Dawn Lambeth sings; this band rocks. That’s all you need to know. Dave Stuckey, leader, guitar; Dan Barrett, Corey Gemme, brass (swapping cornet and trombone at will); Nate Ketner, reeds; Carl Sonny Leyland, piano; Katie Cavera, string bass; Gareth Price, drums. Recorded at the Saturday-night dance party at the San Diego Jazz Fest, November 26, 2016.
Well, maybe a little explanation would do no harm. Dave’s band is a wonderful combination of Fats Waller and his Rhythm (with sly twists) and any number of fabled Fifty-Second Street small groups. But not only do they swing, but Dave writes and sings hilariously inventive originals. I’d known of Dave and the Hot House Gang because of their first CD, which I applauded here.
When I met him at San Diego, I immediately perceived him to be genuine, not someone wearing a mask for audiences. Although he and his band had only one set on Saturday night, and it was to be a battle of the bands for dancers (not conducive to my video questing) I showed up anyway, and was rewarded with this riotous performance (audibly and visually) of SHIM-ME-SHA-WABBLE . . . and then this collection of Dave’s originals and jazz classics.
I met Dawn in the last century, first through the medium of her CDs, and then in person, on both coasts. I was impressed right away by her swing, the gentle timbres of her voice, the subtle way she glides in and out of notes and phrases, her approach always natural. But usually I heard her in quiet, intimate settings (duos and trios) so when she stood in front of a larger band — such as Clint Baker’s — it was a pleasant shock. And friends have told me that she is a superb big-band singer, utterly at home in front of four brass, three reeds, and a rhythm section. I have yet to see this for myself, but look forward to it. I got a taste of what it might be like when Dawn sang so beautifully with the Hot House Gang.
And these three videos — through no conscious design of mine — resemble Reginald Marsh paintings in motion, no small benefit.
The Forties hit for Ella Mae Morse — cowboy plus Harlem hip — COW COW BOOGIE:
Two for Billie, inspired by but not imitating her. WHAT A LITTLE MOONLIGHT CAN DO:
And a pensive THESE FOOLISH THINGS, at a tempo to suit the dancers:
Hail, Dawn! Hail, Dave! Hail, dancers! Thank you, San Diego Jazz Fest, for making this magic happen.
May your happiness increase!