Saturday, April 13, 2013

All That Jazz!

Years ago and I mean years ago, like back in the 70's when I was a kid, I pulled out some vinyl that my Grampa had in our basement and out of curiosity put it on the record player. Now the record player has been not really been used much except to drive my parents nuts with the sweet sounds of the Beatles, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath and of course the immortal Black Oak Arkansas but this time was going to be different. My Grampa's records were old, 78 rpm old, and after blowing the dust off I settled back for an experience that would musically change my life. I discovered jazz. I fell in love with jazz that day. I love it still to this day.

Last night the Preservation Hall Jazz Band came to town and blew the doors off this city. Well, the thousand or so hard cores who did go anyway. From the opening number to the obligatory encore of When The Saints Go Marching In, the Holland Center was swinging, man! I've often said that when I hear music this flawless, whether it be a jazz jam, a rock jam, a classical jam or even a good old country jam, I actually believe there is a God and I have gone to heaven. Last night I was in heaven.

Ya know what I love about jazz? It's the fact the musicians sometimes have no idea what's gonna happen. Trombonist Freddie Lonzo is a guy who probably is crazy. He sits in a chair, leg extended and seems to blow the horn whenever he feels like it. He gets up and walks around clapping and then blows the horn again. I loved the guy.

Charlie Gabriel is over 80 years old (I looked it up) and plays a mean clarinet as well as sings. He also moves around like he's having the time of his life. Max's Mom called him "cute". Great description.

Mark Braud, the trumpet player, seems to be the glue. Funny and charming in his own way, he is cool as a cucumber. He plays and sings without a hitch.

Joe Lastie is probably in his 60's and drums like a mad Gene Krupa. His wild rendition of Hold That Tiger was captivating.

Clint Madegan, the sax man, has a beautiful voice, both blowing the sax and singing.

Rickie Monie, playing piano like he was in church. Phenomenal.

Ben Jaffe, the bassist and tuba man, probably runs the show as he is the "creative director" and has wild hair so I automatically loved the guy.

Finally,Ronall Johnson. A very large man, tuba around his neck, blowing bass parts and dancing like he had ants in his pants. Ronall came forward and belted out a gospel tune "Dear Lord" that had the joint rollin down the aisles. He maded me remember a famous Bart Simpson quote "Hey Black Jesus rocks!" He certainly does.

Years ago when my Mom was still around, she and I would attend concerts like this together. And this band was one of them we saw. She and I would bond during those times and when we both saw The Preservation Hall Jazz Band that day man did we bond. We loved it. I raved so much that my Mom went out to the merchandise table and would have bought me everything they had for sale. I settled on a CD which I still have. I missed my Mom last night hearing the same guys we heard 8 years ago. But since I was in heaven last night anyway, I'm sure she was tappin her toes right along with me.

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