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GOLDEN EAGLE JAZZ BAND

Sail Along Silvery Moon

Practical Sounds GECD002

 

1. Isle of Capri

2. Gettysburg March

3. In the Sweet Bye and Bye

4. Maria Elena

5. Yes Sir, That’s My Baby

6. Sail Along Silvery Moon

7. The Cat’s Got Kittens

8. Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight?

9. Magic Is the Moonlight

10. Climax Rag

11. Somebody Else Is Taking My Place

12. Burgundy Street Blues

13. Careless Love

14. Laissez Les Bon[s] Temps Rouler

Richard Church – Cornet. Vocal (track 11)

Bernard Stutt – Clarinet

Roy Stokes – Trombone

Kevin Scott – Banjo, vocal (track 3, 7), leader

Chris Thompson – Bass

Malc Murphy – Drums, vocals (track 9, 14)

Recorded at Southend Jazz Club, EKCO Social and Sports Club, Southend-on-Sea, U.K., on

Sep. 10, 2018.

On this, their fourth, CD, the Golden Eagle Jazz Band demonstrate that they have not strayed from their founding tenet as stated on their on-line home page: “[to play] New Orleans jazz the way it was meant to be played, that is, with a powerful and melodic front line and a hard driving rhythm section.” Scott anchors the rhythm section with an unwavering hold on tempo, assisted by Thompson on bass and Murphy on drums, both of whom do not push the beat. This, along with the solid chording platform they provide, allows the front line maximum opportunity to improvise, to concentrate on what they are producing from their horns without having to also hold back a galloping rhythm section or, conversely, to speed up a dragging one. All too often that is a luxury not afforded when playing traditional jazz in some bands. The only problem—and it is a slight one—is the uncertainty of some of the endings, such as occurs in Sail Along Silvery Moon and The Cat’s Got Kittens. That can be, as it is here, a problem occasionally encountered where there is collective improvisation and the recording is of a live performance.

From the first one on, all tracks are eminently suitable for dancing. The band has a relaxed feel, resulting in fluid music that glides along smoothly, no unevenness or roughness. Even when there is a change in rhythm, such as on Gettysburg March where the time signature changes from 6/8 to 4/4, the transition is flawless, initiated by a fine drum break leading into the 4/4 rhythm. There is a nice mix of tempi and rhythms, from the slow foxtrot Magic Is the Moonlight to the habañera of Maria Elena to the Charleston ofYes Sir, That’s My Baby to the 3/4 waltz ofWhere Is My Wandering Boy Tonight? and to the ragtime of Climax Rag.

There is also much variety in the tune list, a good mixture of the familiar and the less well-known. Few bands play Sail Along Silvery Moon, The Cat’s Got Kittens, Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight? or Magic Is the Moonlight, to name some. Then there is the fine closer, Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler—an admirable admonition to all lovers of good traditional jazz.

Along the way there are some fine musical moments to be savored. The trumpet laying down a solid lead, the trombone playing counterpoint, and the clarinet weaving exquisitely around these other two front liners on Isle of Capri is one instance. Another is the plaintive trumpet lead, accompanied only by rhythm at the opening and first time through of Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight? Yet another is the interpretation of George Lewis’ great composition Burgundy Street Blues. Stutt does not try to copy Lewis, but he does capture much of the passion of Lewis’ version. These are just a few of the highlights.

Information on obtaining this CD can be had at http://gejb.webeden.co.uk/, the band’s website. It is another fine offering from one of the United Kingdom’s premier traditional jazz bands.

Bert Thompson


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