One of the nicest things about my jazz-immersion through this blog is the possibility of having dear friends and admired artists — rarely or never met face-to-face. I think of these two: the saxophonist / composer Keenan McKenzie (still only a cyber-pal) and the singer Laura Windley, whom I’ve had the good fortune to encounter on both coasts.
Let me begin with the most recent expression of good-humored swing and expert rockin’ in rhythm, Keenan’s PARTS AND LABOR, beautifully Basie-fied by Josh Collazo, drums; Noah Hocker, trumpet; William Ledbetter, string bass; Keenan McKenzie, saxophone; James Posedel, piano; Jonathan Stout, guitar:
Keenan’s also a composer of nifty love songs — here’s a favorite, with Laura singing and charming us, along with Lucian Cobb, trombone; Daniel Faust, drums; William Ledbetter, Keenan McKenzie, James Posedel, and Jonathan Stout:
Yes, socially distant but emotionally close.
Now, some history and then some commerce.
I first encountered Laura and the Mint Julep Jazz Band in 2013 (can it be that long ago?) when a friend sent me a copy of their CD, DURHAM ON SATURDAY NIGHT, and I wrote happily about it here. And the same thing happened again two years later, with their BATTLE AXE, and my pleasure here. Keenan offered his own wonderful CD, FORGED IN RHYTHM, in 2017 — my post here — and so I trust these people to make the best music, subtle and groovy. They are also part of what I would respectfully call the Great Swing Dance Collective, so they pop up with their own groups and as side-people: I video-ed Laura at San Diego (2018) with Michael Gamble’s Rhythm Serenaders, and she sings gorgeously as part of Gordon Au’s evocation of the Louis Armstrong All-Stars.
Now, since Sam Goody’s is just a memory (insert name of your favorite record store chain) those in the know go to bandcamp.com — where we can purchase the music of independent artists on CDs and downloads. TODAY, MAY 1, Bandcamp has waived all fees, so that whatever you pay goes directly to the artist. “Good deal!” to quote my hero Sidney.
So, please, instead of wallowing in the torrents of free music offered open-heartedly, go visit https://keenanmckenzie.bandcamp.com/ and https://mintjulepjazzband.bandcamp.com/ and https://gordonau.bandcamp.com/ — drop some bills in the tip jar, and enhance the gray days of isolation / quarantine / lockdown with music that rewards not only the hearer but the artists. You’ll find the irritations of daily life diminished because of the sounds.
May your happiness increase!