The Rhythm Runners deliver prohibition era jazz to Traditions Cafe
The Rhythm Runners have convened under auspicious circumstances to deliver prohibition era jazz to the Pacific Northwest. With musicians hailing from New York, New Orleans and Seattle, this group of 5 horn and string players perform music rooted in the sounds of early jazz.
As the 2014 Seattle Lindy Exchange featured band, The Rhythm Runners will debut new work by guitarist Greg Ruby at the historic Washington Hall in Seattle, WA. The creation and presentation of these compositions are generously funded by the King County arts foundation, 4Culture. During the tour, the group will be headlining the opening night of DjangoFest Northwest, performing at concert and swing dance venues in the region and making a full length studio recording of the new work.
During Ruby’s research into Seattle’s early jazz scene, he encountered the work of legendary Frank D. Waldron. A seminal early Northwest jazz musician, Waldron was a cornetist, saxophonist, bandleader, music educator, author and composer. In 1924, he published Syncopated Classic, a book of his compositions written as a tutorial to study the latest saxophone technique. Waldron’s book is one of the few documented sources of early jazz composition in the Pacific Northwest. With the assistance of a Seattle jazz historian, and archivist, Ruby accessed Waldron’s book. The upcoming concerts will feature The Rhythm Runners performing several of his compositions and audiences will hear Waldron’s music performed for the first time in over 70 years.
About the Rhythm Runners
A 2012 chance meeting between Seattle guitarist Greg Ruby and New York multi-instrumentalist Dennis Lichtman ignited the vision for the inception of The Rhythm Runners. Meeting in a shoebox sized music venue in Brooklyn, Litchman and Ruby struck up a conversation about old time fiddle music that diverged into an exchange about a shared love of vintage jazz. Mid-conversation Lichtman, exclaimed, “Are you Greg Ruby...from Seattle? I’m supposed to call you tomorrow about a west coast tour...what are you doing here?” As it happened, Lichtman had been given Ruby’s contact just hours previous as a recommended guitarist for his upcoming tour. It worked out that Litchman and Ruby joined forces playing an East Coast tour through the Virginia Piedmont. The Rhythm Runners convened, joined by New York trumpeter, Gordon Au, and New Orleans trombonist Charlie Halloran and bassist Cassidy Holden. The band recorded a 7 inch - 45 rpm vinyl recording of Ruby’s compositions and the inspiration to bring the band west was sparked.
clarinet - New York
Dennis Lichtman is a clarinetist at the heart of the New York traditional-jazz scene. He leads the legendary Tuesday night jam session at Mona's in Manhattan, described by the Wall Street Journal as,"ground zero for an emerging late-night scene of young swing and traditional jazz players.” Recently, Dennis released a CD with his western swing band, The Brain Cloud and has been touring internationally playing fiddle and clarinet with roots guitarist/songwriter Pokey LaFarge.
trumpet - New York
Gordon Au, called “comfortable in any idiom and fearless” by music writer Michael Steinman, embodies a fusion of tradition and modernity. During a fellowship residency with the world-renowned Monk Institute, he performed with no less than 23 Grammy Award-winners, including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Chaka Khan, George Benson, Ellis Marsalis, Benny Golson, and Terence Blanchard. He is a sought-after trumpeter in the New York area, playing with such groups as Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks, David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Centennial Band at Birdland, the Dan Levinson Quintet, and Baby Soda Jazz Band. His own group, the Grand St. Stompers, will be featured at Jazz at Lincoln Center this October.
trombone - New Orleans
In 2009 the Squirrel Nut Zippers pulled Charlie off a Mardi Gras float on St Charles Avenue and brought him on board to tour. Charlie plays with Meschiya Lake & the Little Big Horns (as seen on HBO’s Treme) and founded the New Orleans Moonshiners, described in the press as "a trad jazz band with new souls". Charlie has performed with Allen Toussaint, the Cab Calloway Orchestra, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, the Preservation Hall Hot 4, and Norbert Susemihl's New Orleans Jazz Allstars.
bass - New Orleans
Cassidy Holden is a bassist and rhythm section player performing traditional jazz and Delta blues. Based in New Orleans, Cassidy can be heard across the U.S. and Europe as a sideman in the company of The Loose Marbles, Gordon Webster, Luke Winslow-King, Dan Levinson, and leading his own group, Cassidy and the New Orleans Kids.
guitar - Seattle
“Truly hot jazz” - Vintage Guitar Magazine. Seattle based guitarist and composer Greg Ruby is a distinctive voice in the Hot Club jazz tradition. His CD, Look Both Ways celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of guitarist Django Reinhardt. Featuring 12 original compositions, the recording reached #1 on the Roots Music Review jazz chart. Greg, formerly of Pearl Django and Hot Club Sandwich, now leads Hot Club jazz group, The Greg Ruby Quartet, French Musette trio, Bric-a-brac and old school New Orleans style jazz quartet, The Post Alley Ramblers. In 2013, he received funding from King County arts foundation 4Culture to create new work for The Rhythm Runners to be performed at Seattle’s historic Washington Hall.
Traditions Café and World Folk Art
300 5th Avenue SW, Olympia, WA 98501
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