Hurricane Irene isn’t expected in Los Angeles any time soon and there are no earthquakes on the radar I know of, but a force of nature is gonna rock the LAX Marriott on Labor Day Weekend nonetheless. It’s called Sweet & Hot, and it’s a gargantuan celebration of the Golden Age of Popular Music—including Ragtime, Blues, Trad Jazz, Big Band, Mainstream and Straight Ahead jazz, and even Zydeco—just about everything from the 1900s and into the early ‘50s.
The Big Event begins with a pre-festival evening on Sept. 1—a two-hour extravaganza honoring Bing Crosby, Irving Berlin and the Harry James Orchestra, among others—and continues through Sept. 5. Among those slated to appear are Banu Gibson, Dan Levinson, Ernestine Anderson, Barbara Morrison, legendary “Singing Cowboy” Herb Jeffries, John Mills (who brilliantly recreates the sound of his father and brothers, The Mills Brothers) and Straight Ahead bassist Jennifer Leitham (whose dazzling talents I discovered at S&H just last year). Call 909-983-0106 for info.
A pair of typically outstanding CDs recently received from Archeophone Records also preserves America’s musical legacy from the early 20th century. “Irving Kaufman Anthology: The Last Recording Pioneer” celebrates an obscure but wonderfully versatile entertainer who was hot stuff in the 1910s and ‘20s; the 26-track disc includes many of the hits of that era like “Take Your Girlie to the Movies (if You Can’t Make Love at Home”) as well as several forgotten but nonetheless delightful ditties.
“Before Radio: Comedy, Drama & Sound Sketches, 1897-1923” offers selections from Will Rogers and vaudeville legends Weber & Fields, but really concentrates on rarities from that era: “The Pussy Cat Rag” (sung by the Peerless Quartet & Ada Jones, the top female performer of her time), “Old Log Cabin” (Columbia Minstrels), and “Cohen Telephones from Brighton” (Joe Hayman, the Jackie Mason of his day) are among the 27 tracks. Archeophone’s restorations are second to none, and the accompanying booklets are crammed with background info and illustrations.
More from Jordan:
Madonna role model: Sophie Tucker, still red hot after all these years
Vintage black jazz, ragtime, minstrelsy on CD & DVD
Tiny Tim, Mick Moloney, Violinjazz CDs revive songs of 1890s-1930s
‘Death of a Salesman’ comes to life at Fullerton’s STAGEStheatre
Dueling ‘Underpants’ in Fullerton, Long Beach; ‘Briefs’ in Santa Ana
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