One of the most popular bands to perform at the Yukon and her sister pub Mock Crest Tavern is Cherry Blossom Hot 4. 

The band is sometimes known as “The Church of Louis Armstrong.” According to the band’s founder, Richard Basi, it’s not just a promotional gimmick, but rather an homage to the great Satchmo himself. “We don’t just play his old songs,” says Richard. “We also mimmic the instrumentation and pitch of his music as closely as possible to re-create an authentic 1920’s-40’s jazz experience.”

Louis Armstrong

Jazz legend Louis Armstrong – patron saint of Cherry Blossom Hot 4

The band takes its name from the Cherry Blossom Theater in Kansas City, Missouri’s famed jazz district, where the legendary Count Bassie got his start. 

As Richard explains, “Our music has a well-established reputation for being music you can swing dance to, but it’s also incredible to just sit and listen to.” 

The fact that the Yukon is a bit small stage-wise poses no problem to the band. Says Richard, “One of the things we enjoy about playing at the Yukon is that the venue is so intimate. So the quieter we play, the better our music can be enjoyed.” 

The Yukon’s small stage is no hinderance to creativity either. As Richard explains, “The wonderful thing about jazz, is that it lends itself to lots of improvisation, so the creativity of the musicians in uninhibited.”

While the band is usually comprised of 9 members, there are times when the band has to be very minimal. That means minimal amplification, and – at times – using only one music stand. Talk about cozy!

Cherry Blossom Hot 4 Orchestra

Cherry Blossom Hot 4 in full swing

You can enjoy some of Cherry Blossom Hot 4’s music on their official website. But better yet, come catch them live the next time they’re at the Yukon. (Or, every second Friday at Mock Crest.)