Hot Jazz and More
For the DVD included with The Hot Jazz Jumpers’ album release, The Very Next Thing, the band dresses up in circa 1920s costume and perform banjo plucking, tub thumping Dixieland—as well as music that edges into other places, including the acoustic ethno-jazz worlds of crossover pioneered by Ry Cooder. Led by guitarist-banjo player Nick Russo, the band is loose and snapping, flexible as a rubber band.
In an interview on the DVD, singer Betina Hershey says that the Jumpers grew out of a shared love of swing dancing. But as evident from the performance videos as well as the music on The Very Next Thing’s CD, swing was only the door opening to a pre-rock and roll history of American music. And yet, even that isn’t entirely excluded, with the Bo Diddley beat heard on “Jock-a-Mo.” Eclectic is the operative word. The Jumpers pull Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” into ‘60s avant-garde territory and infuse “You Are My Sunshine” with scat and memories of African syncopation. Everything is performed with evident joy.