Tag Archives: shopping mall

“I’M THE WININ’ BOY (DON’T DENY MY NAME)”

Cafe Borrone in Menlo Park, California, looks like a perfectly nice restaurant in the middle of a shopping mall — but it has hot jazz every week.  (Wish that the mall nearest to me could get this idea.)  And Rae Ann Berry is there, faithfully. 

She captured a particularly rewarding session by Clint Baker’s Cafe Borrone All-Stars on May 14, 2010, from which I’ve taken Jelly Roll Morton’s WININ’ BOY (there’s been a small fervent discussion of whether it’s WININ’ or WINDIN’ or WINDING or WiNDING BALL and what those terms suggest . . . the usual consensus is that they refer to various types of male sexual prowess: use your imaginations). 

On this lengthy soulful version, Clint is at the drums, doing splendid things with cymbal accents; Bill Reinhart is providing a powerful string bass pulse; Jason Vanderford takes a rare acoustic guitar solo late in the performance; Robert Young emotes beautifully on the soprano sax; Jim Klippert not only anchors things on trombone but takes an impassioned vocal; trumpeter Leon Oakley finds just the right mute for each chorus; Ray Skjelbred “makes that old piano [in this case an electric keyboard] sound exactly like new,” or even better, with right-hand splashes and solid chords. 

A wonderfully cohesive group – – – especially in the middle of grilled chicken salads.  Don’t deny their names!

Thanks, as always, to Rae Ann, to the band, and even to the shoppers and diners who make this gig possible.

LONG ISLAND SOUND?

antique-map

Before my time, Long Island was a hotbed of jazz — Miff Mole was born in Freeport, and there were thriving colonies of jazz musicians in Queens: Louis, of course, in Corona; James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, Milt Hinton, Roy Eldridge and many others.  Red Allen had a steady gig at the Blue Spruce Inn in Roslyn.   

When I first became aware of jazz, like love, it was just around the corner.  Louis and the All-Stars came to the Island Garden in Hempstead in 1967; I saw Jimmy McPartland, Vic Dickenson, Joe Wilder, Milt Hinton, Dick Hyman, Buddy Tate, Jo Jones, Dill Jones, Budd Johnson, Connie Kay, and Teddy Wilson in concerts, usually free ones in the parks. Teddy, Roy Eldridge, Wilbur Little, and Joe Farrell played hour-long gigs in the shopping center Roosevelt Field in 1972.   The International Art of Jazz had wonderful concerts — I remember a quartet of Ruby Braff, Derek Smith, George Duvivier, and Bobby Rosengarden.  Ray Nance did a week in a club in Hicksville!   

Some years later, a traditional jazz society whose name now escapes me held concerts in Babylon, with Peter Ecklund, Dan Barrett, Joe Muranyi, Marty Grosz, and others.  Nancy Mullen told me of evenings when Ecklund would show up in a little Port Jefferson spot and play beautifully.  Sonny’s Place, in Seaford, had name jazz players for years.

Now, I know that most of the musicians I’ve listed above are dead.  Try as I might, I can’t make Red Allen come back to Roslyn.  But I wonder:  Is there any Mainstream jazz on Long Island?   Could it be that it has retreated utterly to safer urban refuges?  I would be grateful for any information on some place(s) where the band strikes up a familiar melody to improvise on.  It could even be  “Satin Doll,” although I would hope for better. 

Or has the region I live in given itself over completely to cellphone stores, nail salons, and highways?  Say it ain’t so, Jo (Jones, that is).