It is something of a sad affair that my sojourns to Jazz Club 90 are the exception rather then the rule these days, but it is an unfortunate situation which cannot be avoided at the moment. So here we into May and the account here is only my second trip to the club since its removal from the Harp.
Having missed the date for Chris Quinn I was pleasantly surprised to find that the next gig was Matt Palmer’s Millennium Eagle Jazz band with Baby Jools returning on the drums, the band is a Dixieland/Swing based band and is rather perfect for light Sunday afternoon entertainment. Due to having to fill the motor up with petrol I was a few minutes late and missed the first number and band introductions, but not to worry, I found myself a nice seat and bought myself a bottle of Spitfire. Now while the Albrighton Sports and Social Club has a much greater capacity for an audience and a more pronounced stage then the Harp, it lacks the opportunity to mingle amoung the crowd and catch up with everyone and the beer options are poorer with only smooth flow beer or Lager on draft and real ale only available in bottles. Anyway the band started off with a number called “Travelling Blues” which was played at afoot tapping medium tempo, this was followed by a number which was a big hit for the oft-overlooked Louis Prima “Bueno Sera” though I am more familiar with it from being the musical interlude by the Ray Ellington Quartet in the Goon Show episode “The Internal Mountain”. Next up was a Duke Ellington composition I am familiar with called “Big House Blues” which was rather good, next up was a vocal number called “There’s a Rainbow Around My Shoulder” with Matt Palmer offering his voice to the mix. This was followed by that Dixieland staple “South Rampart Street Parade” which served as a drum feature for Baby Jools, who it seems for this gig had stayed off the source or perhaps it was just early in the day. After the excitement of the drum feature Palmer calmed the audience down with a spiritual called “Let the Light of the Lighthouse Shine on Me” which I took as a cue to go and have a chat with Earnshaw before the mad rush to the loo of the interval.
This is the band in a previous incarnation at Jazz Club 90s former home the Harp. The number is Humphrey Lyttelton’s composition Bad Penny Blues and unusually the band foregoes the barrel house piano and has the rhythm played on banjo
The Second set kicked off with “Pennies from Heaven” and as usual the vocal refrain omitted the opening verse which was used so effectively by Steve Martin on the gallows in the film version of Dennis Potter’s Pennies from Heaven. This was followed by “You’re Driving Me Crazy” and a favourite of mine called the Hiwatha Rag which admittedly for way too long I thought was called High Water Rag. The music was interrupted here briefly for the calling of the raffle and the Football card, neither of which I won, but the band was soon back in full swing with that lovely melody “You Made Me Love You”. Now thanks to the TV series New Tricks I always giggle at this song due to an episode where Brian Lane forces Jack Halford into an impromptu take on the song for undercover purposes, so no doubt my fellow audience were giving me funny looks. We went back to an upbeat tempo with Panama Rag complete with hand waving at various intervals throughout the performance which is Jazz Club 90 standard. The final number was a foray into Morecambe and Wise territory with “Bring Me Sunshine” although a point deducted for a lack of short fat hairy legs. After the goodbyes there was an encore number which was the Jelly Roll Morton number “High Society” leaving everyone in good spirits.
So after my two visits to the new venue, I am still missing the homeliness and intimacy of the Harp, but we do have a better stage for the band.
More from the band in a previous incarnation