Although my spiritual persuasions lead me in other directions, here is the Official JAZZ LIVES 20 13 Christmas Gift: forty-five minutes in jazz heaven.
That Elysium was found at the Rockland Music Hall (Allen Street, the East Village, New York City) on Dec. 11, 2012 — when Mona’s Hot Four (plus many stellar friends) took to the small stage to celebrate their CD / DVD release. You can read about the CD / DVD here: in the words of Stuff Smith and Mitchell Parish, it’s wonderful.
Mona’s Hot Four appears every Tuesday night at Mona’s on Avenue B and Thirteenth Street; they begin their ecstatic festivities close to midnight and continue until 4 AM or so. So this early-evening set was a treat for nine-to-fivers like myself (and my pals Ricky Riccardi and Ben Flood, who felt as I do about the music). And through the kindness of MH4, I was allowed to record the proceedings and share them with you.
The core unit is Dennis Lichtman, clarinet; Gordon Webster, piano; Jared Engel, string bass; Nick Russo, guitar / banjo.
And they began with the Sidney Bechet song, CHANT IN THE NIGHT:
Then Dennis invited Gordon Au, trumpet; Emily Asher, trombone; Jerron Paxton, vocal / banjo to join in for CHINATOWN, MY CHINATOWN:
Miss Tamar Korn came along for a vocal duet with Jerron on SUGAR BLUES:
David McKay became the sole vocalist for a Nat Cole-inflected WHEN I GROWN TOO OLD TO DREAM:
And the scene shifted: Dennis, Gordon, and Nick remained, but Molly Ryan, Vocal; Rob Adkins, string bass; Chris St. Hilaire, snare drum; Mike Davis, cornet replaced their august friends for WHAT A LITTLE MOONLIGHT CAN DO:
And to close — a vocal trio of Tamar, Molly, Margi Gianquinto sang DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME with help from Bob Curtis, clarinet:
If that isn’t three-quarters of an hour of love, I don’t know.
After you’ve watched these free-to-all videos a dozen times and told your pals, I urge you (if you can) to get down to Mona’s for a late-night swing session. If you can’t do that, the urge is transmuted . . . pick up several copies of the CD / DVD, which is just as sweet and far more riotous. Art can’t live on love alone, can it?
May your happiness increase.