Like many area musicians, multi-instrumentalist Joe Tucker, piano player (and tuner) David Weiss, and saxophonist Robert LaRue have been making music together in one combination or venue or another in the Charlottesville area for a long time—in their case, for 20 years or so. Then, in the spring of 2015, David sent Robert an email (with the irresistible subject line, "A Gig Too Good To Turn Down") as follows:
Here's an opportunity to play a gig for no money and probably only 5 or 6 people in the audience. I've been able to get a piano donated to the Crozet Mudhouse, and I'm planning to play there this Friday. Care to join me?
The idea was to bring a stack of Fake Books and pick out some tunes to jam on. It turned out to be such a cozy venue and so much fun that David asked Joe if he'd care to bring along Lydia--Joe's Czechoslovakian string bass--and join in. Thus was born Jazz 1-2-3, the "house band" of the Crozet Mudhouse.
And, as so often happens, high-paying gig offers then began pouring in... well, trickling in, maybe... every great once in awhile. But the monthly "let's-try-this-one" style of playing for tips and a handful of casual drop-ins at the Mudhouse has never lost its charm, and they continue to get a kick out of visiting, or revisiting, a juicy selection of ballads, standards, bossas and swing.
Robert and Joe were already Nursing Homes Swing veterans, and they knew that the trio's range of classic jazz would be a perfect fit for the program. So now, they use their Mudhouse sessions to find the jazz pieces that are the most fun to improvise on and the most appealing for audiences to listen to. They then work them into concert programs to present to all the music lovers out in the community who can't go to the music.