As I was thumbing through my current copy of “Geezers World,” looking to see if either my good friend Bill Evans or I had made the monthly centerfold, I was reminded of a recent conversation I had at one of our shows. A patron noted that while the turnout for our concert wasn’t bad, very few young people were in attendance. He wanted to know if I thought interest in traditional jazz was dying out.
The release of Bucktown Bounce provides the answer to his question and represents the vitality of the music I have played over a lifetime. The Southside Aces respect the tradition, play with feeling and could qualify as matinee idols too- an irresistible combination! And sure enough, young people have been turning out and dancing up a storm to their solid New Orleans rhythms. How gratifying to see them serving it up hot and heavy for a young and appreciative audience.
Their repertoire may sound strange to ears more accustomed to current trends in music, but it reflects some of the finest in early jazz music. It’s all here: Jelly Roll, Bix, Fats, Hoagy, Duke, and George Lewis.
From a historical point of view, it is refreshing to discover the band’s interest in pieces that are not the usual so-called “Dixieland” fare. It’s not every day that even the casual jazz listener encounters tunes such as “Washboard Wiggles” and “I’m Walkin’ This Town.”
A serious strength of the band lies in Tony Baluff’s arrangements and the marvelous, relaxed rhythm laid down by Dave, Robert and Erik. And, the thoughtful interplay amongst the “front line” of Zack, Steve, and Tony represents high-level ensemble work that is rare in much of today’s jazz.
May the spirit of their music inspire this generation of dancers and listeners for years to come.
July 30, 2006