[Dixielandjazz] Pismo Beach Jubilee By The Sea Review

Robert Ringwald rsr at ringwald.com
Thu Dec 1 23:58:46 EST 2016

The writer lives in Liverpool NY, not Liverpool England.

This article appeared in an upstate NY newspaper. It is a review of the Jazz Festival which took place in Pismo Beach, CA the last weekend of October, 2016. 


Star Review  

Livin’ in Liverpool: As the snows blow here, Californians pray for rain 

russ column 
I love Livin’ in Liverpool. So I don’t travel much. In fact, I own neither a passport nor an enhanced New York state driver’s license. Whatever trips I take these days are limited to the 50 United States. 

Late last month I endured the many discomforts of flying cross-country — cramped seating, delayed flights, missed connections, lengthy layovers, overpriced in-flight food — and finally arrived in sunny California to visit my brother’s family and attend an ocean-side jazz festival. 

It was a merry mix of business and pleasure, bunking at my brother’s pad in Paso Robles and driving 25 miles daily to Pismo Beach for the 40th Anniversary “Ruby” Jubilee by the Sea. 

Jubilee by the Sea 

Framed by rolling white sand dunes and green-leaved eucalyptus trees, Jubilee by the Sea is staged on California’s Central Coast, just a few miles south of Morro Bay in San Luis Obispo County. Once known as “The Clam Capital of the World,” Pismo Beach is now a bustling resort town of 8,000 inhabitants. 

Although clams are no longer harvested there, Pismo Beach remains proud of its seaside heritage, and we celebrated it with a Saturday evening meal at the Cracked Crab, a bustling restaurant which serves buckets of boiled seafood including clams, mussels, lobster, red king crab and Dungeness crab from Alaska along with wild Gulf shrimp. 

But jazz was the soundtrack of my long West Coast weekend. Every October since 1976, the Basin Street Regulars (aka the Central Coast Hot Jazz Society) have hosted a world-class traditional jazz festival and this year festival goers heard the zoot-suited High Street band perform “Minnie the Moocher,” clarinetist Bob Draga teamed up with drummer Danny Coots and pianist Jeff Barnhart on “Basin Street Blues” and British boogie-woogie boy Carl “Sonny” Leyland pounded the 88s while belting out “My Gal Sal.” 

‘Midnight at the Oasis’ 

I was pleased to meet headliner Maria Muldaur and veteran San Fran singer Pat Yankee and her equally experienced keyboardist Bob Ringwald. Bob, father of movie star Molly Ringwald, recalled that when his daughter was assigned by her second-grade teacher to report on a famous American, Molly showed her classmates how Bessie Smith sang “Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer.” 

I dipped my toes into the Pacific, visited the adobe Mission San Miguel Arcangel established by Franciscans in 1797, and sampled high-end vino at the Tobin James Cellars. The winery’s spectacular 1860s’ Brunswick mahogany bar is said to have been transported from Blue Eye, Missouri, to Paso Robles, California, by the legendary Frank and Jesse James gang, who had traveled west in the 1880s to heal their gunshot wounds in the area’s hot springs. 

Lingering drought 

But what most impressed me about my recent visit to the Golden State was, well, how golden it was. 

It was dry as a powder house. Grass barely grew. Those few blades that sprang stubbornly from the soil were not bright green but the dull color of hay. 

The first day there, however, the skies grew dark and rain was rumored to be in the forecast, which was bad news for the Pismo Beach jazz bash, but great news for the parched landscape. I joined my brother, James, for a friendly game of poker at the humble Paso Robles Casino, and the talk at the table never strayed far from the weather. 

As the bets were placed and raises called, the sky slowly opened up, and card players regularly left their chips on the table to run outdoors and confirm the moisture in the air. Of course, I took credit for bringing the rain with me from wet and wooly Upstate New York, and I graciously accepted the dehydrated Californians’ heartfelt thanks. 
  The columnist can be contacted at russtarby at aol.com.

Bob Ringwald piano, Solo, Duo, Trio, Quartet, Quintet 
Fulton Street Jazz Band (Dixieland/Swing)
916/ 806-9551
Amateur (ham) Radio Station K6YBV

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