September, 2017

In August, after a long layoff, I was finally able to play drums again. The first gig was a big one: the 2017 Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival, in Davenport, Iowa. My "Swing Central" was part of a terrific lineup that also included the Fat Babies, Dan Levinson's Roof Garden Orchestra, Josh Duffee's Graystone Monarchs and Dave Bennett's Quartet. Besides getting to hear all those great bands (and two of my favorite drummers - Kevin Dorn and Alex Hall) I had a ball playing in Swing Central, with Jonathan Doyle, Dan Walton, Jamey Cummins and Steve Pikal. We were delighted to have receptive audiences and a standing ovation at the conclusion of each set.

Everything we played was videotaped by Edward "Jazzman Joe" Lynch, and I have posted all of his videos on my YouTube channel. Another videographer, "Tuneful Travel," posted some of our music as well. Below are links to videos of the band playing one of Jon's originals, followed by a slow, pretty performance that reminds me of Bobby Gordon:

Bats On A Bridge

Poor Butterfly

Our "Windy City Swing" CD sold briskly at the BixFest.
In August, I had to send additional stock to CD BABY at least three times.
The album is once again available from: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/halsmithsswingcentral

Scott Yanow said some nice things about the CD in the September 2017 Syncopated Times and I was particularly pleased by this comment: "This is a fun swing session that is the latest in a long string of winning releases from Hal Smith."

Windy City Swing

I was able to take it easy for much of the month; going for physical therapy treatments and doing the prescribed exercises at home. I did make one trip to New Orleans, for a gig with Banu Gibson at City Park. Banu was in tip-top form, had the audience in the palm of her hand, and her hand-picked band was a lot of fun to work with: David Boeddinghaus (piano); Larry Scala (guitar); Nobu Ozaki (bass); and Rex Gregory (reeds).

Windy City Swing

Performing with Banu Gibson in City Park.

Originally, I was booked to play three engagements with Dave Bennett and the Memphis Speed Kings in September. However, my surgeon advised "light duty" for several more weeks. I will not be with Dave, Gino and Joe in Penticton, Old Forge and Medford but I hope to have my full strength back so that I can work with the group on future gigs.

In other news, guitarist Brooks Prumo is just about to send his new Orchestra CD to the manufacturer. I am honored to be a part of this wonderful big band and can't wait for the CD to be released!

I will sign off now, leaving you with photos of Mittens and Alex and their new favorite place to relax: the box that held my cheap tennis shoes! These cats - so easily amused!

Thanks for stopping by,
– Hal