S.F.'s Crooked Jades redefines “old time” music
“Here’s a scratchy thing that has a framework to it. … Let’s revive this!”
This might be the way Jeff Kazor presents one of his latest finds, a song on perhaps an old 78 rpm disc, to his bandmates to listen to and learn (they learn everything by ear—no sheet music ever). San Francisco group The Crooked Jades (www.crookedjades.com) is on a self-proclaimed “mission to reinvent old-time music.” And they’re getting ready to do a little missionary work up here in Chico on Aug. 9 when they bring their charming five-piece string band to Moxie’s.
I spoke with Crooked Jades founder, band leader and guitarist Kazor by phone recently at his home in San Francisco. Kazor comes across as earnest, passionate and dedicated when it comes to old-time music, which by his definition is basically pre-radio. We’re talking early 1900s, even dipping back into the 1800s. Traditional songs like “Knoxville Rag,” “Johnson Gal” and “Job Job” (which features the once-popular practice of keeping rhythm with a bowed bass) have found their way onto the Jades’ latest CD, The Unfortunate Rake, Volume 2: Yellow Mercury (Copper Creek Records, 2003), as have some Kazor originals in the spirit of old-time. The Crooked Jades are Kazor and cohorts Lisa Berman playing dobro, Hawaiian slide and clawhammer banjo; Tom Lucas on fiddle, banjo, banjo ukulele and fretless minstrel banjo; Stephanie Prausnitz also on fiddle; and Dave Bamberger playing upright bass. Throw in some fine vocals every now and then, and you’ve got yourself a very nice little spell of entertainment! Word has it that they’re bringing a harmonium along on this tour, so if you want to see and hear what that’s all about, come on down to Moxie’s and partake in some "old-time jollification," courtesy of The Crooked Jades.