Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

10

Live From Birmingham: The Pedigree Jazz Band, Tony Bennett, The Fat Chops Big Band

Martin Longley By

Sign in to view read count
The Pedigree Jazz Band
Solihull British Legion
September 7, 2014

It's a curious sensation when tributes are paid to revivals of revivals. Down the decades since the original jazz repertoire was established in the 1920s, '30s, and even earlier, there have been a multitude of responses, counter-responses, exhumations and celebrations. The Pedigree Jazz Band is currently presenting A Tribute to Trad Jazz, a show that's culled from their two albums of the same name. They gaze back fondly to the British traditional jazz revival of the 1950s, with hoary old New Orleans and Dixieland numbers being refracted through the interpretative lenses of Ken Colyer, Chris Barber, Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball. Half of these four artists have never been notably hip, but have nevertheless contributed some spiritedly populist hit singles to the charts of yore. Now, the Pedigree chums are playing these old classics in a manner that's influenced by their 1950s and early '60s UK incarnations. It's a surprisingly refreshing exercise, as many of the chosen ditties aren't often played by the majority of trad combos, with these Pedigree versions benefiting from the regular rehearsals and frequent gigging of this project.

The Solihull British Legion hosts these regular Sunday lunchtime gigs, and this time it was a balmy Indian Summer kind of day, with a bowling game in progress outside on the lawn. The Pedigree-ers had jaunted up from Devon, garbed in matching striped suits, their useful historical anecdotes displayed on their tablets, with half of the band also bringing their own electric fans. This is an organized group! The co-leaders are clarinetist Chris Walker and trombonist Roger Marks, with the other front-liner being trumpeter Graham Trevarton. The remaining members are Ken Ames (banjo/guitar), Tony Mann (bass) and Colin Larn (drums). Marks is well-known for his Armada Jazz Band, whilst Walker has played with the London City Stompers and Colin Kingwell, as well as leading his own Swingtet for 30 years. Ames began his career playing bass for Ken Colyer.

Preferring three shorter sets rather than the usual two, the sextet managed to entice more than the usual number of dancers onto the floor. Opening with "Bourbon Street Parade," they soon scampered into "Chimes Blues," a lesser-heard King Oliver gem. A Kenny Ball-ed "Green Leaves of Summer" was chased by a Barber-oid "Petite Fleur," with the band trimmed down to a quartet, Walker spotlit for this sensitive clarinet showcase. He'd just brandished his own white mouthpiece, as popularized by Monty Sunshine, back in the day. Still in his pocket after all these years, like a trad talisman! "All The Girls" featured a flighty trombone solo, and some striking rim-cracks on the drums, then the animal noises of "Livery Stable Blues" might have represented the very roots of free jazz. Again, this last tune is rarely heard in the touring trad repertoire.

Ames stepped up to the vocal microphone for Louis Prima's "Buona Sera," switching from banjo to guitar. Then "Dark Eyes" was given a very unusual treatment as a banjo and 'bone duet. Trevarton used an actual bugle on "Bugle Boy March," which made a torrid closer for the second set. Walker sat out on "Black Cat On A Fence," and Trevarton took the vocal on "Goin' Home," which was also peppered with an Ames banjo solo. Just prior to playing "Stranger On The Shore," Walker revealed that, sadly, Acker Bilk is very ill, and definitely won't be treading the boards again. The third set was climaxed with "Midnight In Moscow," a jolly ethnic forgery of a number, from the Kenny Ball repertoire. This show sped past with great humor and panache, the band providing some very amusing background notes in-between tunes, zipping from solo to solo in a set of spry arrangements of these good ol' good 'uns from the dark past of six decades ago.

Tony Bennett
Symphony Hall
September 11, 2014

Near the end of a 90 minute-plus set, Tony Bennett declared his love for Symphony Hall, describing it as the best concert hall in the world. Does he say this to all of the venues he visits? Surely not. The New York singer has expressed this sentiment on previous visits to Birmingham, and he usually says what he means. Now a grand old 88, Bennett appears in remarkable shape, both vocally and physically.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Live Reviews
Album Reviews
The Vinyl Post
Live Reviews
Building a Jazz Library
Mix Tape
Live Reviews
New York Beat
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Film Reviews
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Extended Analysis
Read more articles

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
May23Thu
Tony Bennett
Fox Theatre Detroit
Detroit, MI
May25Sat
Tony Bennett
Peoria Civic Center
Peoria, IL
Jun21Fri
Tony Bennett
Ravinia Festival
Highland Park, IL
Jun21Fri
Antonia Bennett, Tony Bennett
Ravinia
Highland Park, IL
Jun28Fri
Tony Bennett
Royal Albert Hall
London, UK
Jun29Sat
Tony Bennett
Royal Albert Hall
London, UK
Jul10Wed
Tony Bennett
Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles, CA

Related Articles

Live Reviews
Charlotte Jazz Festival 2019
By Mark Sullivan
May 16, 2019
Live Reviews
Nubya Garcia at Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival 2019
By Ian Patterson
May 16, 2019
Live Reviews
Electronic Explorations in Afro-Cuban and UK Jazz
By Chris May
May 15, 2019
Live Reviews
Charlotte Jazz Festival 2019
By Perry Tannenbaum
May 13, 2019
Live Reviews
Savannah Music Festival 2019
By Martin Longley
May 12, 2019
Live Reviews
Eyolf Dale at April Jazz
By Anthony Shaw
May 10, 2019
Live Reviews
Imogen Heap with guy Sigsworth at Lincoln Theatre
By Geno Thackara
May 10, 2019