BMJB & TCO in DC

I like dancing.  I like it even more with great live music.  This was a fun weekend for that here in DC.  Actually, more like Glen Echo Park in Maryland.  The Boilermaker Jazz Band played the Bumper Car Pavilion on Friday night while The Tom Cunningham Orchestra held its monthly dance in the Spanish Ballroom on Saturday evening.

It was a beautiful Friday night for the Boilermakers.  Donna Barker and Mike Marcotte hosted Paul Cosentino on clarinet and saxophone, Rich Strong on drums, Mark Kotishion on piano, and Ernest McCarty on bass with Jenny Luvv singing.

The band sounded great as usual, but Ernest put on a clinic on bass.   He doesn’t solo very much, but he was much more assertive that night.  I could tell he was feelin’ it when he practically jumped us with his outstanding playing during “The Nearness of You” towards the end of the first set.  A fairly mellow song, but he added a little extra something to his solo and accompaniments that would have made one of his former band leaders, Erroll Garner, proud.

In fact here’s a rare clip of Ernest playing with the that piano legend  in 1972 .  Thanks to Luke Albao for forwarding this clip to me.

It’s a tribute to his versatility and musicianship that he can play such different styles of music and stay true to himself.

I’ve gotten a better appreciation of how each of the members contributes to the overall sound of the band.  In July, the Boilermakers rolled through Jam Cellar with only Mark and Rich to play with Paul.    After only hearing them with a piano and drums, it was interesting to hear how Ernest “rounds” out the sound of the rhythm section with the deep thum thum thum of his bass.  I remember overhearing another bassist complain how hard it was to fill the Spanish ballroom with his sound, but it’s not something Ernest has a problem with.  I was reminded of that the last time they played Glen Echo in August when I heard his thumping bass lines from the other side of the park while they played their version of “Truckin’.”

Finding any musician, especially a bassist who can play in the vintage styles with that kind of skill, flair, and power is pretty rare.  An artist in many senses of the word.  He’s not just a musician as his many artistic passions including sculpture, painting, poetry, and play-writing.  Check out his website at www.McCartyArt.com.

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On Saturday, I got to hear the big band sounds of the Tom Cunningham Orchestra.  I don’t get tired of listening this band, mostly because Tom Cunningham has such a diverse book of arrangements.  You have to admire a guy who specifies on his play list to the sound guy that the “Opus One” version they’re playing that night is the Gene Krupa one.

The band started out with some solid mid tempo numbers to warm up the crowd including one of my favorite Artie Shaw tunes, “Shine On Harvest Moon” and the Ellington slow burner, “Happy-Go-Lucky Local.”

It’s hard to single anyone out in such a large band (21 people total including all the vocalists), but I really dug pianist Russell Wilson (not the same guy who leads a few bands in North Carolina).  Russell also plays piano for “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band at the White House.  Here’s a clip of him competing in the 2008 Old-Time Piano Championship.

It was fun to see Rev. Arnold come into the ballroom at the same time the band started “Cow Cow Boogie” and watch as his walk turn into a strut to match Wilson’s easy going, western boogie woogie playing that accompanied vocalist Betsy Kipperman.  Then Russell really turned it on in his opening in the Count Basie flag waiver, “The King.”

That same song also featured my other standout of the night, tenor saxophonist Will Tytch, who was blowing all night like he was sitting in on the Basie band itself.  He had a lot of smoking solo’s all evening especially a few I noticed during the last set.  They included another Basie tune called “Pound Cake” and the up tempo “Elks Parade” originally by Bobby Sherwood.  I don’t remember hearing the last song before this past weekend, but the way the band played it convinced me to track it down.

Miraculously, I also dug up a video featuring all the people I just mentioned in the last few paragraphs.  (Including Arnold but not Basie and Sherwood)  Even though TCO played “Wham” this past weekend, the video is of  them doing  performing it  last year.

As much I enjoyed the instrumentals a bit more, the vocalists also did a great job.  Andre Enceneat did a great scat during “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing.)”  The band did Ellington’s 40’s version of that song complete with vocal trio and violin solo by Jeff Reynolds.  I tend to prefer that version over the original 1932 version with Ivie Anderson singing because of the way the band crescendos at the end.   Hearing all those instruments come in all at once live is a heck of a sound to behold in person.

The band ended the evening with “Lindy Hoppers’ Delight.”  Yet another reason why I love this band:  Their tireless devotion to playing Swing Era songs not limited to the standards.   How many big bands out there know that “Lindy Hoppers’ Delight” even exists?  Let’s all thank Betsy Kipperman for convincing Tom to added it to their repertoire.

I hear rumors of a new cd being produced as we speak.  I look forward to hearing it.  Keep an eye on their website for more details.

I also recommend the Boilermakers’ newest CD, “Jump for Joy” which you can order online, or purchase next time you see them in person.

And to bring this full circle, a little birdie told me that you can catch the aforementioned Betsy Kipperman singing with the otherly aforementioned Boilermakers at Lindy Focus in North Carolina later this year.

BMJB & TCO in DC

DC Weekend in Music

I like dancing.  I like it more with great live music.  This was a fun weekend for that here in DC.  Actually, more like Glen Echo, Maryland.  The Boilermaker Jazz Band played the Bumper Car Pavilion on Friday night while The Tom Cunningham Orchestra held its monthly dance in the Spanish Ballroom on Saturday evening.

It was a beautiful Friday night for the Boilermakers.  Donna Barker and Mike Marcotte http://www.dancedc.com/ hosted Paul Cosentino on clarinet and saxophone, Rich Strong on drums, Mark Kotishion on piano, and Ernest McCarty on bass with Jenny Luvv singing.

The band sounded great as usual, but Ernest put on a clinic on bass.   He doesn’t solo very much, but he was more much assertive than normal that night.  I could tell he was feelin’ it when he just jumped out during “The Nearness of You” at the end of the first set.  A fairly mellow song, but he added a little extra something to his solo and accompaniments that would have made one of his former band leaders, Erroll Garner, proud.

In fact here’s a rare clip of Ernest playing with the that piano legend  in 1972 http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:aiftxqt5ldae, Thanks to Luke Albao for forwarding me this clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0dOUnL_2zQ

It’s a tribute to his versatility and musicianship that he can play such different styles of music and stay true to himself.

I’ve gotten a better appreciation of how each of the members contributions to the overall sound of the band.  In July, the Boilermakers rolled through Jam Cellar with only Mark and Rich to play with Paul.  https://jsalmonte.wordpress.com/2009/07/08/boilermaker-jazz-band-jam-cellar-7709-appreciation/  After only hearing them with a piano and drums, it was interesting to hear how Ernest “rounds” out the sound of the rhythm section with the deep thum thum thum of his bass.  I remember overhearing another bassist complain how hard it was to fill the ballroom with his sound, but it’s not something Ernest has a problem with.  I was reminded of that the last time they played Glen Echo in August when I heard his thumping bass lines from the other side of the park while they played their version of “Truckin’.”

Finding any musician, especially a bassist who can play in the vintage styles with that kind of skill, flair, and power is pretty rare.  Not just a musician, he has many artistic passions including sculpture, painting, poetry, and playwriting.  Check out his website at www.McCartyArt.com http://www.mccartyart.com/

On Saturday, I got to hear the big band sounds of the Tom Cunningham Orchestra.  I don’t get tired of hearing this band, mostly because Tom Cunningham has such a diverse book of arrangements.  You have to admire a guy who specifies on his play list that the “Opus One” version they’re playing that night is the Gene Krupa one.

The band started out with some solid mid tempo numbers to warm up the crowd including one of my favorite Artie Shaw tunes, “Shine On Harvest Moon” and the Ellington slow burner, “Happy-Go-Lucky Local.”

It’s hard to single anyone out in such a large band (21 people total including all the vocalists) but I really dug pianist Russell Wilson (not the same guy who leads a few bands in North Carolina).  Russell actually plays piano for “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band at the White House.  http://www.marineband.usmc.mil Here’s a clip of him competing in the 2008 Old-Time Piano Championship.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2RZaCl54Ls

It was fun to see Rev. Arnold come into the ballroom at the same time the band started “Cow Cow Boogie” and watch as his walk turn into a strut to match Wilson’s easy going western boogie woogie playing which accompanied vocalist Betsy Kipperman.  Then Russell really turned it on in his opening for the Count Basie flag waiver, “The King.”

That same song also featured the my other standout of the night, tenor saxophonist Will Tytch, who was blowing all night like he was sitting in on the Basie band itself.  He had a lot of smoking solo’s all evening especially a few I noticed during the last set.  They included another Basie tune called “Pound Cake” and the up tempo “Elks Parade” originally by Bobby Sherwood http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:d9fixql5ldse.  I don’t remember hearing the song before this past weekend, but the way the band played it convinced me to track it down.

Miraculously I also dug up a video featuring all the people I just mentioned in the last few paragraphs That video is of them doing  “Wham”  last year, but they did perform the song this past weekend.

As much I enjoyed the instrumentals a bit more, the vocalists also did a great job.  Andre Enceneat http://voice123.com/andreenceneat did a great scat during “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing.)”  The band did Ellington’s 40’s version of that song complete with vocal trio and violin solo.  I like tend to prefer that version to the original 1932 version of Ivie Anderson singing because of the way the band crescendos at the end.   Hearing all those instruments come in all at once live is a heck of a sound to behold in person.

The band ended the evening with “Lindy Hoppers’ Delight.”  Yet another reason why I love this band:  Their tireless devotion to playing Swing Era songs not limited to the standards.   How many big bands out there know “Lindy Hoppers’ Delight” even exists?  Let’s all thank Betsy Kipperman for convincing Tom to added it to their repertoire.

I hear rumors of a new cd being produced as we speak.  I look forward to hearing it.  Keep an eye on their website for more details.  http://www.tomcunningham.com/home.html

I also recommend the Boilermakers’ newest CD, “Jump for Joy” which you can order online or pick one up next time you see them in person.

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/boilermaker8

p.s. A little birdie told me that you can catch the aforementioned Betsy Kipperman singing with the other aforementioned Boilermakers at Lindy Focus http://www.lindyfocus.com/ this year.

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3 Comments

  1. Breanna said,

    September 28, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Wish I could have been in DC for what sounds like a great weekend of music and dancing! I always seem to find the limits of my creativity when dancing to fantastic live music.

    I also love the BMJB’s new CD. I played a couple tracks from it at the most recent exchange I was DJing for (Knoxville) and they all went over super well (surprise surprise)!

  2. Apache said,

    September 28, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    I was in town from Penn State with a bunch of people for the last two songs of the Boilermaker set. (Car alternator died) And we decided to stick around Saturday for TCO, that was an an excellent choice. Even though the lead to follow ratio was not the best, TCO rocked the last song “Lindy Hoppers Delight” and it was nice to hear Artie Shaw’s “The Carioca” live.

  3. February 3, 2011 at 1:37 am

    […] fan of The Boilermaker Jazz Band, and one of the many reasons is bassist Ernest McCarty.  I’ve talked about him before, (there’s a lot to talk about this super interesting guy) but he’s also the main reason for […]


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