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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Frog and Henry @ Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club - February 8

(Review by Russell)

Darlington New Orleans Jazz Club's second concert promotion in eight days drew a huge crowd and little wonder given that the band on stage was making a popular return visit all the way from the Crescent City. Drawing upon the vast reserve of material from the early or 'classic jazz' years of the music Frog and Henry entertained an expectant, attentive audience. 

Charlie Johnson, Armand J Piron, Jelly Roll Morton and other legendary names from the Roaring Twenties provided the inspiration and source material for a superb five piece outfit roaring into the twenties - twenty first century style. Ewan Bleach from Oxfordshire fronted the band - perhaps the Stateside guys thought his English accent would be easier for the Brits to understand! 

A blues for openers followed by a blues followed by, yes, a blues, by accident or design, a series of blues numbers introduced the Frog and Henry guys although, truthfully, there was little need for introductions, the Darlington crowd  doesn't forget musicians of this calibre! Hot Tempered BluesWabash Blues (Ryan Baer's vocals), Bright Star Blues (the first mention of Armand J Piron), Careless Love (Careless Love Blues said Bleach) - this was small group ensemble playing at its best. Jazz Me Blues and on to a two-clarinet intro to Crying for the Carolines with Bleach taking the vocal part. 

Bleach thought it was time for a rag - Joplin's Palm Leaf Rag - and our man from Oxfordshire duly laid down a measured bottom end baritone foundation. Guitarist Baer, typically hidden away in the engine room alongside tuba machine specialist Dave Neigh, sang My Gal Sal with North American (RB is Canadian) authenticity. Numbers came thick and fast with Bleach making the introductions; to his left, the man from Tennessee, Kerman Arken playing superb back country, old timey fiddle, to his right, Laurin Hebart contributing never-less-than spot-on alto sax, tenor sax and clarinet (a renowned Tyneside based reedsman sitting in the audience surely appreciated the German's playing, perhaps making mental notes along the way).

Second set - more Charlie Johnson, more Armand J Piron. The Thriller Rag from way back in 1909, some Luis Russell, Ryan Baer singing In My Little Red Book a highlight, Chicago's Cookie's Gingersnaps' Love Found You for Me (1926, Jimmie Noone) an excellent choice. The packed hall could have listened into the night but the Frog and Henry boys faced a three hour drive to an evening gig in Lincolnshire. Time to go out on Bouncing Around. They'll be back this time next year, don't miss them!        
         
Frog and Henry: Ewan Bleach (sporano sax, baritone sax, alto sax, vocals); Laurin Hebart (alto sax, tenor sax, clarinet, vocals); Ryan Baer (guitar, vocals); Kerman Arken (violin, vocals); Dave Neigh (tuba machine, banjo, violin) 
Russell

1 comment :

Ray Sams said...

We look forward to having Frog and Henry back next February with a ten piece ensemble, Watch this space and thanks to all our loyal supporters
Ray . Darlington New Orleans Jazz

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