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Cortland combo swings Sunday in Camillus

When the JazzHappensBand returns "(Back Home Again) in Indiana," the musicians deftly transform a warm homecoming into a hot happening.

First, trumpeter Jeff Dovi plays a mournfully slow version of the melody before the entire combo kicks in to swing it and wing it. Suddenly, they stop... and Dovi blows the slow head again to truly take it home.

No wonder their crowds clap like crazy!

This Cortland combo revels in authentic Dixieland dynamics.

The swinging septet -- which performs from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20, at McNamara's Pub, 5600 Newport Road in Camillus -- features leader Jeff Dovi on trumpet, Mike Poole on trombone, Nick Pauldine on clarinet, Jim Overhiser on tuba, Robbert van Renesse on banjo, Steve Wilson on piano and David Alexander on drums.

They carefully cover some of jazz's earliest hits including "Copenhagen," "Ain't She Sweet," "At the Jazz Band Ball" and "Tin Roof Blues."

Sunday's show is sponsored by the Jazz Appreciation Society of Syracuse. Admission costs $12 or $10 for JASS members; 652-0547.

To hear the combo play tunes such as "The Saints," "Milneburg Joys" and "Mama Don't Allow," go to jazzhappensband.com/.

"I consider myself fortunate to have found six other musicians who enjoy the same kind of music I do," said Dovi. "I wanted to stay with the traditional instrumentation for traditional jazz that I heard on recordings by artists like Al Hirt, Fred 'Mickey' Finn, Pete Fountain and The Dukes of Dixieland."

The band plays tunes such as "Indiana," "Bill Bailey" and "Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me."

"I just told the boys that I wasn't a good chart reader, so let's learn the melody and then improvise around the tune and provide the spontaneous harmonies," the bandleader said.

If that sounds like an endorsement for plenty of improvisation, you're right.

"We try to stay very close to the composer's melody," Dovi said, "but sometimes things do go awry and that's when it gets interesting!"

The JazzHappensBand hopes to get the dance floor hopping Sunday in Camillus.

"The most recent tune we play may be 60 years old," Dovi said. "The beat is typically a four beat and the faster tunes lend themselves very well for those who swing dance."

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