There's sad news from Massachusetts. Drummer Charlie Mazza died May 23 at Framingham Union Hospital, Framingham. Mazza worked through the years with Dave Cook's Reinterpretation Jazz Band, the Heritage Jazz Band, the New Black Eagle Jazz Band, briefly with Stan McDonald's Blue Horizon Jazz Band, and others. McDonald tells me that Mazza was an excellent drummer. Mazza left his wife, Elizabeth, and three children. Funeral services were held May 27, and a memorial service will be held sometime this summer.
Jazz tap dancer Jimmy Slyde, 80, died May 16 at his home in Hanson, Mass. Slyde was born James Titus Godbolt in Atlanta, Ga., and after his family moved to Massachusetts, he took violin lessons at the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston. He became interested in tap dancing and studied it at Stanley Brown's tap studio, where he was introduced to tap dancers such as Bill (Bojangles) Robinson. Slyde teamed up with Jimmy (Sir Slyde) Mitchell, and they were known as the Slyde Brothers. Known for his sharp wit, his smooth dance moves, his timing and his effortless glides across the stage, Slyde, during the big-band era, worked with Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and others, and for years with pianist Barry Harris. Slyde danced in Black and Blue, a revue which played on Broadway and in Paris, and in the movies (Tap, the Cotton Club, 'Round Midnight and others) Slyde taught tap, and he and several other tap dance elders produced jam sessions at La Cave, a Manhattan nightclub, which attracted such dancers as Savion Glover, Tamango, Max Pollak, and Roxanne Butterfly. Slyde is survived by his wife, Donna, and a son, Daryl.
The Great Connecticut Traditional Jazz Festival will be held July 25 to 27 at the Sunrise Resort, Moodus, Conn. Performing there will be the Galvanized Jazz Band, the Blue Street Jazz Band, the Midiri Brothers, the Bearcats Jazz Band, the Connecticut Jazz Band, Igor's Jazz Cowboys, Cornet Chop Suey, Sarah Spencer, Jeff Barnhart's Coast to Coast All-Stars, Washboard Slim & the Blue Lights, the Sugarfoot Youth Jazz Band, Swing '39, Bill Logozzo's Heartbeat Jazz Band, Ivory and Gold, and Jas'm. Guests of the Galvanized Jazz Band will be banjoist Bob Price; vocalist Jane Campedelli, from Florida; saxist JP Alessi, leader of the French Preservation New Orleans Jazz Band; trombonist Roy Rubinstein from Chicago; and clarinetist Paul Boehmke. Call 1-800-HOT-EVENT for details concerning the festival.
The Blue Horizon Jazz Band was at the Sherborn Inn, Sherborn, Mass., May 20. The May 27 concert at the Sherborn Inn featured pianist Neville Dickie, stride and boogie woogie master from Surrey, England, and with him were trumpeter Jeff Hughes, Stan McDonald on soprano saxophone and clarinet, and drummer Dave Bragdon. The concert opened with Dickie playing some boogie woogie numbers and "Maple Leaf Rag." McDonald, Hughes and Bragdon joined him for "Tia Juana," "Chicago Breakdown," "Rose of the Rio Grande," and other numbers. Ross Petot, local stride piano master, sat in for a few numbers, playing solo on "It Don't Mean a Thing If You Ain't Got That Swing" and in duet with Dickie on a wonderful rendition of "Honeysuckle Rose." McDonald sang "Make Me a Pallet on the Floor" ("Atlanta Blues") and took outstanding soprano sax solos on "Petite Fleur" and "Dans les Rues d'Antibes." The audience enjoyed the very fine evening of music.
The Sticky Skillets were at the Sherborn Inn June 3, and they featured Tin Pan Alley tunes from past years.