August 22, 2004, on a very pleasant Sunday, we made our pilgrimage to "The Farm" in the North (San Francisco) Bay. We had to go through San Rafael in bumper to bumper traffic, Rohnert Park, Petaluma, through a tiny community named Two Rocks to get to the Paul and Bonnie Swinderman's place for their annual Jazz party. They called the place "The Farm."
The barbecue grill was fired up, ready for meats that we brought. A huge table was set up to accommodate side dishes people brought to share. The lawn, which is a natural amphitheatre, was full of people. There was hardly any space to sit by the time we got there. We found a small spot beside a bush, but we could still see the performers.
There were a lot of unfamiliar faces in the audience. Of the musicians who were there, Eric Swinderman, guitar; Raymond "Nat" Turner and Ziggy both recited their poems. Ruth Davies, bassist; Mark Foglia, drums; Terry Hillard, bass; Carlos Zialcita, harmonica and vocals; Doug Arrington, vocals; Richard Hall, piano; Jerry Moore, piano. There were a lot more musicians whom I don't know.
They did standards, of course, where everybody can chip in and play. Doug Arrington was accompanied by Jerry Moore on piano and performed "What a Wonderful World" and "Fly Me to the Moon." He has matured in his performance, and seems to scat with more and more confidence every time we hear him.
Eric Swinderman swung in his guitar solos for "Fly Me to the Moon," and gave a heart renting one for "God Bless the Child."
Allison Fletcher, daughter of pianist Arthur Fletcher, recited a poem with another gentleman, and made it sound like a "round" -- one sentence ahead of each other. It was very nicely done and very interesting.
Carlos Zialcita gave a bluesy rendition on the harmonica for "Nothing But a Hound Dog," when a lady, they called "Ms. D" roused the audience with her vocalization, while Ruth Davis swung her bass.
There were too many musicians for me to mention individually, and anyway, I don't know all of their names. But we had a very good time and appreciate the opportunity to hear all these Bay Area musicians perform and all the good food we got to share. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Thank you to the Swinderman family.
by Haybert K. Houston
Jazz Now Interactive September 2004 Vol 14 No. 5 - Table of Contents
Copy right: Jazz Now, September 2004 Vol 14 No. 5
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