Tag Archives: Robert Burch

“WESTWARD HOT”: RAY SKJELBRED, KIM CUSACK, CLINT BAKER, KATIE CAVERA, JEFF HAMILTON (July 7-10, 2016)

ray skjelbred

Every year at about this time, Ray Skjelbred and his Cubs make a tour of the Bay Area in Northern California, including visits to the Dixieland session at Rossmoor, the Cline Wine and Dixieland Festival, Pier 23, Cafe Borrone, and other fortunate locations.  (Don’t let the “Dixieland” label throw you; what Ray and Company play is light-years away from that manufactured product. Marketing isn’t music.)

Note: I realize that my title is geographically inaccurate, since everyone in this band lives in the West, as one of my Corrections Officers is sure to point out, but it made more sense than titling this post SOUTHBOUND, in honor of Alex Hill.

Here are the details from Ray’s own site, a remarkable place to spend a few hours.

Ray and his Cubs onstage at Rossmoor, perhaps 2014.

Ray and his Cubs onstage at Rossmoor, perhaps 2014.

Ray has the good luck to have a dedicated videographer and archivist, RaeAnn Berry, somewhere between tireless and indefatigable, who will offer up large helpings of the music performed in these few delightful days.

Here’s a deliciously satisfying taste: DARKTOWN STRUTTERS BALL at an enticing tempo — in a thoroughly Commodore manner that reminds me, and perhaps you, of TAPPIN’ THE COMMODORE TILL:

That’s one performance from their July 7 concert at Rossmoor.  I encourage you to subscribe to RaeAnn’s channel, where you can see the other dozen or so performances from that concert (made possible by the energetic devotion of Robert Burch and Vonne Anne Heninger, to give that kind pair their full monickers) and several thousand other musical delights.

As I write this in New York, RaeAnn is surely videoing something . . . and I know there will be more Ray / Cubs epiphanies to come.

May your happiness increase!

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JOIN THEIR FUN: RAY SKJELBRED, KIM CUSACK, JEFF HAMILTON, KATIE CAVERA, CLINT BAKER (Rossmoor Jazz Club, July 9, 2015)

One of the deep pleasures of being a temporary / intermittent California resident for large chunks of the past few years was being able to savor the beautiful music created by Ray Skjelbred and his Cubs: Ray, piano, vocal; Kim Cusack, clarinet, vocal; Katie Cavera, guitar, vocal; Clint Baker, string bass, vocal; Jeff Hamilton, drums.

It’s nice to know that through the miracle of technology, I don’t have to miss out on much: Rae Ann Berry took her camera and tripod to Walnut Creek, California, just the other day (July 9, 2015) and captured an evening of Ray and the Cubs at Rossmoor, thanks to the “Rossmoor Jazz Club,” the generous invention of Bob and Vonne Anne Burch.

Here is my absolute favorite from that evening:

SWEETHEARTS ON PARADE:

Everything this band does cheers me — I want a CD devoted to Kim’s vocals! — but this performance has out-in-the-open spectacular drumming, ensemble and solo, from one of the finest on the planet, Jeff Hamilton.  The whole band rocks and soars, but Hamilton elevates it all several stories in the air.  And bring the children into the room to let them hear what a rhythm section sounds like.  It’s not too early to teach them right.

And I have a special fondness for this song because of this fellow.  I think I first heard this recording before I had a driver’s license: I can summon up the picture of the cover of the German Odeon lp which contained it:

I love everything about this 1930 recording, including Lionel Hampton’s drum accents behind Louis’ muted melody statement, the guitar obbligato by Bill Perkins behind the vocal (that vocal!) . . . . and that trumpet solo, which I would stand up against Joyce, Stravinsky, or Kandinsky.  Yeah, man.

Now, I urge you, enjoy the Cubs once again.  Yes, they can follow Louis!

Send this post to your Sweetheart.  And if (s)he says, “What is this?” you can have a good time explaining the mystery of it all, can’t you?

May your happiness increase!

STILL MORE “HOORAY FOR CAPTAIN SKJELBRED!” (July 10, 2014)

Ray Skjelbred’s birthday was yesterday, celebrated [although inadequately]         here.  I think there should have been dancing in the streets, children strewing flowers, people handing out RS pinback buttons at commuter rail stations, and more.

But it also made me ask, “Why should a birthday celebration quietly steal away after twenty-four hours?  We’re still rejoicing that Ray has landed among us and persists in his generous dispensing of joy.”

So even though I think the birthday dinner may have been eaten, the socks unwrapped and worn, the book begun, and the like, I would like to celebrate Captain Skjelbred with three more video performances — these captured at Rossmoor in Walnut Creek, California (thanks to Robert Burch and the Dixieland Jazz Club there) with Ray and his Cubs: Katie Cavera, guitar; Kim Cusack, clarinet and vocal; Clint Baker, string bass; Jeff Hamilton, drums.

THREE LITTLE WORDS (nice ones for sure):

BASIN STREET BLUES (at the Louis 1928 tempo):

NOBODY’S SWEETHEART NOW (with vocal chorus by the Swing Swain of the Airwaves, Kim Cusack.  A word about that vocal.  Kim is a superb singer perhaps because he doesn’t take singing all that seriously, which lends his vocals a casual stylish authority.  Connoisseurs of Cusack vocalizing — and I know many — are especially fond of his singing this tune, which he ends on “Naaaaooooow!” an extended dipthong that resembles the annoyed wail of a large menacing Siamese cat.  Try it at home!):

Dear Captain Skjelbred.  Happy birthday again.  Happy birthday still.  And thanks so much to you and your Cubs.

May your happiness increase!

STEPHANIE TRICK, PAOLO ALDERIGHI, MARTY EGGERS, DANNY COOTS: A NIGHT AT THE ROSSMOOR JAZZ CLUB, MARCH 11, 2014 (Part Two)

We had such a good time!  Fine music and warm feelings filled the room when Stephanie Trick and Paolo Alderighi, piano; Marty Eggers, string bass; Danny Coots, drums, played to a full house at the Rossmoor Jazz Club in Walnut Creek, California, on March 11, 2014. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here is the first half of this glorious concert.

“Effervescent” and “versatile” are the two words that come to mind when I think of Stephanie and Paolo.

While you are admiring the beaming pair, please don’t neglect Marty and Danny — rocking and flexible, rhythm men of great renown.

And here’s the rest, with a chocolate-covered surprise at the end.

GRANDPA’S SPELLS (with Paolo’s dangerous but perfectly controlled elbow):

CLOTHESLINE BALLET:

MINOR DRAG:

BOOGIE WOOGIE:

RUNNIN’ WILD:

‘DEED I DO:

IT HAD TO BE YOU:

EXACTLY LIKE YOU:

I WISH I WERE TWINS (as a samba):

TEA FOR TWO CHA CHA CHA:

BALLAD MEDLEY:

ST. LOUIS BLUES:

A Surprise:

(The Rossmoor Jazz Club offers concerts monthly in a beautiful hall for reasonable prices: see here for their schedule and details. Additional concerts are November 19: the Crown Syncopators — Frederick Hodges, Marty Eggers, and Virginia Tichenor; December 10, the Devil Mountain Jazz Band. The Beloved and I will for certain be there when Ray Skjelbred and his Cubs play, and when Clint Baker’s New Orleans Jazz Band romps. Check the schedule for these marvels in the offing.)

May your happiness increase!

STEPHANIE TRICK, PAOLO ALDERIGHI, MARTY EGGERS, DANNY COOTS: A NIGHT AT THE ROSSMOOR JAZZ CLUB, MARCH 11, 2014 (Part One)

Good music and good feelings filled the room when Stephanie Trick and Paolo Alderighi, piano; Marty Eggers, string bass; Danny Coots, drums, played to a full house at the Rossmoor Jazz Club in Walnut Creek, California, on March 11, 2014.  (The RJC offers concerts monthly in a beautiful hall for reasonable prices: see here for their schedule and details.  Additional concerts are November 19: the Crown Syncopators — Frederick Hodges, Marty Eggers, and Virginia Tichenor; December 10, the Devil Mountain Jazz Band.)

I don’t have to introduce Stephanie, Paolo, Marty, or Danny to JAZZ LIVES, or the reverse, so here is the first portion of the concert, for your enjoyment.

I NEVER KNEW:

JUST A CLOSER WALK WITH THEE:

THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR THE SUNRISE:

AFTER YOU’VE GONE:

HANDFUL OF KEYS:

SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY:

Two more segments — and an after-concert surprise — to come.

May your happiness increase!

COMING SOON! STEPHANIE TRICK, PAOLO ALDERIGHI, MARTY EGGERS, DANNY COOTS at the ROSSMOOR JAZZ CLUB (Tuesday, March 11, 2014)

On Tuesday, March 11, 2014, I will be away from my computer, but for the best reasons: the Beloved and I will be at the Rossmoor Jazz Club (in Walnut Creek — details here) for a comfortably warm evening of hot music provided by Stephanie Trick, Paolo Alderighi, pianos; Marty Eggers, string bass; Danny Coots, drums.  I have been told by the trustworthy Robert Burch that the theatre where all this takes place is comfortable, it seats 500, and dancers are welcome.   Admission is $10 (members) and $15 (non-members), and one can become a member with an annual payment of $30. The concert begins at 7:30, but you’ll want to get their earlier.

And just in case you haven’t heard Stephanie and Paolo, I offer these four beautiful performances from their November 2013 appearance at the San Diego Jazz Fest.  The room was dark; the sounds were glowing.

THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT:

SHREVEPORT STOMP:

TAKING A CHANCE ON LOVE (and why not? The rewards are evident):

Their mock-battle, all in fun, on BILL BAILEY:

See you there. And check out the bill of fare for the rest of 2014: excellent music is on the menu.

May your happiness increase!