Calamity Jazz, a traditional jazz band based in the Pacific Northwest, is a thoroughly co-ed group in a musical genre that is rarely so. Leader/trumpeter Vicki Cox, vocalist Patty George and bass sax player Meg Graf blend happily with trombonist Larry Burnett, reedman Rick Campbell, pianist Mark Hazzard, drummer John Muellner and banjoist Cork Larsen.
"Cookin' with Calamity" is loaded with favorite tunes, with each band member hand-picking at least two tunes. It's obvious by their selections -- not to mention performance -- the admiration they hold for the pioneers of early jazz. For example, "Mahogany Hall Stomp" features a nearly note-for-note transcription of Louis Armstrong's famous solo on that piece. "Ostrich Walk" pays tribute to both cornet player Bix Beiderbecke and bass sax legend Adrian Rollini. Sidney Bechet's haunting "Petite Fleur" is done great credit by Rick Campbell, and Mark Hazzard pays his own homage to the incomparable Fats Waller in "Ain't Misbehavin'."
"Wow" is all I can say! ...a wonderful first venture, and a recording that is at the same time new, fresh and makes its required bow to tradition. Perhaps the freshness grows out of the bass sax, instead of tuba or string bass... Vicki [on trumpet] has given a performance of brilliant technical merit and great jazz ideas..."
Jan Nichols, Leader, Old Town Jazz Band, San Jacinto, California
"This is "good time" jazz played by a group who obviously enjoy what they're doing... The program includes a couple of tunes you likely won't hear anywhere else. "Public Melody #1" was written in 1927, recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1937, and as far as I know, hasn't been played again until now. "Blue Because of You," written in 1935, is another tune that is not on many play lists either. The "Bear Medley" is a Calamity Jazz original and includes everything from "Bare Necessities" to "Big Bear Stomp." This is relaxed, happy music that Dixieland fans are sure to enjoy."
A. C. Stone, "The American Rag"
"Now, this is the REAL DEAL...you are instantly transported back to 1927 or thereabouts. Speakeasies, ice [delivery] wagons, Model Ts, etc. The music is wonderful, very authentic in style, and VERY well played. I mean, these cats could FOLLOW the Dukes of Dixieland on stage with no embarrassment! Patti... what a voice! And Vicki on trumpet... as good as any I have heard anywhere."
Paul R. Coats, columnist, "Sax on the Web"
ABOUT THE BAND:
Larry Burnett, formerly with the Federal Jazz Commission jazz band in Washington, D.C., is equally adept on the trombone and string bass. He also plays with Dr. Jazz and many other ensembles.
Rick Campbell plays reeds with trios, quartets, swing bands, big bands, and community bands. He has played with Dr. Jazz, based in Portland, Oregon, Bill Borcher's Oregon Jazz Band, and is in constant demand as a sideman.
Vicki leads Calamity Jazz, and also plays trumpet with the Oregon Jazz Band, Lincoln Pops Big Band, and other ensembles. Formerly with Swing Shift and the Blue Skies Big Band, she frequently fills in with those groups.
Vocalist Patty George has a rich musical heritage; her father is "The Legendary Pat George," one of the premier pianists of the Pacific Northwest. She performs with many ensembles, including the Pat George Trio and the Lincoln Pops Big Band.
Meg Graf plays the bass line on Big George, the bass saxophone, and subs on piano when needed. Her playing style is inspired by Adrian Rollini, Vince Giordano and Paul Woltz.
Mark Hazzard formerly played piano with the Abalone Stompers and with Black Swan JB. In addition to playing many solo and small combo gigs, he regularly plays with Van Ness Express.
Cork Larsen, banjo, is the president of the Traditional Jazz Society of Oregon. An avid musician, he formerly played with the Barrelhouse Stompers. He currently plays with Bucerias Bandidos and Cork's Crew in addition to Calamity Jazz.
John Muellner is equally at home on drums, harmonica and washboard. He gets standing ovations for his Louis Armstrong-style vocals and washboard antics. John is a professional actor and also finds time to play in a rhythm and blues band.