Thursday, September 8, 2005

Fidgety Feet

Digging through the trenches recently we stumbled upon an online record store where one could purchase a slew of unfamiliar albums from almost anywhere across the world (mainly Poland, the Czech Republic, the eastern half of West Germany and so on). One particular record caught our eye: a 1988 album by the USSR-based Nevskaya Vosmyorka Jazz Band. The album is entitled Fidgeta.

So what’s the big deal? It's one of the few instances where we've found the word "Fidgeta" that does not refer to John's first book, St. Fidgeta and Other Parodies. Actually, the only other instance that we can recall was that it was the name of some mildly popular participant in a dog show – but who's keeping track?

Needing to know just what was going on, we emailed the curator of the site and got more than enough information about the NVJB (not to be confused with NRBQ). First, the group consists of Vitali Smirnov (clarinet), Georgi Tchikov (trumpet), Alexander Kavlelatsvili (trombone), Boris Finkelstein (tenor saxophone), Vladislav Pankevitch (piano, vocal), Nikolai Rjazanov (banjo, guitar), Edward Moskalev (bass) and Grigori Loktsin (drums).

Second, of the 10 songs on the album, only 1 is an original (by Smirnov), with the other 9 being jazz standards, including the first track, Fidgeta. However it’s not any off-the-wall Bellairs connection. The song is actually Fidgety Feet, originally composed in 1918 by Nick La Rocca of the famous Original Dixieland Jazz Band of New Orleans. Apparently it is a well-known and oft-covered song among jazz musicians. So much for the album being the long-lost original cast-recording soundtrack to the Broadway production of Fidgeta. Now that would be odd.

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