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Bebop Spoken There

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Cellar Boys + Miss Jubilee & Her Yas Yas Boys + Andy Schumm's Adhocs + The Chicago Swell Sisters + Dani Webber @ Bix Fest, Racine, Wisconsin - March 14

(Review by Russell)

The rumours were, in part, of some substance with the Shake 'Em Up Jazz Band choosing to stay home. The fabulous, all-female band from New Orleans continues to be a big hit at festivals all over the world including recent acclaimed appearances at Durham Brass and  Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival. Fortunately, St Louis' Miss Jubilee & Her Yas Yas Boys made the five and a half hours' road trip to Racine which would, by happenstance, result in a marvellous, unscheduled solo set on Sunday morning by the band's pianist Ethan Leinwand. 


Bix Fest's ballroom filled up with fans from all parts of America and further afield eschewing suggestions of the imminent end to the world as we knew it. In the absence of Marla Dixon and the Shake 'Em Ups the evening began with a performance by an adhoc group led by Andy Schumm - let's call 'em Andy Schumm's Adhocs. Ted Lewis recorded June Night in 1924 and, as Schumm said, it was a pop song of the day. Perhaps an unseasonal choice but nevertheless a good one to set us on our way. The Coon-Sanders Nighthawks recorded Sweepin' the Clouds Away in 1930. Schumm knows all about these guys as does pianist David Boeddinghaus (a Crescent City resident who chose to make the journey up into Illinois) who ambled onto the stage to play the Bix Fest upright.

The Chicago Swell Sisters vocal trio, accompanied by pianist Paul Asaro, entertained for an all-too-brief period and at intervals during the evening tap dancer Dani Webber stepped up to and on to her tap board which went down a storm.   

There are banjo players and there are virtuoso banjo players. By common consent of his peers, Jimmy Barrett is firmly in the latter category. A Chicagoan - at a glance you could be forgiven for thinking he'd just finished a twelve hour shift working as a stevedore down on the docks! - Barrett is the business. Mean, no nonsense, bluesy, brilliant and the guy will sing the occasional number as he did on Kansas City Kitty. It's long odds Mr Barrett will ever make it over this side of Atlantic but, if he does, don't miss him!

Miss Jubilee & Her Yas Yas Boys work out of St Louis, Missouri. A couple of years ago at the 'other' Bix Fest (the one in Davenport, Iowa) Miss Jubilee and, at the time, her 'Humdingers' wowed the crowd and a booking for Racine was all but assured. And, sure enough, here they were! Miss Jubilee (aka Valerie Kirchhoff) likes to promote the music of the many excellent, yet low profile, female artists of the era (1920s-30s) which she is (re)discovering, exploring and now performing a selection of their material some one hundred years on.   

Victoria Spivey's Moaning the Blues opened the show and what a show it would prove to be! A trumpet-clarinet frontline, a brilliant barrelhouse pianist, string bass and washboard - these were Miss Jubilee's 'Yas Yas Boys'. As Miss Jubilee shimmied and shimmied some more Ken Cebrian's muted and open horn blasts were the stuff of (Buddy Bolden) dreams. Readers from BSH's Tyneside heartland will know only too well the superb House of the Black Gardenia. St Louis has its own version in Miss Jubilee with her Yas Yas Boys. HotBG's frontwoman, the fabulous Bobbi Charleston, does it her way, cool, detached whereas Miss Jubilee is more the mover, constantly digging Cebrian and Rylan Calloway (clarinet) to her left and, to her right, Ethan Leinwand pounding the 88s. Baby, Don't You Tear My Clothes (sounds familiar? - it should, it's the HotBG!), Lil Johnson's That Bonus Done Gone Thru, Stump Johnson's The Duck - Yas-Yas-Yas and many more, Miss Jubilee scored a hit here in Racine. These guys would go down a storm on the Jumpin' Hot Club outdoor stage at Sage Gateshead's Summertyne Americana.         

Miss Jubilee & Her Yas Yas Boys: Miss Jubilee (vocals); Ethan Leinwand (piano); Ken Cebrian (trumpet); Rylan Calloway (clarinet); Richard Tralles (double bass); Ryan Koenig (washboard)   

The format at Bix Fest makes light of billing. It just so happened that Saturday's schedule placed Chicago's Cellar Boys as the nominal top-of-the-bill band - ie they were last on. London has its pecking order, likewise Tyneside, anywhere for that matter, and its no different in the Windy City. The 'first team' as it were, including recent recruit Natalie Scharf, made the trip north in the company of singer Roya Naldi. A couple from Clarence Williams (Charleston Hound and a three-clarinet Gulf Coast Blues), Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn's He's the Last Word and Yes, Sir, That's My Baby (transcribed by Paul Asaro), the latter featuring vocalist Roya Naldi (Ms Naldi will be performing at this year's Classic Jazz Party at the Village Hotel on North Tyneside (Oct 30 - Nov 2), a stately Limehouse Blues and an original tune by Andy Schumm (Andy's Idea) were but some of many numbers across two tremendous sets which ended with the hottest of hot Fletcher Henderson charts - The Stampede - with the frontline of Schumm, Otto and Scharf blowing like crazy as Dave Bock's sousaphone pumped up the volume riding on John Donatowicz's piston-like rhythm guitar.   
       
The Cellar Boys: Andy Schumm (arranger, cornet, clarinet); Dave Bock (sousaphone); John Otto (alto sax, clarinet); Natalie Scharf (tenor sax, clarinet); John Donatowicz (guitar, banjo); Paul Asaro (piano, vocals); Roya Naldi (vocals) 

It had been quite some session. A late night jam session was due to get under way and, what's more, Sunday's session was still to come!  
Russell

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