Classic songs, played with expertise and feeling, by Danny Tobias, trumpet, Eb alto horn; Jim Lawlor, drums; Mark Shane, piano; Randy Reinhart, trombone, euphonium; Pat Mercuri, guitar; Joe Plowman, string bass; (guest) Mary Lou Newnam, tenor saxophone . . . thanks to the Pennsylvania Jazz Society.
SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME (Randy) / BODY AND SOUL (Mary Lou) / MOOD INDIGO (Danny):
Charlie Shavers’ UNDECIDED:
ONE HOUR, or, for the pedantic among us, IF I COULD BE WITH YOU ONE HOUR TONIGHT:
And a lovely swinging beverage, TEA FOR TWO, from which I draw my title:
A wonderfully rewarding afternoon . . . and you haven’t seen or heard all of it yet.
I was only fooling. No need to call 911 or hide the children. I’m celebrating the closing performance of Danny Tobias and the Safe Sextet at the Pennsylvania Jazz Society’s June 13, 2021 concert in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. The Safe Sextet is Danny, trumpet and Eb alto horn; Randy Reinhart, trombone and euphonium; Mark Shane, piano; Pat Mercuri, guitar; Joe Plowman, string bass; Jim Lawlor, drums. And they play TIGER RAG — without devouring the song or the audience. This one’s for my friend / friend of the music Joan Bauer:
Anyway, should an escaped tiger have burst into the hall, we had our secret weapon / protector: Clyde Beauregard Redmile-Tobias, who would have pacified it with wags and licks:
More to come from this delightful afternoon, with no wild beasts in sight. (However, the photograph of the tiger caught my attention because of its lovely coat and shining teeth. Is there a Tiger Spa, and does this one floss?)
I asked my friend, the most admired Danny Tobias, what he wanted the band name to be for me to write about the session and annotate the videos: quickly, he came up with what you see above. Just another reason to admire him!
This was glorious jazz on a Sunday afternoon: a wonderful post-pandemic concert sponsored by the Pennsylvania Jazz Society and presented in Hellertown, Pennsylvania, featuring Danny Tobias, trumpet and Eb alto horn, Randy Reinhart, trombone and euphonium, Pat Mercuri, guitar; Mark Shane, piano; Joe Plowman, string bass; Jim Lawlor, drums, vocal; Mary Lou Newnam, tenor saxophone (guest star).
Here are the first four selections from the concert. I apologize (as videographer) for giving Randy less than his due, visually, but he comes through loud and clear.
WASHINGTON AND LEE SWING:
What a delightful way to gather with the faithful and celebrate. You should know that the Safe Sextet has a mascot — Clyde Beauregard Redmile-Tobias, and he’s safe, too. In later videos, you will see a wagging tail bottom right: Mark Shane commented on what good time Clyde keeps. No surprise.
Future concerts for the Pennsylvania Jazz Society will be Sunday, July 25: Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society; September 12: Glenn Crytzer Quartet; October 10: Jazz Lobsters Big Band; November 21: Jam Session. All concerts are from 2-4:30 PM at the Dewey Hall, 502 Durham Street, Hellertown, Pennsylvania. Students may attend free; first-timers and PJS members pay $15; non-members, $20.
Here is their Facebook page; here is their webpage.
Immense thanks to Mike Kuehn, Joan Bauer, and Peter Reichlin of the PJS for their kindnesses.
I’m happy to announce that another small swinging group of hot-jazz-plus individualists exists, and there’s recorded evidence to prove their ability to spread good sounds. This new band’s motto is CRIMINALLY GOOD MUSIC, and their cover picture is of leader Jack Ray, furtively walking off with a plastic milk crate that wasn’t his a minute before but is his now. But since you can’t listen to a plastic box, the band has released a debut EP:
And you needn’t fear Jack and friends: all they want would be your ears. The MCB is an international band: Jack (who plays tenor banjo, sings, and composes) has rounded up some Vancouver friends — string bassist Jen Hodge and reedman Connor Stewart among them — and the New Orleans trumpet star Kevin Louis — to make a disc that has wonderful echoes of songs and swing but ultimately has its own distinctive personality.
There is a good deal that initially sounds familiar on this disc: New Orleans street rhythms, the prominence of the banjo — which in this case, is an excellent thing, since Jack truly knows how to play it. But the MCB offer pleasing surprises to even the most jaded listener. Many of the originals here seem for a moment to borrow a cadence or two from jazz classics, but if you blink, the echo is gone and the song has gone its own way, refreshingly. The instrumental voicings, as well, move in and out of the familiar, and for those wanting to know Who or What this band “sounds like,” I kept thinking of Gordon Au and the Grand Street Stompers, and those who know me will know that is high praise. But there’s also a distinct folk flavor here (it doesn’t get in the way of the swing, lest you worry) and by the time I’d played the disc twice, I had come to think of Jack and friends as writers of musical vignettes: each one brief, memorable, quirky, unpredictable.
They deserve an attentive (although gleeful) listen.
Here‘s their Facebook page and website. You can see videos of the band in action hereand buy / download their CD here. Every human need (at least as far as it relates to the lively music of the Milk Crate Bandits) gratified.