I nominate Howard Miyata for an Academy Award: BEST ACTOR IN A PERFORMANCE BY A JAZZ BAND. Here’s why:
Rambling around YouTube, I saw a clip posted by Tom Warner (his channel is “tdub1941”) of the High Sierra Jazz Band performing at the 17th Annual Glacier Bay Jazz Stampede in Kalispell, Montata, earlier this month. The band is led by reedman Pieter Meijers. Its other members in this clip are Bruce Huddleston, piano; my man Marc Caparone, trumpet; Howard Miyata, trombone / vocal; Charlie Castro, drums; Stan Huddleston, banjo; Earl McKee, sousaphone.
This would have been enticement enough.
But then I saw the clip was of THE YAMA YAMA MAN with Howard Miyata singing. I am very fond of that song for purely sentimental reasons: when I was young, perhaps still in the single digits, Ray Nolan, a friend of my father’s used to sing it (in part) and I was enraptured.* Both my father and Ray are gone now, and the sound of this song is one of the many comforting memories of my childhood.
And anything that features Howard Miyata is, as they used to say, just my dish. We’ve never met, but he has a special place in my heart as “Uncle Howie” to Gordon, Justin, and Brandon Au — one of the true up-and-coming dynasties of jazz. I first saw Howard as part of a High Sierra brass trio playing POTATO HEAD BLUES on cornets with unforgettable accuracy and power.
So be brave and watch this performance:
Even though the Yama Yama Man might be hiding behind the armoire, just tell him that you’re a friend of Uncle Howie’s and everything will be fine.
P.S. An easy question: just which irreplaceable vocalist and trumpet player, initials L. A., does Howard remind you of? Hilariously from the heart!
*Off the track of jazz: Ray also sang something which was presumably a Civil War song (!) although he must have heard it from his grandfather or father. The singer is presumably a young man going off to fight, and what I remember of the lyrics are, “Good-bye, Ma / Good-bye, Pa / Good-bye, mule with the old hee-haw / I may not know what this war’s about / But you bet by gosh that I’ll sure find out.” Can any reader identify this?