The Pawling Concert series ended on April 27 at Trinity Pawling School, not with a whimper but with a big band bang. The audience was energized by a performance by the Galvanized Jazz Band, a group of seriously talented musicians. They performed standards: from Jelly Roll Morton to Fats Waller, and a big dose of Louis Armstrong. This band organized and directed by Art Hovey (on tuba and bass) did not disappoint.
The band featured two female musicians: Cynthia Sayer on banjo and vocals with Molly Sales on drums; Ms. Sales tackled the subtle Gene Krupa-style drum solo from Duke Ellington’s mythic number “Caravan.’” Ms. Sayer got everyone singing along to the ever-popular “Goody, Goody,” and a hilarious rendition of “Benny’s from Heaven.”
The fine young trumpet player, Alex Owen, who lives and plays in New Orleans, wowed the audience with solo riffs. Trombonist Jim Freyer rocked the house, even coming out into the audience during the finale, “Bourbon Street Parade,” which drew a standing ovation and rousing encore of “When the Saints go Marching In.”
Clarinetist John Clark, who trained Mr. Owen on trumpet at Connecticut College, gave fascinating historical introductions to many pieces. The ragtime, jazz-age piece, “Fidgety Feet,” from the 1917 album originally called “War Cloud,” was written during World War One and changed its name after the war came to an end. A video of The Galvanized Band performing that number appears below. (You can hear more at http://galvanizedjazz.com.) Clark spoke about the history of how Armstrong’s recording of “What a Wonderful World,” knocked even the Beatles off the charts in the 1960’s, establishing Armstrong as a pop-hit musician who managed to span a record five decades.
Pianist Charles Freeman improvised spontaneous interpretations, even inserting the melody of Beethoven’s” Ode to Joy” at one point. His rendition of Fats Waller’s “Honey Suckle Rose” exuded the infectious charm that was Waller’s trademark.
The lively night of foot-tapping music was one to be remembered—the audience is bound to return for the next season which starts in October. The Galvanized Jazz Band will perform at Music Mountain in Falls Village on August 11 at 6:30 pm.