Tag Archives: Whitley Bay

“THE ETERNAL PRESENT,” or ONWARDS TO the SAN DIEGO THANKSGIVING DIXIELAND JAZZ FESTIVAL(Nov. 23-27, 2011)

England, Summer, 2009

We all know that it’s crucial to live in the Moment — NOW — not to be looking over our shoulders at the triumphs and failures of the past, or to be “killing time” waiting for Something Good That’s Coming.  Occasionally, living in the Moment is nothing more than effectively focusing ourselves on the reality that is right in front of us: how the coffee really tastes to us, how the sunlight gleams on the red leaves outside the window.

But when it comes to the delightful and sometimes odd intersection of jazz and the internet, the Moment gets harder to pin down.  As I write this, in the background of my computer, I am downloading videos from Jazz at Chautauqua — music performed in the Past of mid-September 2011 — so that JAZZ LIVES can share them.  And in another room, videos taken just this past weekend at Mike Durham’s Classic Jazz Party at Whitley Bay (Newcastle, England) are being copied from my camera onto a presumably more durable external hard drive.  And as I write this, I am listening to a “new” CD — from 1992 — of THE YOUNG GENERATION OF SWING — including those youths Kellso, Barrett, Sandke, Alden, Allen, Allred . . . in their collective boyhoods.

Now, which one of these is the Present?

And, to complicate matters, Chris Albertson posted the third part of an interview he did with Lil Hardin Armstrong —

stomp-off.blogspot.com/2011/11/lil-armstrong-1968.html

The interviews are wonderful, but what caught my eye and stays in my imagination is a photograph that Lil saved — a portrait of her young husband Louis, which he inscribed most tenderly: “To my Dear Wife, whom I’ll love till I die, from “Hubby,” Louis Armstrong.”  Chris tells me that the photograph is from September 23, 1929.  And I read that sweet inscription, knowing that the happiness Louis and Lil shared wouldn’t last — but I imagine the romance and delight that is in that inscription, which is its own kind of Moment, not to be tarnished all that much by our knowledge of what was to come.

The flower at the top of this post is dead.  Or is it?  It seems tangibly alive through the bright colors of the photograph.

Sometimes our ability to have a rewarding Moment relies on planning for it well in advance.  Thus, while I am downloading Chautauqua and still fresh from Whitley Bay, I must remind myself and you all about what is to come at the end of November 2011: the 32nd Annual San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival.  Hot jazz in profusion, giving us all things to be deeply thankful for.  I found out that tickets are still available . . . . take a look at this schedule, and you’ll see what there is to get excited about:

http://www.dixielandjazzfestival.org/pdfs/ScheduleGrid.pdf

It’s reassuring for me to be able to see where I might be having a good time all through that weekend.  I hope to see you there — and even if I’m filming, I will smile and wave (all in silent-film fashion): tell them that JAZZ LIVES sent you!

That’s the music that we love so deeply — a series of Moments that don’t die, giving us an Eternal Present.

“OUT OF OFFICE AUTOREPLY,” or “TOO BUSY”

In case anyone might be wondering what has happened to the tireless flow of material on JAZZ LIVES — I received an email yesterday inquiring about my health — may I assure you all that both I and the blog are in fine shape.

But we are Otherwise Occupied.

Not in court or in the doctor’s waiting room.  But at Mike Durham’s Classic Jazz Party (otherwise known in past years as the Whitley Bay International Jazz Party).  And the music there has been astonishing and promises to continue at that level.  Here are some names: Josh Duffee, Nick Ward, Bent Persson, Michel Bastide, Kristoffer Kompen, Norman Field, Matthias Seuffert, Jean-Francois Bonnel, Andy Schumm, Paul Asaro, Mauro Porro, Martin Wheatley, Richard Pite, David Sager, Debbie Arthurs, Mike Durham, Rico Tomasso . . . . and that’s without my looking at the list.

And last night there was a jam session in the Victory Pub — from which I extricated myself at 1:45 AM as a nod to self-preservation.

I can promise you that you’ll see some of this on JAZZ LIVES in about two months — but the best reward you might give yourself would be to book for the 2012 party.  Then you’ll understand that TOO BUSY isn’t always a bad thing.

DON’T FORGET OUR WHITLEY BAY DATE!

The days go by so quickly that I awoke with a start from some non-musical activity to realize, “It’s only three weeks until the 2011 Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party!”  This is thrilling rather than anxiety-producing, because I know that I will be eyebrow-deep in the best jazz imaginable, with Jean-Francois Bonnel, Bent Persson, Josh Duffee, Norman Field, Cecile McLorin, Nick Ward, Matthias Seuffert, Andy Schumm, Mike Durham, Kristoffer Kompen, Keith Nichols, Rico Tomassi . . . do I have to go on? 

The party is being held at the Village Newcastle (a comfy hotel) and will begin on Friday, November 4, and go rocketing through to early Monday morning, November 7. 

And Mike has very good ideas (aside from being a fine hot trumpet player himself): all the sets in the Party are thematic — except for jam sessions in the pub every night, which have been marvelous.  The sets run an hour or so; they take place in the same large comfortable room; it will be a pageant of the best jazz and vintage pop music.  I can’t wait.

And there’s more: a concert at the extraordinary Sage Gateshead concert hall on Thursday, November 3, featuring the music of the Goodman small groups with Wheatley, Seuffert, Nichols, Tomassi, and others.

I know that some of you are thinking, “Hey, I can’t fly to England just like that.”  And others might say to themselves, “I know Michael.  Michael will be bringing his video camera, so even if I can’t go, I’ll see some of this.”  I sympathize with the first statement, and the second one is also true.  However, videos aren’t the real thing, so I hope people realize 1) that there is a life beyond the monitor, and 2) these enterprises need paying customers to survive (the musicians need you to BE THERE). 

All this is being launched at JAZZ LIVES readers because some seats are still available for the Party, and day tickets are on sale here:

http://www.whitleybayjazzfest.org/booking.html

So don’t let this opportunity pass you by — and come up and say “Hello!” in your best Clarence Williams manner.

MORE FROM ANDY SCHUMM at WHITLEY BAY (July 11, 2010)

We were very fortunate that Andy Schumm had three concert-length appearances at the Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival, each with his Bixologists.  On the final day of the festival, the Bixologists were Norman Field, reeds; Paul Munnery, trombone; Keith Nichols, piano and vocals; Spats Langham, guitar, banjo, vocals; Frans Sjostrom, bass saxophone, with guest appearances by Michael McQuaid, clarinet, and Nick Ward, drums (the latter in the second part of this posting). 

Here are ten marvelous performances from that session!

Howdy Quicksell’s SINCE MY BEST GAL TURNED ME DOWN is unusually sprightly for its rather sad theme.  Two conventions are also at work here: the witty imitation of a wind-up phonograph at the start, sliding into pitch on the first note, and the slow-drag break at the end.  (They are as solidly accepted pieces of performance practice as the whole-tone break in SOMEBODY STOLE MY GAL, something that Dan Barrett and Jon-Erik Kellso do perfectly when the stars are right.):

SUGAR isn’t the more famous Maceo Pinkard song, beloved of Ethel Waters and Louis Armstrong, but a bouncy concoction on its own, here sung most convincingly by Mr. Langham:

RHYTHM KING (listen to that Rhythm King, I tell you!) falls to Keith Nichols, so ably:

Bix and his friends didn’t exist in a vacuum, though: while they were in the OKeh studios, so were Louis and Bessie Smith and Clarence Williams. Andy invited our friend Michael McQuaid up to the stand to whip up a ferocious version of Clarence Williams’ CUSHION FOOT STOMP, which suggests a healing visit to the podiatrist or something else whose meaning eludes me:

Letting Michael off the stand after only one number would have been a bad idea, so he and Norman embarked on a two-clarinet version of the ODJB (and Beiderbecke) CLARINET MARMALADE, which paid homage not only to Johnny Dodds and Boyd Senter but to Olympic gymnasts as well:

Who was CLORINDA?  Only the Chicago Loopers knew for sure:

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band affected everyone who had even fleeting thoughts of playing jazz at the beginning of the last century: here’s their ORIGINAL DIXIELAND JAZZ BAND ONE-STEP, which has no relation whatsoever to CUSHION FOOT STOMP:

Andy Secrest would be jazz’s most forgotten man if it weren’t for the affectionate recall of people like Andy Schumm and Dick Sudhalter, who brought him out of the shadows (he was rather like the understudy forced to step into an unfillable role).  WHAT A DAY! is in his honor:

I’M GOING TO  MEET MY SWEETIE NOW — always a delightful thought — brings us back to the days of those all-too-few romping recordings the Jean Goldkette Orchestra made for Victor Records:

And (finally, for this posting) another version of BALTIMORE — the new dance craze — a rhythm that’s hot, as Keith Nichols knows so well:

More to come (on the other side, of course)!

THREE BY THREE AT WHITLEY BAY (July 11, 2010)

Originally I thought of calling this post COULDN’T BE BETTER, but I decided to be less emphatic.  Still, I am a devout and devoted admirer of the Hot Jazz Trio, one of the few aggregations on this planet that not only lives up to their billing but usually transcends it. 

Who are (or is?) the Hot Jazz Trio?  The simple answer is Bent Persson, trumpet, cornet, mellophone, and even vocals; Frans Sjostrom, bass saxophone and masterful master of ceremonies; Jacob Ullberger, banjo, guitar, and more. 

These three musicians are Swedish, but they don’t get together that frquently for gigs, because they don’t all live nearby.  So what I have in my mind and ears is a wondrous CD on the Kenneth label, titled HOT JAZZ TRIO, their 2009 performance at Whitley Bay, and their briefer one this year.  That’s not enough, but it will have to do for the moment.

The three videos below tell the story of a versatile jazz ensemble, who (collectively and singly) are able to get inside the skins of Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers, Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five, the Ellington orchestra of the late Thirties and early Forties, Bix Beiderbecke and his Gang.  They aren’t trying to “play old records live,” but they do bring those noble ghosts into the room and make them welcome.

Here’s their AT THE JAZZ BAND BALL, both energized and focused:

And in the name of good Middle East relations, they summon up not only an amusing period piece (LENA suggested EGYPTIAN ELLA and more) but also the ODJB and all that vaguely exotic splendor of the beginning of the last century — in LENA FROM PALESTEENA:

And, because everyone needs a little more disposable income, here’s BEAU KOO JACK — in honor of Louis, Earl, and Don Redman:

Live, lively, and more — the Hot Jazz Trio!

ANDY SCHUMM and his BIXOLOGISTS at WHITLEY BAY (July 10, 2010)

Andy Schumm is a generous person and musician, and when given a block of time, congenial musical friends, and a receptive audience, he doesn’t spare himself. 

What follows is the first set of a Bix Beiderbecke-themed morning concert at the 2010 Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival, recorded on July 10, 2010. 

Andy played cornet and piano; his colleagues were Paul Munnery, trombone; Norman Field, reeds and persiflage; Paul Asaro, piano; Jacob Ullberger, banjo and guitar; Frans Sjostrom, bass saxophone; Josh Duffee, drums. 

They began with MARGIE — we’re always thinking of her, too:

Then a romantic version of I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT YOU’RE IN LOVE WITH ME (one of those songs that Andy — and I — would have loved to hear Bix play and record):

BIRMINGHAM BERTHA was a pop-jazz hit of 1929 or so, with recorded performances by Ethel Waters and Miff Mole, among others (with Josh Duffee bringing Stan King back):

JAZZ ME BLUES remains a Hot classic:

LOUISE (my request to Andy) is so pretty — whether done by Bix, Bing and the Rhythm Boys, or Lester Young and Teddy Wilson:

MY PET comes close to being a “naughty” song . . . all that heavy petting meant something then:

BLUE RIVER retains its essential melancholy:

KING PORTER STOMP takes us out of the Bix-and-Tram orbit to a parallel universe in 1924, the world where Joe Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton could find themselves playing this in duet — thankfully, in front of a microphone:

Finally, a jubliant exultation of good luck (or is it Horticultural Optimism?) — I’M LOOKING OVER A FOUR-LEAF CLOVER:

There’s a Second Set and a Third Set to come!