Since the band's formation in 2009 they have been in constant demand which disproves the theory that any band which isn't a middle-of-the-road "trad" band will find success difficult to achieve. Mind you with musical talent such as we have here it would be surprising and very sad if they did not succeed. Both Kevin Grenfell and Richard Leach are outstanding trombonists and the astonishing rapport which exists between them provides that extra thrill for their eager audiences. Soon after their first CD (PKCD-340) was recorded Ken Jones, their pianist, sadly died, but they have been fortunate to secure the services of Roger Heeley who has slipped into the piano chair without any disruption to the band's busy schedule. The other band members are John Fellows double bass and Graham Smith drums. The tunes on this their second CD, which was recorded live in Droitwich in April 2011, are:- Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye, The Preacher, Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans, All Of Me, Sway, Skylark, Avalon, I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Cute, It's A Sin To Tell A Lie, Stranger On The Shore, The Sheik Of Araby, As Time Goes By, Yesterday, Chinatown My Chinatown, Bye Bye Blues, Side By Side. (77min)
The band was formed about ten years ago, following a visit by Chris and his Brother-in-law to New Orleans in 2001, but thereafter only performed on an occasional basis. Last year, following the decision by the Antique Six Jazzband to stop playing after 2011, Chris established his 'new' band in its present form with Tony Davis trumpet, Chris on clarinet and saxes, Richard Leach trombone, Ian Parry banjo & guitar, John Vickers double bass and Graham Smith drums. Chris says his aim is to present a well rehearsed outfit which is not hidebound by any particular jazz style and with the emphasis on playing high quality traditional jazz with most of the repertoire drawn from the the early part of the 20th century. This band deserves to succeed and should be a great asset to the British traditional jazz club scene in years to come. The tunes are:- The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise, Jive At Five, All That I Ask Of You Is Love, The Preacher, Yellow Dog Blues, Sweet Sue - Just You, Strike Up The Band, Texas Moaner, Goodnight Sweet Prince, Blue Turning Grey Over You, Halle Hallelujah, Just A Closer Walk With Thee, Sweethearts On Parade, Memphis Blues, California Here I Come. (67min)
This is the band's tenth CD - quite a milestone! Incidentally all the other nine are currently available. Since the band's first recording in 1997 there have been some personnel changes; not many, but their relaxed and distinctive sound has hardly changed at all and the spirit of the band is as solid as ever. Now as then the emphasis is on relaxed ensemble jazz with few solos. The biggest change to occur to the band came with the sad death of Clem Avery. Mac Rae has moved one seat to his right and now plays trumpet, the instrument he used to play in the 1980s. Liz Bacon has joined the band on clarinet; her limpid tone and melodic subtlety is just the right foil for Mac's hot trumpet style. Husband Paul Bacon plays drums. Jim Blenkin trombone, Dave Rae banjo and John Robinson double bass appear on all ten CDs. The tunes are:- Along The Road To Gundagai, Don't Go Away Nobody, Jambalaya On The Bayou, In The Garden, That Teasin' Rag, Bring It On Home To Grandma, Howard's Hymn, Ting-A-Ling, The Old Rugged Cross, Big Bad Bill, My Darling Nellie Gray, Red Wing, New Orleans Hula, Yes Sir That's My Baby, In The Sweet Bye And Bye, We'll Meet Again. (62min)
Steve Graham is a hugely talented and very versatile trumpeter who appears in my catalogue on several CDs with various bands. This is the first CD by his recently formed New Orleans Band, recorded live at the 2011 Keswick Jazz Festival, and playing in the looser style we all associate with New Orleans-style jazz. What sets this band apart from many N.O.-style bands is their repertoire - just look at the list of tunes:- I'm With You Where You Are, Sensation Rag, In The Upper Garden, Creole Song, Harlem Rag, I'll Always Be In Love With You, Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula, Indian Sagua, Viola Lee Blues, Stock Yards Strut, His Eye Is On The Sparrow, Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye, What Ya Want Me To Do. Very few bands since Bunk Johnson's and, later, Ken Colyer's have attempted to play rags, mainly I suspect because most rags are complex pieces and are very demanding. Here we have two rags plus Freddie Keppard's challenging Stock Yards Strut. By the way there was much discussion and some research into the correct spelling of that tune - we think we've got it right! The band line-up is Steve Graham trumpet; John Wurr clarinet & alto sax; Tom Whittingham trombone; Mike Denham piano; Mike Cox banjo; Derek Jones double bass; Chris Marchant drums. (72mins)
Here is the band's fourth CD on P.E.K. Sound. It was recorded in November 2011 at a live session at Sutton Coldfield Jazz Club. It nearly didn't happen because, although it's a fairly local venue for me, the Friday evening traffic was so heavy that I had to queue for nearly an hour on the slip road coming off the M42. I hate having to rush but I was ready in time, just! It was all well worth it - the band, having been on tour for a few days, were on great form and played a storming session to a large and enthusiastic crowd. It's good to see jazz clubs like this one thriving in difficult times. The line-up is unchanged from a previous CD (PKCD-336) and the tunes are:- Travelling Blues, Always, Kansas City Man Blues, Steamboat Stomp, Under The Double Eagle, Algiers Strut, Hi-Lilli-Hi-Lo, Saint Philip St Breakdown, Sidewalk Blues, Hawaiian War Chant, Goodnight Sweet Prince, Le Marchand De Poissons, You've Been A Good Old Wagon, High Society. What a varied and interesting programme! By the way I'm not a fan of long drum solos but Jack Cotterill's feature number (Hawaiian War Chant) is amazing! (71mins)
For some unaccountable reason this CD, recorded over two years ago was delayed - and delayed - in production. Anyway I trust you'll think, as I do, that it was worth the wait, especially as it's about four years since the last CD by the band. This CD was recorded at Little Witley Jazz Club in February 2010; a fantastic club, always packed and with a superb atmosphere which comes across on the recording. Since I last recorded the Algiers Stompers, Bob Rowbottom has joined the band on banjo; the last time I heard Bob play was back in 1995 with Chris Blount in The Delta Four. The band line-up is Peter Wright trumpet; Brian Carrick clarinet and tenor sax; Chas Hudson trombone; Gabrielle Gad piano; Bob Rowbottom banjo; Bill Cole double bass; Dion Cochrane drums. The tunes are:- Ciribiribin, Pretend, Do Lord, Swingy Little Thingy, On A Coconut Island, Underneath Hawaiian Skies, Gulf Coast Blues, Royal Garden Blues, When I Move To The Sky, You Were Only Fooling, Send Me Some Lovin', Joe Avery's Piece, China Boy, Bye Bye Blues. (74mins).