This is part of the world that Hal Smith’s Swing Central comes from — but the world of Swing Central is living and thriving now.
This little group is packed with pleasures. It’s Hal Smith’s evocation of a world where Pee Wee Russell and Lester Young could hang out at Jimmy Ryan’s, where Teddy Wilson, Charlie Christian, Eddie Condon, Pops Foster, and Dave Tough could have breakfast after the gig, perhaps chicken and waffles uptown. And the music they created as naturally as breathing was lyrical hot swing that didn’t have the time or patience for labels.
This version of Hal’s group has him on drums and moral leadership, Jonathan Doyle, clarinet and some original compositions, Dan Walton, piano and vocal, Steve Pikal, string bass; Jamey Cummns, guitar. This is the first part of a long leisurely showcase at the 2019 Redwood Coast Music Festival in Eureka, California.
and a Bing Crosby hit that justifiably entered the jazz repertoire:
Jonathan Doyle’s wonderful HELLO, FISHIES:
something for people who have been to Austin, Texas, or for those who need to take a trip there, BATS ON A BRIDGE:
A dedication to one Mister Capone, who liked jazz when he wasn’t working:
Dan Walton sings and plays Moon Mullican’s PIPELINER’S BLUES, while everyone joins in on this jump blues:
for the Chicagoans and the rest of us as well, WINDY CITY SWING:
and we’ll close the first half of this uplifting set with HELLO, LOLA — a reminder of Red McKenzie and his friends:
Hal’s beautiful little group also made a CD where they strut their stuff quite happily: I wrote about it here.
And they will be appearing — with Kris Tokarski and Ryan Gould in for Walton and Pikal — at the Austin Lindy Exchange, November 21-24 — which, like love, is just around the corner.
Not incidentally, the Redwood Coast Music Festival is happening again, thank goodness and thanks to Mark Jansen and Valerie Jansen, from May 7-10, 2020. More information here as well. Some numbers: it’s their 30th anniversary; it runs for 4 days; there are 30 bands; more than 100 sets of music. Do the math, as we say, and come on.
May your happiness increase!