Tag Archives: Menlo Park

TALES OF THREE MEN: CLINT BAKER’S CAFE BORRONE ALL-STARS: CLINT BAKER, ROBERT YOUNG, DAN BARRETT, RAY SKJELBRED, BILL REINHART, MIKIYA MATSUDA, JEFF HAMILTON (Menlo Park, September 13, 2019)

Clint Baker has been leading various aggregations at Cafe Borrone since 1990, with no sign of stopping or slowing down, and for this we are grateful.  During my Northern California sojourn, it was an oasis — not only for the music, but the good food, the regulars I grew fond of, and the very friendly staff.  It was at least a two-hour drive each way down 101, but it was worth it.  And it remains a treasure, even though I am nowhere near Menlo Park (with its wonderful thrift stores).

Thanks to the indefatigable RaeAnn Berry, we have video evidence of those Friday-night jamborees.

September 13, 2019, was even more special, because of visiting luminaries Ray Skjelbred, piano, and Dan Barrett, trombone — in addition to Clint, trumpet and vocal, Robert Young, soprano and alto saxophone and vocal, Bill Reinhart, guitar and banjo, Mikiya Matsuda, string bass, and Jeff Hamilton, drums.

Cafe Borrone from the outside, in daylight.

In no way is JAZZ LIVES turning into a men’s support group, but these three performances are tied together by a male presence in their titles: wonderful hot music, in this case, out on the patio.

The first fellow is Sweet, perhaps someone’s Papa, but he’s gone away.  I hope he’s only gone to the supermarket for lowfat milk and cookies:

The second gent is a senior citizen, or perhaps Old is a term of affection and no one offers to help him put his carry-on bag in the overhead compartment, but he is known for being Solid:

The third brother is always welcome: he’s got Rhythm and it defines him, to everyone’s delight:

The world can’t do without those Rhythm Men.

I could  get nostalgic for Borrone’s fish sandwich and cakes, too.  A warm scene.

May your happiness increase!

NEW ORLEANS JOYS: CLINT BAKER, BILL CARTER, JIM KLIPPERT, MONTE REYES, BILL REINHART, SAM ROCHA, J HANSEN at CAFE BORRONE (June 6, 2014)

A few nights ago, on Friday, June 6, 2014, Clint Baker and friends turned Cafe Borrone (1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, California) into a New Orleans dance hall for two sets from 7:30 to 10 PM. Clint and friends are usually known as Clint Baker and his Cafe Borrone All Stars; for this night, because of so many long-time friends and colleagues gathered together to make music, they were his New Orleans Jazz Band.  Appropriately!

“Hear me talkin’ to you!” Clint, trumpet, vocal; Bill Carter, clarinet, ensemble vocal; Jim Klippert, trombone, ensemble vocal; Monte Reyes, banjo, vocal; Bill Reinhart, guitar; Sam Rocha, string bass, vocal; J Hansen, drums.

PUT ON YOUR OLD GREY BONNET (with ensemble warbling):

CARELESS LOVE:

BUGLE BOY MARCH:

I’M ALONE BECAUSE I LOVE YOU (vocal by Sam):

THE SECOND LINE:

SOME OF THESE DAYS (vocal by Clint):

OLE MISS:

SWEET LOTUS BLOSSOM (vocal by Clint):

ICE CREAM (ensemble chorusing. no artificial ingredients):

“KEEP IT REAL” Bb BLUES:

JUST A LITTLE WHILE TO STAY HERE (that rocking carpe diem):

LADY BE GOOD (with Monte’s justly famous vocal):

A friend gave me a copy of the latest issue of DOWN BEAT — with nice coverage of Eric Alexander, Brian Blade, Sonny Rollins, even a review of a new Bucky Pizzarelli CD.  But no feature on Clint Baker or the wonderful happenings at Cafe Borrone.  Their loss.  What would it take to get DOWN BEAT to come down here? I would buy the reporter a nice plate of polenta, carrots, kale, and cauliflower, or something else from their good kitchen: you have my word.  Until then, if you can get down here, you won’t regret the trip; if it’s too far away, please share this blogpost with people you know who would like it.  Clint and his pals are creating hot, subtle delights regularly — and your attention is perhaps the best tribute.

 May your happiness increase!

“A SINGABLE HAPPY FEELING”: CLINT BAKER’S CAFE BORRONE ALL STARS (May 16, 2014)

The Friday-night Hot Spot of Rhythm isn’t Boston’s Savoy Cafe on Mass. Avenue, nor is it the Savoy Ballroom uptown: it’s Cafe Borrone, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, California, on Friday nights from 7:30 to 10 PM, when Clint Baker and the Cafe Borrone All Stars arrange themselves on plain wooden chairs and swing out.

On May 16, 2014, the All Stars were Clint, trombone and vocal; Robert Young, soprano and alto sax and vocal; Leon Oakley, cornet; Nirav Sanghani, guitar; Bill Reinhart, banjo and National guitar; Tom Wilson, string bass; Steve Apple, drums.

Jazz detectives will hear evocations of Dicky Wells, the Rhythmakers, Fred Astaire, Bessie Smith, Clarence Williams, Ruby Braff, Wild Bill Davison, Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, Red Allen, Rex Stewart, the Apex Club Orchestra, and much more. But this music is — blessedly — taking place in 2014, created on the spot by musicians who revere the old records enough to refrain from copying them. The result is simply uplifting.

BIG BUTTER AND EGG MAN:

EVERYBODY LOVES MY BABY:

I’M NOT ROUGH:

JELLY ROLL:

RED SAILS IN THE SUNSET:

A SHINE ON YOUR SHOES:

YOU’RE LUCKY TO ME:

MANDY, MAKE UP YOUR MIND:

SISTER KATE:

MONTMARTRE:

MARGIE:

SEE SEE RIDER:

SWEET SUE:

CRAZY RHYTHM:

I assure you that my videos can’t capture all the joy of hearing this band at close range, live, creating as they go. I waited a long time before making the southerly trek to Cafe Borrone. Don’t let this happen to you. . .

Thanks to Jeffrey Frey and his very pleasant people for making Cafe Borrone a nice place to visit, to hear music, to eat and drink and socialize.

May your happiness increase!

I’LL TAKE A DOZEN: FRIDAY NIGHT WITH CLINT BAKER and the CAFE BORRONE ALL-STARS (April 18, 2014)

A good time was had by all at another happy Friday at Cafe Borrone in Menlo Park, California (1010 El Camino Real: 650.327.0830).

Yes, good food, cheerful staff, beaming friends, but most of all because of the wonderful music provided by Clint Baker’s Cafe Borrone All Stars. This night they were Clint, trombone and vocal; Leon Oakley, cornet; Robert Young, saxophones, vocal; Jeff Hamilton, keyboard; Bill Reinhart, string bass; Nirav Sanghani, rhythm guitar; J Hansen or Riley Baker [Riley sat in for SWEETHEART and TELEPHONE], drums. You can note the noble associations.  Louis, Goodman, Django, Rex Stewart, Jelly Roll, Red Allen, J. C. Higginbotham, Bill Coleman — but this band (although everyone’s deeply immersed in the tradition) is playing itself, which makes us glad.

SHINE:

ON TREASURE ISLAND:

EVERYBODY LOVES MY BABY:

WHEN I GROW TOO OLD TO DREAM:

ONCE IN A WHILE:

BUDDY BOLDEN’S BLUES:

AFTER YOU’VE GONE:

SOMEDAY SWEETHEART:

GIVE ME YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER:

COME BACK SWEET PAPA:

SOLID OLD MAN:

JOE LOUIS STOMP:

Clint and friends will be back at the Cafe on May 2, 16, and 30; June 6, 13, 20 — with more Fridays to be announced.

May your happiness increase!

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.

THOSE RHYTHM MEN: CLINT BAKER’S CAFE BORRONE ALL-STARS (April 1, 2011)

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.

SMILES (June 11, 2010)

There are smiles / that make us happy . . . !

And there’s music that makes us smile. 

A case in point, thanks to Rae Ann Berry, Clint Baker’s Cafe Borrone All-Stars, and this wonderful ancient song (I hear Chick Bullock singing it circa 1940 — a touching performance).  Here it’s played by Leon Oakley, trumpet; veteran Bob Mielke, trombone; Robert Young, reeds; Ray Skjelbred, keyboard; Bill Rinehart, bass; Clint Baker, guitar plus!; Jeff Hamilton, drums.

You’ll notice a few delightful sidelights: what other band has its leader put down his guitar, play a hot clarinet chorus, and then go back to rhythm?  I love the Skjelbred – Hamilton interplay late in the performance, and I am especially amused by the young man (is he officially a “toddler”?) with his picture book, who seems transfixed by the music.  He’ll grow up to have his own jazz blog at the very least.

I find myself smiling: I hope you are doing the same.