Tag Archives: Vic Dickenson Showcase

SWEET AND HOT IN CLEVELAND: DUKE HEITGER, DAN BARRETT, DAN BLOCK, SCOTT ROBINSON, ROSSANO SPORTIELLO, NICKI PARROTT, HOWARD ALDEN, RICKY MALICHI (Allegheny Jazz Party 2014)

When_You_and_I_Were_Young,_Maggie_(Ditson_sheet_music_cover)

My first memory of WHEN YOU AND I WERE YOUNG, MAGGIE, is from a life-changing recording by Vic Dickenson on Vanguard Records — a leisurely performance featuring Shad Collins, Ed  Hall, Sir Charles Thompson, Steve Jordan, Walter Page, and Jo Jones.  The song was first a poem, written in 1864, and I wonder if Vic knew it from John McCormack’s recording.

I can hear Vic’s version in my head as I write these words (of course, you can find the performance on YouTube).  Here’s the cover picture, which I treasure for Vic’s expression (you could write your own caption) and the matching light-blue socks:

VIC Showcase

Our business today is with the present, not the early Fifties, with living musicians who will be performing later this year in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Allegheny Jazz Party September 10-13, at the Inter-Continental Hotel on Carnegie Avenue in Cleveland (very comfortable) with music from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon by some of the finest in the world.

My interest in such events has always been THE MUSIC first, talking with people I love second, but the hotel is very modern and refreshing.  One could bring a friend who’s not entirely jazz-mad and (s)he would have a fine relaxing weekend as well.  The AJP website can be found here.

Now for the reason for all these words.  I went to my first Allegheny Jazz Party in 2004 — when it was still Jazz at Chautauqua — and it was and continues to be a high point of my year.  Why?  How about Duke Heitger, trumpet; Dan Block, clarinet; Scott Robinson, C-melody saxophone; Dan Barrett, trombone; Rossano Sportiello, piano; Howard Alden, guitar; Nicki Parrott, string bass; Ricky Malichi, drums . . . . playing MAGGIE:

And perhaps you have family and friends in or near Cleveland?  Or you can advertise for some on Craigslist.

Tickets and  prices and other necessary information here.  I hope to see some of my readers there.  And I will offer more sterling music from 2014 as we get closer to September 10.

May your happiness increase!

“IT’S WONDERFUL”: TIM LAUGHLIN – CONNIE JONES at SAN DIEGO (Nov. 24, 2012)

Imagine a small jazz band — “flexible, wasteless,” as Whitney Balliett said of an ideal group: three horns, four rhythm: trumpet, trombone, clarinet, piano, acoustic rhythm guitar, acoustic string bass, drums.   Now imagine that this group easily brought a modern lyricism — singing melodies, inspired counterpoint in the ensembles, and a lightly swinging rhythm, combining (let us say) the 1938 Teddy Wilson small groups, the Basie rhythm section, Condon in the Fifties, New Orleans seasonings — echoes of Hackett, Fazola, Jo Jones, and more.

An impossible fantasy?  No, it exists — I saw this band at the much-missed Sweet and Hot Music Festival in 2011, and in San Diego both in 2012 and 2013.  Is the suspense too much?  It’s clarinetist Tim Laughlin’s band, with cornetist Connie Jones, trombonist Mike Pittsley, pianist Chris Dawson, string bassist Marty Eggers, guitarist Katie Cavera, and drummer Hal Smith.  And although I have too many “favorites” to place one group at the apex of my listening experiences, this band shines.  See and hear for yourself.

I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT YOU’RE IN LOVE WITH ME:

KEEPIN’ OUT OF MISCHIEF NOW:

WANG WANG BLUES:

IT’S WONDERFUL:

PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ (for that wonderful rhythm section):

AS LONG AS I LIVE:

Mike Pittsley’s solo turn on STARS FELL ON ALABAMA:

JAZZ ME BLUES:

Midway through their first set at the San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival, while I was taking notes on what I was recording, I wrote the word FLOATING on the top of the page.  I still think it’s an apt title for all the music this band created over the three days of the festival (eight sets) but IT’S WONDERFUL is completely apt for them, too — the comfortable feeling of warm elation one gets from hearing the Vic Dickenson Showcase, or Jazz Ultimate with Bobby Hackett and Jack Teagarden, or perhaps a Basie small group . . . you can name your own ideals.  For now, I’m just going to think it an immense blessing that this group could be assembled and that I could be in the same place to record it . . . for myself, for all of you.

May your happiness increase.