"When I first started playing the born in the '60s says John Wolf, one of ny big dreams was to someday play in the Count Basie orchesrta." Wolf's dream hasn't come true to far, but tomorrow night at the Bayou, the group he plays trombone with, the Uptown Rhythm Kings, will have as its guest Benjamin Bull Moose) Jackson.
Jackson sang with Freddie Webester's Harlem hotshots in the late 1930s, recorded with the Lucky Millinder Orchestra in the 1940s and in the '50s toured with his own Buffalo Bearcats. Jackson left the music profession for nearly two decades and began singing again several years ago.
"This is the first time I've performed with someone from that era who was well known, and it was really a thrill," says Wolf, referring to a session last week where Jackson sat in with the Uptown Rhythm Kings.
"It puts me back in a time when I often find myself wishing I had lived," says Wolf of playing the gutsy, blues-drenched style of trombone that is his signature, "and it was even more true working with Bull Moose." UPTOWN -- THEY'RE HOT
"We look for instrumental materials and write our own lyrics to it," says Ginny Carr, pianist, arranger and one of the four voices of Uptown, a 6-month-old sextet that will play the 101 Royal Club in Alexandria Friday and Saturday. uptown's specialty is vocalese -- singing lyrics to the instrumental lines of Count Basie Band charts and Charlie Parker solos. Rhythm support is provided by piano, bass and drums, and Don Stapleston handles charinet and saxophones.
With extensive training in voice and various instruments, a variety of performing backgrounds that includes jazz combo and orchestra, marching band and classical wind emsemble, opera and barbershop quartet, Uptown is one of the most versatile vocal groups going.
"We use our voices as instruments, and we use them as though we were the Modernaires, crooning in harmony," explains Carr, "and everyone has solo material. Our greatest inspiration was lambert, Henricks & Ross, and there was an evolution from that to listening to some of their progeny, like Manhattan Transfer."