Personnel: Terry Blaine (vocals); Allan Vache (clarinet); Ed Polcer (cornet); Mark Shane (piano); Daryl Cornutt (bass); David Lopez (drums).
Recorded live-to-tape at Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio on October 15, 1994. Includes liner notes by Terry Blaine & Tom Knab.
This album chronicles a live 1994 performance in Cleveland, OH before an enthusiastic crowd of almost 2,000 jazz fans. Sponsored by radio station WRMR, the concert features songs from the 1930s and the musical style of that period, which has become the trademark of Terry Blaine and her musical soulmate and mentor, pianist Mark Shane. Each tune is performed not only with skill and verve, but with an infectious enthusiasm that the audience immediately picks up. The concert gets off on the right foot with a very fast "Little Bit Independent," which was number one on the charts for the Freddie Martin Orchestra in 1935. "Them There Eyes" showcases the hot clarinet of Allan Vache. Blaine gets vampish on "Take Me for a Buggy Ride," recalling Bessie Smith's 1933 recording. As one would expect, the melodies he performed and wrote, as well as the syncopated rhythms of Fats Waller, get plenty of attention on this album. There's a variety here, from the familiar "Keepin' out of Mischief Now" to the lesser-known "Baby Brown (That Georgia Queen)" through "Handful of Keys." The latter piece confirms Shane's affinity for the Fats Waller brand of striding, stomping piano playing. Shane also pays homage to another member of the stride royalty, James P. Johnson, with a rip-roaring solo of "Carolina Shout." "Runnin' Wild" is a nod to the performance of this tune in Some Like It Hot with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in drag and performing with an all-girl band. The authenticity as well as the enjoyment of the proceedings is due in no small measure to Shane and his quintet. Vache's clarinet has already been mentioned, and equal billing needs to go to the hot cornet playing of Ed Polcer, as he heats things up on such numbers as "Eeny Meeny Miney Mo" and "Louisiana Fairytale." David Lopez on drums and Daryl Cornutt on bass provide the steady, uptempo beat needed to make this music work. In Concert is almost an hour's worth of music from an earlier time performed by excellent musicians who clearly are happy in their work, as was the Cleveland audience. This album is recommended. ~ Dave Nathan