What do Rae Ann Berry, Elin Smith, and Lisa (Mook) Ryan have in common? They’re all women who have a deep involvement in jazz, even though they don’t play instruments. Nor are they married to instrumentalists or players.
All three are very creative members of the jazz audience — which is often more male than female. But they do more than sit and applaud: they are improvisers behind the camera, video artists.
Rae Ann is known to many by her YouTube channel name — SFRaeAnn — and she takes her camera to jazz happenings on the West Coast: regularly, she finds Clint Baker and his band at Cafe Borrone in Menlo Park, or a solo piano recital by the esteemed Ray Skjelbred at Pier 23 in San Francisco, as well as regularly videorecording jazz fetival performances. Here are two of her most recent captures:
From July 20, 2010, here’s Ray working his deep-blue way through KMH DRAG, an impromptu blues line created by Max Kaminsky, Freddie Moore, and Art Hodes for a memorable Blue Note record date in (I believe) 1944:
And ten days later, Rae Ann recorded Clint and friends at Cafe Borrone, playing HINDUSTAN. That’s Clint, clarinet; Leon Oakley, trumpet and necktie; Jim Klippert, trombone; Jason Vanderford, guitar; Bill Reinhart, bass; Steve Apple, drums; and Robert Young, banjo. There’s good rocking tonight, New Orleans-style:
Elin Smith lives in England, and it was my good fortune to meet her and Ron, her husband, last year at Whitley Bay and again this year.
Elin loves to record jazz performances, but also is fascinated by composing films: her YouTube channel is “elinshouse,” and here she’s trained her lens on two performances by Thomas Winteler, who sounds more like Sidney Bechet than anyone I’ve ever heard. These songs are from the most recent Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival, where Thomas was joined by my hero Bent Persson on trumpet, Michel Bard on reeds, Lou Laprete on piano, Henri Lamaire on bass, and Ron Houghton on drums for ALLIGATOR CRAWL:
And a triumphant POTATO HEAD BLUES. Like its predecessor, it suggests what might have happened if Sidney had brought his clarinet into the OKeh studios while Louis and his Hot Seven were recording:
Finally, there’s Lisa (Mook) Ryan, another Californian.
Lisa is intrigued not only by the music of Bix Beiderbecke but by the people who continue to investigate it, play it, and keep his legacy alive. She’s done wonderfully atmospheric films set to Bix’s music. Here’s IN THE DARK (as played by Dick Hyman) which she’s used atmospherically — creating juxtapositions of slowly-observed still photographs — to muse on what Bix experienced and felt in the year 1928, all seen as shades of light, shadow, and blackness. Other impressionistic creations of Lisa’s can be seen on her “MookRyan” channel:
Most recently, under the heading of “MookCam,” she’s captured cornetist Andy Schumm in performance. Although youthful, Andy has so many fans with video cameras (including myself) that he might be the most-documented jazz musician of the last two or three years — a singular tribute to his talent and the affection it inspires!
Here are Andy and His Gang at the Putnam Museum, on July 22, 2010. Andy is playing Bix’s cornet, John Otto on clarinet and sax, Vince Giordano on bass sax/tuba/string bass, Dave Bock on trombone, David Boeddinghaus on the Beiderbecke family piano, Leah Bezin on banjo, and Josh Duffee on drums for a merging of CLARINET MARMALADE and SINGIN’ THE BLUES:
The generous creativity of RaeAnn, Elin, and Lisa inspires us!