Sunday 19th June marked an unexpected opportunity to visit Jazz Club 90, after scanning the schedule I saw that the band for the day were New Orleans Heat whom I have seen many times over the years and are a very competent band and fairly good. They may be exceptional but they are worth a visit now and again. The lunch time gig coincided with the Cosford Air Show and the plan was to head off a little early to avoid traffic and go up to Albrighton via one of the backroads, but the best laid plans… Anyway I ended up setting off a bit later and despite the air show the traffic was fine and I made it just in the middle of the first number which was tune called “I Want A Girl Just Like the One Who Married Dear Old Dad” a number which was a minor success for Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen, even if the title does kind of have an Aphrodite/ Freudian vibe in regards to the man’s carnal attractions. The following number again was a Dixieland number which was revived in the UK’s Trad movement by the Storyville Jazzband lead by the late trumpeter Bob Wallis, this was an modest success for Bob Wallis no doubt because he didn’t sing on it. The number in question, “Moose March”, caused a small level of amusement in the band as in a previous gig elsewhere they had introduced the number and then went on to play the 1919 rag… to which they claimed no one noticed. Vocals were a feature of the next two numbers which were an upbeat train based blues called the “2.17 Blues” and a boogie woogie about the number of times you needs to need to have a pee after an evening on the beer once you break your seal on the walk home: “Four of Five Times”. The tempo was slowed down for a ballad I am unfamiliar with called “I Still Fall in Love with You” and this was followed by the Jazz Club 90 favourite “Panama” (or “Panama Rag” depending on which record sleeve you read) with the usual bout of arming waving on the syncopated beats after every four bars. The first set closed off with a slower blues called the Long Distance Blues, a number which could easily sum up my romantic inclinations and some of my dearest friendships, and a venture into Classical territory with a very famous Brahams composition. You know the one which is used for ‘comic effect’ in countless Loony Toons cartoons whenever they are trying to force a character to go to sleep, “The Cradle Song”. Done as one would expect it to be done- as barrelhouse piano piece a la Humph’s “Bad Penny Blues”.
To cover the interval in which I went to the bar, bought raffle tickets etc here is some vintage New Orleans Heat from 2008 at the Harp. They are playing a Tommy Dorsey hit called “Marie”, no doubt requested by the organiser as his wife is called “Marie”.
The second set opened with a spiritual number I missed the name of as I was catching up with Bev and some of the old gang from the Harp and as a result I missed the announcement of the next number, not that I need of worried it was a very familiar piece which has a riff used in at least three numbers to my knowledge, on this occasion it was “Maryland, My Maryland” as opposed to “the Red Flag” or “O Tannebum”. The next two numbers were again well known numbers the first was a Sidney Bechet composition which was a big hit for Clarinet player Monty Sunshine in the 1950s when he was with the Chris Barber band, the number of course was “Petite Fleur” and the follow up number, “Mona Lisa” has had success in both ballad form for Nat ‘King’ Cole and as an upbeat jump jive piece for Louis Prima,
We went back to the early days of Jazz and the hard times of early 20th century for “Buddy Bolden’s Blues” which was a tune that Jelly Roll Morton acquired and passed as his own though it was based on a traditional New Orleans piece called “Funky Butt” which was a reference to the rather distinctive aroma from- well Morton was a pianist in a brothel at the age of 12. The problem with doing a song like “Buddy Bolden’s Blues” out of historical context is that the lyrics refer to people who were in their 30s in 1910s so having references to hearing things Frankie Dosun and Judge Pompadour have said is simply daft, not to mention the rather unsavoury things are mentioning, Moryon implying Dosun as a pimp. The next was a Louis Armstrong piece which was the “Dippermouth Blues” which was named after one of Armstrong’s many nicknames based on the size of his mouth.
The gig closed with a crowd raising rendition of “Goodnight Irene” which is a funeral piece inmuch the same way as”Didn’t He Ramble”, so a more upbeat celebration of a life rather then sadness at it being over.
Overall an enjoyable, if not exceptional, gig and a good way to spend a Sunday Lunch time.