Bassist Beau Sample assembled this group in 2010 to play a spirited take on the brisk traditional jazz of the 20s and 30s—its repertoire includes the music of Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, and Bix Beiderbecke among others—but few expected that the band would catch on with an audience born some six decades after the music’s heyday ended. The band’s weekly engagements at Honky Tonk BBQ in Pilsen and the illustrious Green Mill in Uptown have become two of Chicago’s hottest engagements; every week the dance floors in each spot are put to good use.
Last year the group released the terrific Chicago Hot (Delmark), with spare drumming, string bass, banjo, and piano forming a dynamic foundation for wild and woolly multi-linear horn lines. The Fat Babies plays the music of the past, but there’s nothing musty about it. Sample is joined by drummer Alex Hall, banjoist/guitarist Jake Sanders, pianist Paul Asaro, trombonist Dave Bock, clarinetist John Otto, and cornetist Andy Schumm. For today’s show former Chicagoan Jon Doyle sits in on saxophone.