Anyone up for some fingersnappin’ ukulele-driven jazz?
Regular readers of Ukulele magazine will definitely know the name Eddie Scher, who has been a contributing writer for several years. He’s been a principal reviewer of new ukuleles and has written articles across a broad spectrum of topics—traveling with your ukulele; understanding copyright laws; ’20s uke star “King” Benny Nawahi; a primer on how to play jazz on the ukulele, and more.
Eddie is also a talented ukulele player and resonator guitarist who specializes in music from the first half of the 20th century and plies his trade at gigs around his home base in the S.F. Bay Area, and beyond. He’s played in numerous groups and settings over the years, but his longest-lasting outfit is a combo called Parlor Tricks, who bill themselves as “the world’s first and foremost industrial ragtime band” and exponents of “hot music.” Eddie writes on the group’s website: “The music is swing and jazz standards, vaudeville, and bluesy originals—all distinguished by syncopation and stomp.” Besides Eddie, the group also features his wife—singer Melina Selverston. “These days,” he says, “we are anything from a duo up to a big band.”
For this stripped-down Ukulele magazine video session, the bass spot was ably filled by none other than former Ukulele magazine uber-editor (and still contributing writer/editor) Greg Olwell, who has played with Parlor Tricks sporadically and is definitely part of the Parlor Tricks family. Here, the trio perform a pair of old standards jazz-style for our cameras: “’S Wonderful,” a 1927 tune written by George and Ira Gershwin and recorded by hundreds of different artists over the years; and Howard Arlen and Ted Koehler’s “I’ve Got the World on String,” which was written to be performed at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club in 1932, and was first recorded that year by the great Cab Calloway.