Clarinetist Bud Leeds was in fine companyand good spiritsfor the South County Jazz Club's first concert of the 2017-2018 season on Monday, November 20.
His quartet included multi-instrumentalist Bob MacInnis, Bob Leary on banjo, rhythm guitar and occasional vocals, and piano marvel Bobby van Deusen. (Leeds could have named the band Three Bobs and a Bud.)
Together, they delved deeply into ragtime, Louis Armstrong fare and other classic jazz staples.The free-and-easy repertoire included Struttin' With Some Barbecue," cornetist Wild Bill Davison's theme song I Never New," Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?," Waiting for the Robert E. Lee," Bix Beiderbecke's Singin' the Blues," Scott Joplin's Rose Leaf Blues" and Back Home in Indiana,"among others.
Van Deusen, a master of the ragtime and stride piano styles, reached a few decades ahead from his usual repertoire to include That's All, and Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (by request), along with a stunning solo take on the ballad Laura." The Pensacola resident was a fixture in New Orleans for many years, working with Pete Fountain, Al Hirt, The Dukes of Dixieland and on the Delta Queen riverboat. Leary worked with him on that latter gig.
MacInnis was featured primarily on cornet but he also doubled with Leeds on clarinet on several tunes. The clear concert highlight was their twin-clarinet take on a medley that segued from My Mother's Eyes" to the poignant Sidney Bechet classic Si Tu Vois Ma Mere" (If You See My Mother).
Leary's fine vocal takes on I Can't Give You Anything But Love" and Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?" were a stark contrast with the corny tunes that he seems to sneak into all his performances, whether or not he's leading the band.
This time Leary included 1947's Huggin' and Chalkin'" and his exaggerated falsetto take on The Ink Spots pop hit I Don't Need to Set the World on Fire." They lose their humorous impact the second or third time you've heard him. For me, this was number four.
The matinee concert was held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Venice.
This story appears courtesy of Ken Franckling's Jazz Notes.
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