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In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

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Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

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Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Frog and Henry @ the Black Swan - Sept. 4

Ewan Bleach (clarinet, vocals); Ryan Baer (guitar, banjo, vocals); John Kelly (trombone, guitar); Jack Butler (tuba)
(Review by Lance)

Frog and Henry may sound like the name of a Quayside bar but it is, in fact, an international band dedicated to the early blues, rags and stomps of New Orleans. In some ways they are a bit like Postmodern Jukebox inasmuch as, with the exception of Ewan Bleach, there's no certainty as to who, how many, and what instruments will be in the band. It all depends on the size of the car explained clarinetist Bleach.

So, assuming it was a Mini, the shipwreck/lifeboat syndrome applied and one person had to go which turned out be the violin player as well various other instruments including bass saxophone which was a shame as there aren't many bass saxists on the northeast circuit and, disappointingly, the tuba machine was also AWOL.

However, the most worrying event prior to the gig, apart from the machine, was another tuba which was broken. How does one locate a replacement tuba with the minutes before stomp off ticking away? Impossible - unless Patti Durham is to hand. She's got tubas wall to wall and the day was saved.

Amazingly, no time was lost and they charged into Weary Blues and they didn't sound weary at all.

Bleach gets quite a liquid sound on clarinet with shades of Bechet, Irving Fazola and the occasional growl bringing Pee Wee to mind. Like Baer, he also has that  twenties/thirties timbre to his vocals - think early Bing, Russ Columbo, Rudy Vallée or Al Bowlly. With this band, one minute you're in a Storyville bordello and the next you're dining at the Ritz.

Baer effectively comps and solos with some juicy chords on guitar, provides period vocals and plays banjo on the appropriately titled That's a Plenty - I suppose someone has to do it.

The borrowed tuba nestled comfortably in Butler's arms and he pumped away happily.

Apart from guitar, Kelly blew blistering 'bone and combined to make this a very tight outfit  where solos were succinct and the ensembles, even without a cornet, true to the tradition and it wasn't surprising that an encore was demanded.

Like the Tenement Jazz Band up in Edinburgh, or the Shake 'em up Jazz Band worldwide, this is a relatively young band honouring the traditions of the past.
Lance

Weary Blues; My Blue Heaven; Imagination (Benny Moten); San; In the Wee Midnight Hours; Shadrack; On the Banks of the River; Crying For the Carolines; Song of the Wanderer; In My Little Red Book; Panama; The Girls Go Crazy etc.; That Will Be the Thrill For me; Temptation Rag; I'm Blue and Lonesome; That's a Plenty; Love in Bloom; A Swallowtail Coat; St. Louis Rag; Bouncing Around; A thousand Goodbyes.

1 comment :

Ray R said...

Having seen the band at Darlington in February when a larger car was obviously available as all instruments & band members seemed present; it was a pleasure to hear them again; albeit in smaller number; but still providing fabulous sounds ….another memorable gig …

Ray R

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