Most months, Bruce's commentary on gigs past, gigs to come and other KJC matters is circulated via e-mail to members and other interested parties.
Scotland must not be allowed to secede from the United Kingdom! Not when it can nurture a band as good as the Tenement Jazz Band, the 5-piece from Edinburgh which wowed us this month. Like Tuba Skinny, Frog and Henry (here again in January) and Spats Langham, they mine the rich seam of recorded early jazz to come up with numbers which are fresh to the ears of present-day listeners (including myself), while also giving the audience points of reference from the better-known recordings of King Oliver, Bix Beiderbecke etc. So they provided a heady mixture of material, but what of the performance? Totally committed (but not in the mental institution sense) is the first phrase that springs to mind. They all obviously love this era of jazz, but Tenement have the musical ability to back up that love with tight, crisply performed arrangements and lots of ensemble playing, plus short hot solos. This meant that they managed to squeeze in 25 different tunes, many with complex ensemble passages, all played from memory: a considerable feat. And because they came across as a band, rather than a collection of individual musicians, I’m not going to name names but just say that all the players had talents which contributed to the overall rich sound they made. Returning to their choice of tunes, I must say that I particularly enjoyed ‘Since My Best Gal Turned Me Down’ (complete with tempo changes), and the haunting Tuba Skinny composition ‘Petite Bayou Moan’ – hair-raising in the best possible sense. But really there were no duffers, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in saying that my foot never stopped tapping. A great night, and we will certainly be asking this band to return next year.
November 20th (please note the departure from our normal second Wednesday) sees the recently re-formed Harmony Hounds appearing here for the first time. Chris Howse formed this band in 1987, and it acquired a big reputation for quality jazz and entertainment. However, this trio (later a quartet) became part of Mike Lovell’s Six-in-a-Bar, so, when Mike left the NW for Cornwall, Chris decided to dust off the Harmony Hounds name. He is using the original 3 musicians, adding Andy Henderson on cornet and John Smith on drums to make the band a 5-piece, which will be dishing out some solid traditional jazz, leavened by Willie Entwistle’s reeds and violin and vocals from leader Chris. Should be fun.