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Swing Sets 

by JOEL SMITH AND MICHAEL BOWEN & r & & r &


& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & M & lt;/span & ichael Bowen and I are going to wrestle to determine jazz supremacy. The Inlander's resident highbrow, Bo is an aficionado of post-war jazz -- of that strain of improvised, freestyle bebop and cool jazz that emerged in the '50s and '60s and sent kids like Jack Kerouac into fits of melodic delirium. He's far less enthusiastic about pre-war jazz -- about swing and big band artists like Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Django Reinhardt. Which is why I'm going to put him in a chokehold.





Because I can't dance to Coltrane. And jazz is dead to me if it isn't danceable. (OK, so Duke Ellington said it better.) Which is why M. Bowen is keyed up for Robin Eubanks on Saturday, and I'm all a-twitter over next weekend's three-day New Orleans swing extravaganza at CenterStage. A handful of local organizations have banded together to import four Crescent City acts that seldom tour outside the South and that, therefore, will probably never be heard in Spokane again. Meaning that for at least a week, Spokane will, like, have a jazz scene.


Don't blink. -- JOEL SMITH





THE PALMETTO BUG STOMPERS


As beignets and chicory-laced coffee are the perfect start to a day in New Orleans, the Palmetto Bug Stompers are the ideal start for this showcase of Crescent City music. Stocked with musicians who have been busking in Jackson Square for years (including several former members of Friday night's Jazz Vipers) the Stompers -- fronted by Washboard Chaz Leary -- play a sweet, laid-back, melodic swing that should thoroughly grease the joints of jazz fans sticking it out for the whole weekend. (JS) Palmetto Bug Stompers on Thursday, Nov. 16, at 7 pm. Tickets: $25.








ST. LOUIS SLIM


St. Louis Slim will be offering a twofer at next weekend's festival, playing a swing set on Friday and a Delta blues set the next night. The reedy-voiced, white-haired youngster is equally proficient at both. Originally from Missouri, he moved to New Orleans in 2001 and quickly became a fixture at local nightclubs, where he fell in with the Delta Vipers and for a time became the guitarist for the Hot Club of New Orleans. Look for him to sit in with the latter and vice versa. (JS) St. Louis Slim on Friday, Nov. 17, and Saturday, Nov. 18, from 7-8:45 pm. Tickets: $19.








THE NEW ORLEANS JAZZ VIPERS


The Vipers are a seven-piece, drum-less swing band -- two saxophones, trumpet, clarinet, guitar, fiddle and upright bass -- that plays acoustic neo-trad jazz in the style of Louis, Billie, Duke and Basie. Swing's exuberance -- back in a time when jazz was danceable and still truly popular -- provided an escape when men were dying on World War II battlefields. Still works that way today: The Vipers' bassist, Robert Snow, lost everything after Katrina. So while they may be retro, the Vipers are committed to making jazz fans want to get up and dance despite their troubles. Just as in the '40s. Just like today. (MB) New Orleans Jazz Vipers on Friday, Nov. 17, from 9:30 pm-12:30 am. Tickets: $30.








LINNZI ZAORSKI AND DELTA ROYALE


She's a real hotsy-totsy, this one. Linnzi Zaorski's CD cover photos may suggest the torch song singer -- you can just imagine the high heels and seamed stockings -- but she sometimes appears onstage (as she did at New Orleans concert a couple years back) in a sensible dress with her hair up in a bun. Backed by Delta Royale -- trumpet, guitar and bass, with maybe some sax, fiddle or washboard thrown in -- she delivers standards like Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing" in a leisurely, almost plaintive style. Whether dowdy or not, "The Polish Parakeet" evokes the moods of those smoke-filled clubs of the '30s. (MB) Linnzi Zaorski and Delta Royale on Saturday, Nov. 18 from 9:30 pm-12:30 am. Tickets: $30.





Think Swing! New Orleans Jazz Festival on Nov. 16-18 at CenterStage, 1017 W. First Ave. Visit www.spokanecenterstage.com and www.myspace.com/thinkswing or call 74-STAGE.
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