Jul 31, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
Three decades ago accordion player Jasiu Klocek (pronounced YA-shoe CLOSE-sek) became entranced by the exuberant music of the New Brass, a Massachusetts polka band which pioneered a double-trumpet style.
“In the early 1970s, I also enjoyed Happy Louie, another musician from Massachusetts and the late Marion Lush, a trumpeter who led the White Eagles in Chicago,” said Klocek, who lives with his family in nearby Memphis, N.Y.
Inspired by the New England brass players and the “Chicago Push” sound, Klocek formed the Salt City Brass which in 1975 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in Mattydale. In 1980 the group released its only album, “Polka with Class,” on the Lemans Records label.
The Salt City Brass will perform a free concert from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, as part of the 2012 Liverpool Is The Place summer concert series at Johnson Park; 457-3895.
While the band plays plenty of polkas, the combo also performs waltzes and obereks.
In Polish, oberek means “to hop and turn,” just as its dancers do. It is one of the national dances of Poland and extremely popular with Polish-American polka bands such as the Salt City Brass.
“The obereks, tunes like ‘The La De Da,’ are played in 3/8 time,” the bandleader explained. “They’re faster than a waltz but slower than a polka.” Polkas are two-beat tunes played in 2/4 time.
While Klocek and his combo dutifully perform American polka standards such as “In Heaven There is No Beer” and “Beer Barrel Polka” (also known as “Roll Out the Barrel”), they also play less-familiar numbers such as “Helena Polka,” “Blue Skirt Waltz,” and “Green Grass Polka” which is sung in Polish.
“Some of our polkas are sung in English and some in Polish,” Klocek said. And some have Polish titles such as “Pukaj Jasiu” which translates to “John is Knocking.”
The Salt City Brass features the dual trumpets of Dave Wilber and Frank Salvaggio. Liverpool reedman Carl Borek plays saxophone and clarinet, Frank Furgal plays bass guitar and Frank Sergott plays drums. Klocek’s wife, Sue, often sings with the band, vocalizing tunes such as “When I Hear the Music.”
For Salt City Brass information, contact Klocek at 689-7427, or visit saltcitybrass.com.