Through the kindness of Joe Shepherd, we have another trip backwards in time to view and hear the magic of the music. In case you missed the first excursion, do visit here.
Be forewarned: the visual quality of this video is quite murky — almost twenty thousand leagues under the sea, although Verne never heard such music. One can get used to it. This is what much-transferred forty-years-old videotape looks like, but the audio is loud and clear.
This video is a valuable document, because it and its predecessor from the same session are (as far as I know) the only performance footage of cornetist Johnny Wiggs and clarinetist Raymond Burke — lyrical heroes of mine — here accompanied by Graham Stewart, trombone, Bob Greene, piano, Danny Barker, guitar, Freddie Moore, drums: Johnny Wiggs’ Bayou Stompers, introduced by Johnson “Fat Cat” McRee, sometime singer / kazooist and eternal jazz lover – festival creator. They play a nice old blues (close to MAKE ME A PALLET ME ON THE FLOOR) at a sweet tempo, the beat marked off in a special old-time way by Freddie. And Raymond Burke’s sliding, gliding feet (in very shiny loafers) are a visual treat in themselves; even the cameraperson thought so.
Burke and Wiggs are uplifting poets of the music: sad but not maudlin or frozen in time, playing the blues from deep knowledge of what they are, where they came from, and how they feel to listeners. There’s a good deal of Jelly Roll Morton here, too, which is always uplifting.
This video — although its originator is not known to me — comes to us through the loving diligence of trumpeter / archivist Joe Shepherd, Sflair on YouTube, someone who cares a great deal for and about this music. Thank you, Joe! And this one’s for you — John Gill and Leon Oakley, Roger Wade, Doug Pomeroy, Chris Tyle, Sam McKinistry, Trygve Hernæs, and Hank O’Neal! (“By popular demand” — more from Johnny Wiggs and Raymond Burke!)
May your happiness increase.