No, I didn’t hear any shouts in the night, “The British are coming!” (Or, for that matter, “The British are going!”)
But if Paul Revere had been well and truly hip, he might have shouted, “Hot jazz in Ypsilanti! Thursday nights! Cultivate!” and that would have gotten me out of bed for sure.
Here are three truly entrancing performances recorded on June 16 and 23, 2016, by Laura Wyman of Wyman Video — yes, she deserves her own place in the personnel roster). The leader of this morphing band of creators is Erin Morris, tuba. Yes, I know you know Erin as a unique dancer and choreographer, but she is also a wonderful low-brass player, able to entrance us when she’s just sitting still.
I’VE GOT THE WORLD ON A STRING with Erin; James Dapogny, keyboard (“He makes that new piano sound exactly like old,” to paraphrase Johnny Mercer); Rod McDonald, guitar; Chris Tabaczynski, C-melody saxophone. Where? Cultivate Coffee & Tap House, Ypsilanti, Michigan:
That’s the very definition of Mellow to me, what I think of as the music the great artists make for themselves when the lights aren’t shining in their faces. Not morose nor a let’s-show-the-people-this-is-jazz romp, but pretty and moving. And Erin plays the tuba with gentleness; at times in the ensemble it sounds like a sweet bass saxophone heard from far away. And Chris Tabaczynski is my new Youngblood Hero. Dapogny and McDonald have been Heroes of mine for years.
Now, let’s add a little Americana to the mix, as Bonnie Smith sings CARELESS LOVE in an unaffected, heartfelt way, with her father, Christopher, on trombone; Alex Belhaj, guitar; Erin and Jim:
Finally, what my dear friend Mike Burgevin used to call a “Bingie” — one of those songs that we hear through a sacred veil of Crosby — WRAP YOUR TROUBLES IN DREAMS, performed by Christopher, Alex, Jim, and Erin:
All I can say about this scene is that it does my heart good to know that a small group of secular saints is bringing lyricism into the world. Cultivate Joy. And for my part, I’ve got my plane ticket to Ann Arbor.
May your happiness increase!