By Andy Revkin
On Saturday afternoon (Feb. 14), Mardi Gras came to Cold Spring in the form of a Valentine’s Day, New Orleans–style jam at the First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown.
Three or four dozen music fans braved the snow and cold to be treated to a menu of hot jazz, with slapped upright bass, thundering tom toms, interwoven horn lines and soulful vocals delivered by a regional legend, Miss Rene Bailey, a resident of Kerhonkson in the Catskills who spent decades singing jazz and blues at resorts there and in New York City, accompanying the likes of Louie Armstrong, B.B. King and Aretha Franklin.
The show was organized by David Limburg, a Nelsonville resident with a passion for trumpet and traditional music, and featured his next-door neighbor Gareth Guest on clarinet.
Also in the horn section was Ken Foy, whose trombone slide seemed to reach across the pews as he powered through “Eh La Bas!” — a creole tune described in Limburg’s liner notes as celebrating “overindulgence in food and drink.”
The ensemble was rounded out by Jake Lentz on piano, Phil Nestor on drums and David “Slam” Winograd on upright bass fiddle, who accompanied his percussive solos with rapid-fire scat lines.
The set ranged from a raucous funeral march (“Just a Little While to Stay Here”) to wistful blues (“Careless Love”) to the gospel standard “We Shall Walk Through the Streets of the City.” As the band closed with “When the Saints Go Marching In,” audience members spontaneously danced down the aisle hand in hand.
Everyone lingered over wine and snacks, reluctant to leave that Big Easy atmosphere for the Hudson Valley chill just outside the church doors.