|Big Mama Sue & the Low Society Jazz Band has, until
recently, existed solely for the purpose of performing "casual gigs", the mainstay of the jazz musician's
livelihood. Applying Fat's Waller's advice, "find out what they like, and how they like it, and let 'em have it just that
way" , I have put together duos, trios, quartets, quintets...whatever...for the purpose of entertaining
conventions, wedding receptions, theme parties, company picnics and more...and like chameleons, we "become" the
band required for the occasion: The Intel Circus Marching Band, The Apple Computer Hot Five, The Citibank Pep
Rally Six, Big Mama's Honky Tonk Review, Joe's Bailbond Stompers... you get the
Somewhere in process of munching my way thru miles of convention buffet lines, I got the idea that these "casual" bands play great music that doesn't get any exposure where it really counts—with jazz fans. And as I was doing a vamp song from the lap of an IBM bigwig (who shall remain unnamed) one day, I thought to myself "why should this great freewheeling type of performance only be heard by corporate groups?" As much as I appreciate corporate clients (they underwrite jazz in a very real way by having theme parties and hiring entertainment), I think it would be really fun to share this kind of band with
the general public as well.
Why are casual bands different from what you might hear on the festival circuit or at a club session? Casual bands never rehearse—in fact they rarely play together twice in a row with the same line-up. And yet they consist of the finest musicians available. For example, a client has a Roaring 20's theme party and wants me to bring a band and a show, and so I hire however many pieces the gig warrants, and a new band is born, and lives for just one day. And because the music is unrehearsed there is a lively tension that comes when you know you have to get it right the first time, sometimes in front of thousands of people. And even though performances are never perfect, they are often better for the dynamism and spontaneity .
So this recording was made in order to offer a "casual gig" to the public. Sure, we did a few " quick fix" retakes. But for the most part, this is a true representation of a casual performance: I arranged for a great group of musicians that had never played together as a band, we ran thru the tunes in the studio and then recorded them. And here they are...warts and all. The tunes selected for this recording are typical of a casual gig...and since Big Mama Sue does theme parties as diverse as Barbary Coast, Roaring 20's, Art Deco, Puttin' on the Ritz, WWII... the music includes an eclectic mix of swing, vintage pop and Dixieland.
It is a privilege to work with such fine musicians, and I hope you enjoy this recording as much as I enjoyed making it.
March 15, 1992
Sue Kroninger works as a professional musician at clubs, corporate events, theme parties, and conventions through out the Bay Areas (SF & Monterey). She has a strong background in vaudeville, and uses music to create such characters as Diamond Lil, Red Hot Mama Claus, Big Mama Sue and more. She has played Dixieland festivals all over the western states with the Monterey Bay Classic Jass Band, Churchill Street Ragtime Band, San Francisco Starlight Orchestra and Classic Jass. Also a proud member of Washboards International. As an event planner, Sue specializes in producing theme parties and cabaret reviews that showcase her favorite kinds of music: vintage jazz in its many colors and flavors. She is featured as vocalist on most of the selections.