VOICES Notes and news on Jazz releases
13 JAN 13 ANNE FARNSWORTH
Trumpeter Bob Scobey was an influential figure in Dixieland's west coast revival movement that began in the late '30's. Scobey started as a trumpeter in Lu Watters' Yerba Buena Jazz Band before starting his own outfit, Bob Scobey's Frisco Band. On Scobey And Clancy, recorded in 1955, he's joined by singer Clancy Hayes.
With a long-term residency at a local bay area nightclub and regular appearances on country singer Rusty Draper's television show, Scobey's band was a driving force in the renewed interest in traditional jazz. Louis Armstrong gave the band his imprimatur by sitting in with them during a concert in Pasadena, CA.
Scobey's warm, clear timbre leads a band that hews faithfully to the instrumentation and rhythmic idioms of the genre, unlike the Chicago Dixieland bands who were more heavily influenced by the swing era.
Most of the vocal tracks, like "Saint James Infirmary", and Irving Berlin's "At The Devil's Ball" open with extended intros by Scobey before introducing Clancy, who sings in a straightforward, no-frills manner that perfectly encapsulates the stylistic tradition of Dixieland.
Classic numbers like "St Louis Blues" and "Home" are enhanced by the creamy tone of clarinetist Bill Napier. These are serious, disciplined musicians playing with the unfettered joy that is the main reason Dixieland is one of the most enduring styles of 20th century popular music. Not just historically significant, as the HBO series Treme proves, the music remains vibrantly alive -- fresh, contemporary, yet immutably timeless.