by Bert Thompson
TED SHAFER'S JELLY ROLL JAZZ BAND—"NEW ORLEANS JAZZ" vol. 2 (Merry
Makers Record Company MMRC-CD-29). Playing time: 64 mins. 54 secs.
All the Girls Go Crazy about the Way I Walk; I Can’t Say; Chinatown, My
Chinatown; Sweet Sue*; Once in a While; Down Where the Sun Goes Down*†;
Sweethearts on Parade*; Dallas Blues; Mandy, Make up Your Mind; Wild Man
Blues; Together; Whispering; Blues [sic] Skies; New Orleans Shuffle.
Recorded in Benicia, Calif., Sep. 30, 1999.
Personnel: Ted Shafer, banjo, leader; Walt Yost, cornet; Bill Bardin, trombone,
vocal*; Earl Scheelar, clarinet, vocal†; Don Kidder, banjo; Tom Downs, tuba.
nights, and this is another live recording from that residency. Unlike made from
several different dates.
ambience or the sound levels and timbres as often happens when selections are
made from several different dates.
Also, since these tracks are all taken from a single date, there is not the “musical
chairs” of the first volume either. New on this volume is the late Walt Yost (d. 2000)
on cornet, Earl Scheelar playing clarinet only. Like his fellow band members, Yost
paid his dues. Throughout the fifties he was to be found in San Francisco area
bands such as the Great Pacific Jazz Band, the Stone Age Jazz Band, the Original
Inferior Jazz Band, and the Golden Age Jazz Band, and he was a founding member
of the Bay City Jazz Band, playing with it until its demise. In the decades after that
he appeared with, among others, the Good Time Levee Stompers on cornet and the
two-trumpet Jelly Roll Jazz Band on tuba. Just as he was a soft-spoken man, he was
never a blaster on either horn and can be heard to good advantage on cornet on this
As was the case with volume one, most of the selections here should be familiar to
most readers. New to me is I Can’t Say. Also Down Where the Sun Goes Down and
Once in a While (the Butler tune of the 20’s, not the 1937 pop ballad by Edwards
and Green) have not been done to death. The high point of the recording, however,
is the cornet work of Walt Yost. He is always lyrical—at times almost Bixian,
although not having Bix’s bell-like tone. Unfortunately, there are a couple of low
points on this CD, too. On too many tunes there is a rather monotonous pattern of
opening ensemble – clarinet solo – cornet solo – trombone solo – ensemble out.
When some variation of this occurs, as it does in Down Where the Sun Goes Down
or Blue Skies, interest is heightened. Even the riffing behind the soloists on their
second choruses on Dallas Blues adds a welcome diversion. And again, as in
volume one, the rhythm section is a bit ponderous and the sound a little muddy. In
sum, then, my reaction to this CD is a bit mixed, but it is good to have more from the
too-seldom-recorded Walt Yost on cornet.
Finally, like that of the first volume, the label on this CD is a paper one, which one
might again want to keep in mind if contemplating playing the disc in a car CD
This CD is the second volume of a set of three (the first volume being MMRCD-28,
with the last yet to be issued). It is available from Ted Shafer at Merry Makers
Record Company, 926 Beechwood Circle, Suisun City, CA 94585 (tel. toll-free 1-866-
563-4433), for $16.00, post paid, and possibly from mail order sources that carry CD’s
on the Merry Makers label.