Tag Archives: Menlo Park

“I’M THE WININ’ BOY (DON’T DENY MY NAME)”

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.

IN A LOUIS MOOD: CLINT BAKER and FRIENDS

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?