Okay class, Mr. Riccardi needs a personal day today so pack your belongings and head over to Mr. Steinman's "Jazz Lives" blog. As I posted last week, my good pal John Wriggle gave a concert last week in New York City featuring the music of Chappie Willet, an unsung arranger of the Swing Era who wrote some of Louis Armstrong's best big band arrangements of the 1930s and early 40s. John did the transcriptions of the arrangements, which were performed live by the always fantastic Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks.
I couldn't make the concert but apparently there was a full house featuring all the luminaries you'd expect, such as Dan Morgenstern, Frank Driggs, Michael Cogswell, Will Friedwald and Michael Steinman. Steinman brought his trusty video camera and filmed the entire show. Yesterday, he shared some of it on his "Jazz Lives" blog and the results blew me away. For Armstrong fans, there's the particular delight of hearing Willet's arrangements of "Rhythm Jam," "I Know That You Know" and "Washington and Lee Swing" performed live (as well as "Prelude to a Stomp," which Willet originally did for the Mills Blue Rhythm Band). Those four tunes originally came from the Fleischmann's Yeast Broadcasts of 1937, which were released just last year (Wriggle works quick!). I think Vince's band is the only band in the country able to make this music sound so authentic and I have to give credit to the three-man trumpet section of Jon-Erik Kellso, Randy Reinhart and James Zollar for each playing the role of Pops so well.
If you'd like to hear the originals again, here are the links:
Washington and Lee Swing:
I Know That You Know:
Prelude To a Stomp:
But enough from me. If you haven't done so already, click here to go to "Jazz Lives" and please enjoy videos. Thank you Michael, thank you John, thank you Vince (and the band) and thank you Chappie!