“RaeAnn Berry” is, I believe, what it says on her driver’s license — but for fans of Hot Music, she’s “SFRaeAnn,” and we owe her many thanks for the jazz she posts with unflagging regularity on YouTube. She takes her camera down to Cafe Borrone in Menlo Park, California, to record a few performance by Clint Baker’s All-Stars, and every week I watch the clips with pleasure. Two tiny mysteries always are a part of the experience: Clint is truly multi-instrumental and multi-talented, so I always wonder, “What instrument(s) will he be playing this week?” And most sessions feature the wonderful work of trumpeter Leon Oakley. But Leon always looks serious, pensive, even when he’s just played a beautiful impromptu creation. I was beginning to wonder about his worldview, although no unhappy man could play so well.
Thus, it is with elation and relief that I post two clips from the All-Stars’ performances of October 23, 2009. And, rather like the advertisements for early sound pictures that told us GARBO TALKS! — I report with pleasure that 1) Leon is playing splendidly, beyond splendidly, and 2) he grins now and again through these two performances. You had me worried, my man!
The first performance is EXACTLY LIKE YOU — which Leon starts off with a melodic improvisation instead of a straight melody line — quite fetching — and things get hotter from then on!
Then, a rarely-played Twenties favorite, paying tribute to that kid from New Orleans, PAPA DIP. Here, I delight in Clint’s directing of musical traffic during the breaks. Good job!
The other All-Stars are having a good time, as always: Clint on clarinet; Katie Cavera, banjo and vocal; Robert Young, alto and tenor sax; Jim Klippert, trombone; Bill Reinhart, bass; Tom Wilson, guitar; J. Hansen, drums. Visit Clint at: http://www.clintbakerjazz.com