jazz centennial 2017

Celebrating the Jazz Centennial

Hot Jazz Hands! On February 26th, we celebrated the centennial of the beginning of the Jazz Age with the recording of “Livery Stable Blues” by the Original Dixieland Jass Band in front of where it happened exactly 100 years ago, at the former studios of Victor Talking Machine Company on 46 W 38th St. What a company! DJ Michael Cumella played the record that started it all on his beautiful antique phonograph, while Tatiana Eva-Marie danced around with Don Spiro of Wits End and Miss Art Deco 2016 Dandy Dillinger, of The Repeal Society. This commemoration was organized by Michael Katsobashvili, the creator of the New York Hot Jazz Festival. (Photo credit Nina Galicheva)

The Original Dixieland Jass Band was fronted by cornetist Nick LaRocca, with Eddie Edwards on trombone, Larry Shields on clarinet, Henry Ragas on piano, and Tony Sbarbaro on drums. They had just picked up a steady gig at Reisenweber’s Café, near Columbus Circle, where Jazz at Lincoln Center is now located! They were an immediate sensation and their record selled like hot cakes: nearly every person who owned a phonograph in 1917 owned that record. This rowdy recording of instruments imitating barnyard animals over loud and fast syncopated music heralded in what we now call the Jazz Age.

New york hot jazz festival

New York Hot Jazz Festival 2016

New York Hot Jazz Festival

This year’s edition of the New York Hot Jazz Festival was held at the beautiful McKittrick Hotel, home of Sleep No More, which offered the perfect setting for such a swinging, magical event. Avalon Jazz Band’s lineup included two special guests, fellow Frenchman David Langlois on washboard and New Orleans based clarinetist Evan Christopher. We performed on the rooftop in the beautiful Gallow Green garden, which felt like a hidden little forest tree house, softly lit by lantern shine.

To us, this edition of the festival felt like a great big party with all our friends from the trad, swing and hot jazz scene. We got to hang out with Jessy Carolina, Nicki Parrot, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton (whose tongue can be admired in the picture above, featured alongside jazz singer Tatiana Eva-Marie), Vuyo Sotashe, Alphonso Horne, Syrie Moskowitz, Sasha Masakowski, and many more artists we admire and people we love. Festival co-creators Michael Katsobashvili and Jennie Wasserman have transformed this event into a truly fantastic and spellbinding day of music, dancing and decadence.