Mother's Day at Caton Castle - June 1, 2013
By Gail Marten
Three of Baltimore’s most talented jazz artists played to a full house of mature jazz aficionados at Caton Castle’s annual Mother’s Day event, on May 12th. Owner Ronald Scott has been presenting Mother’s Day jazz events for twenty-three years. This year Eleanor Janey and Arthur Hoffman occupied their usual table, and Ms. Janey acted as emcee, introducing Greg Hatza, organ; Brad Collins, sax and vocals; and Bobby Ward, who provided percussion on his brand new set of snow-white Gretsch drums.
The band opened with a high-octane rendition of “Misty,” with lots of head-bobbing, toe-tapping and accomplished chair-dancing by the enthusiastic crowd. It was just the beginning of a joyous, “forget your troubles, c’mon get happy” evening at Baltimore’s “real jazz club.” A soulful “Coming Home, Baby” followed. Paying tribute to the ladies in attendance—attired in their Mother’s Day finery—Collins sang a romantic version of “The Way You Look Tonight.” Then we got back into the groove with a swinging “Just In Time” and a bluesy “Georgia On My Mind” that would have made Ray Charles grin. “Down Home Blues” enticed one couple onto the dance floor, and Eleanor Janey delighted us with her subtly-executed bumps and shimmies. (Where did you learn those moves, Eleanor?)
The second set kicked off with “Moanin’,” followed by “I Thought about You,” “I Love You More Today Than Yesterday,” “Stella By Starlight,” and “Body and Soul.” When the band began to play “Back At The Chicken Shack”—Great Googly Moogly! More than half of the attendees sprang to their feet and danced where they stood, and the other half danced in their chairs. Does it get any better than this?
On the final set Hatza and Ward knocked it out of the park with “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” “This Masquerade” and “Fly Me To The Moon” kept the crowd going before “I’ve Got A Woman” lured two grandmas to the dance floor to captivate the audience with their suggestive, rhythmic gyrations. Forget “Dueling Banjos”; we had “Dueling Grannies!” Thankfully, Collins restored us to our senses with “Tenderly,” before the trio closed with “Bye Bye Blackbird.” Thanks, Ron Scott, for a Mother’s Day never to be forgotten—at least, not by me.