6 July 2017

Post 524: SHOTGUN; AND THE GOLDEN AGE

We are certainly living in a Golden Age of traditional jazz. Although most of us can't get to New Orleans or the few other places in the world where top-quality music is constantly being played, the wonders of YouTube assure us that it exists all right.

Only a few days ago, blog readers urged me to watch the recent 54-minute video of The Loose Marbles:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EFAhHT9AEE&t=17s
It was sensationally good and gave me huge pleasure.

Now, readers have told me also to watch the video of similar length which shows The Shotgun Jazz Band playing at the same event (The Abita Springs Buskers Festival, 2016):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvoau6EoMxI

Both of these videos were professionally made by Radio Station WWOZ; and the sound quality is excellent. We have to thank Alice Glick for uploading them.

Whereas The Loose Marbles performed on the day with ten musicians, The Shotgun Jazz Band uses its core five (three of them also in The Loose Marbles video, of course).
Yet again, The Shotgun Band gives us all a lesson in how traditional jazz - at the highest levels of performance - should be played. John Dixon is one of the very best banjo players to be heard anywhere - absolutely solid and reliable. In combination with Tyler Thomson (the world's best string bass player in this genre), he underpins everything this band plays with perfect chords and a perfect pulse. Note Tyler's solo chorus in China Boy (beginning at 45 minutes 36 seconds).

James Evans (reeds), Marla Dixon (trumpet and vocals) and Charlie Halloran (trombone) have all reached the very top of their profession. But they are not just outstanding individual musicians; they demonstrate great teamwork, supporting each other in a hundred subtle ways.

At 30 minutes 30 seconds, you can hear an exemplary performance of The Original Dixieland One-Step.

A little incidental treat is that Chloe Feoranzo joins in on Uptown Bumps.

And note throughout the video the varied and wonderful effects Marla can achieve with mutes. 

Dip into this video anywhere. You will discover music that brings tears of joy to your eyes.

I hope you watch it all. Don't make excuses.

But if you really can't spare more than a minute or so right now, at least watch the beginning of Breeze (10 minutes 20 seconds to 11 minutes 30 seconds) to be reminded of what beauty a great band can find in even the simplest material.