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Hot outside, but hotter in the Music Pier with Barbone Street Jazz - Ocean City Sentinel: Arts & Entertainment

Hot outside, but hotter in the Music Pier with Barbone Street Jazz

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Posted: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:00 am

It was the hottest Aug. 31 ever last Sunday, but the music inside the Music Pier was even hotter. The Barbone Street Jazz Band was back for the third Pops season in a row. The sizzling sextet returned by invitation, sponsored by the Friends of the Ocean City Pops, and though the orchestra wasn’t onstage, the band attracted a respectable crowd. Many in the audience were back because they recalled what a good tiem they had in the band’s previous visits. The Barbone bunch have gained a marvelous reputation in their own right and are all around entertainers.

The band is Steve Barbone and his clarinet; trumpeter Paul Grant, trombonist Cindy Leidy, Sonny Troy on guitar, Ace Tessone on acoustic bass and drummer Mike Piper. They ripped into “Wolverine Blues,” in the Chicago jazz tradition. Grant did a great job on the tune with his trumpet.

A request for a traditional New Orleans style funeral tune brought “Just A Closer Walk,” in first a slow tempo, then brisk, the way it’s supposed to be played on the way back from the New Orleans cemetery.

Barbone introduced each band member and told an amusing story about them. He became with Ace Tessone, the most ancient member who has played bass with many major bands. Troy has the same experience and was quite a ladies man in his younger years. More important is that he is a darn good guitarist, in the style of Bucky Pizzarelli. Barbone told many tales on previous gigs here, but he tells them well and makes the sound fresh.

“Struttin’ with some Barbeque” was written by one of Louis Armstrong’s three wives and her authorship is a matter of dispute. Louis’s raunchy lyrics for the tune couldn’t be sung in Ocean City.

Barbone is quite proud of his cute redhead trombonist. Leidy holds a master’s degree in performance and is a respected music educator who organized a jazz program for her school district and was chosen as state teacher of the year. Leidy plays a genuine tailgate trombone and is a sweetheart of a vocalist. She sang and played “Stars Fell on Alabama” with pleasing style, and did the same for Gershwin’s “They Can’t Take That Away.”

The Barbone band played the popular 1923 tune, “Margie,” and the Ellington-Strayhorn “In A Mellow Mood.” Strayhorn wrote many tunes attributed to Ellington.

Barbone told how he won his wife with a song called “I Want a Little girl,” and how he headed for a career as a musician and got sidetracked into a career as an attorney. When he retired from law, his wife persuaded him to pick up the clarinet again, and the band was formed.

In Louis Armstrong’s 1910 ditty, “Shine,” the band went all out, with grad drum paradiddling by Piper and trumpeter Paul Grant. For a second year, Barbone brought up ancient drummer Joe Sher, who can still play the skins. He may not be too good at walking, but he can still rattle those drums. Barbone explained that “Shine” wasn’t at all racist, but was Satchmo’s tribute to his fellow blacks.

What else could serve as a finale for a jazz band but “When the Saints Go Marching In.” The Barbone Street Jazz Band played it well, the way it should be played.

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