’re lucky enough to see members of the band on gigs, I’m sure they’ll have some, and Hal Smith promises that it will soon be available through his website.  (http://www.halsmithmusic.com/hals_cdpage.html.)  I’m buying some copies! 

Does anyone have the lyrics to ORIENTAL MAN?  Or the original sheet music to share?

P.P.S.  For no reasons aside from personal pleasure, I’d like to know the “reach” of this blogpost.  Who’s watching these clips from far, far away?  A prize to the most distant viewer . . . !