Jul 09, 2014 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
The future of the Bear Cat Jass Band may be a bit cloudy right now, but one thing’s clear as day: the hot octet will swing with abandon at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 14, at Johnson Park.
Dick Ames, who is in his 57th year as a jazz bandleader, thinks this may be one of the Bear Cats’ final performances.
“All I can say is that maybe, maybe the band will be able to go on a little bit more,” he said. Ames will celebrate his 95th birthday on Dec. 30.
In any case, he’s really looking forward to the free concert on July 14. He recently chatted with me about some of the notable numbers in the Bear Cat Jass Band repertoire:
“Just Because.” “We always open with that tune. Everybody likes to play it, and it’s a good quick opener.”
“Sweet Like This.” “That’s a Joe Oliver composition, kind of a medium tempo and it features the trumpets.”
“Creole Love Call.” “Most people think of that as a Duke Ellington tune …On part of it, the trombone plays way up high, then the bass sax get going and then the reed players pick up their clarinets and play together.”
“Canal Street Blues.” “That’s another King Oliver tune named after the main street down in New Orleans. In our arrangement, we feature two trombones.”
“Big Bear Stomp.” “That’s a tune that [trumpeter] Lu Watters wrote and performed with the Yerba Buena Jazz Band out in California. It’s uptempo, and people love to dance to it.”
“Yes Sir, That’s My Baby.” “And I don’t mean maybe …Everyone knows that one. Our trombonist, Bill Palange, sings it.”
“I Had Someone Else Before I Had You (And I’ll Have Someone After You’re Gone).” “That’s sort of a funny one. Palange sings that one too.”
“Original Dixieland One-Step.” “One of our favorites. It goes way back into early days of jazz, first recorded in 1917 by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. It’s a big favorite in New Orleans. Everybody loves to play that tune.”
“The Mooche.” “Our arrangement takes a little bit of Ellington and a little bit of Jelly Roll [Morton] to get our version.”
“Cake Walkin’ Babies from Home.” “Way back in the 1980s, our trombonist, Pete Pepke, sang this song. A few years ago our trumpeter, Jeff Stockham, said he wanted to sing it, and ever since I heard him I’ve been highly in favor of it.”
“Petit Fleur.” “Written by the great saxophonist and clarinetist Sidney Bechet, this one features our two saxophonists, Carol Borek and Tom McKay, and then they switch to two clarinets, one playing the melody and one playing harmony, and the rest of the band just sits out and listens.”
“Emperor Norton’s Hunch.” “This is another Lu Watters tune from that West Coast Dixieland revival in San Francisco. It starts with a march beat and then it loosens up quite a bit. The story of Emperor Norton, who was a real person, is a great story. He was quite a character!”
“Blue Turning Gray Over You.” “That’s our theme song. so we always play that one. It’s by Fats Waller and Andy Razaff.”
On July 14 in Liverpool, the Bear Cats will feature trumpeters Jeff Stockham and Rob Robson; reed players Carl Borek and Tom McKay; pianist Jerry Exline, who doubles on tuba; trombonist Bill Palange; banjo player Drew Frech; and drummer Skip Conkling.
Left village, lost weight
Longtime Liverpool resident Randy Ingerson recently moved out of the village and moved into a new place off Electronics Parkway, near Kinney Drugs.
Maybe he burned a bunch of calories making the move because Randy looks like a new man. He has lost 26 pounds! He’s still a big man with a big voice and a bigger heart.
Every now and then you’ll hear him singing along, in tune, when someone plays Elvis Presley or Bruce Springsteen on the jukebox at The Retreat. No wonder Randy’s friends call him “The King.” And now they can call him “The Skinny King.”