The BackYard Boys

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Monday 11 April 2016 A fun night was had by all with entertainment provided by The BackYard Boys last night. Familiar faces from some of the other regular bands joined together especially for us with Colin Kingwell and Tony Karavis co-leading. They play with the Colin Kingwell Jazz Band, The Poorboys and Excel Jazzmen amongst many other bands.

Colin Kingwell – Trombone
Pete Brooks – Bass
Tim Wake – Banjo
John Lawes – Clarinet
Pete Littleproud – Drums
Tony Kevaris – Trumpet

John Habes kindly provides this week’s write-up:
A very varied and entertaining repertoire kicked off with the Louis Armstrong stomper Ain’t Gonna Give You None of my Jelly Roll. This was followed by the lovely sentimental ballad All I do is Dream of You, best remembered (in Britain) for Ray Noble’s 1934 version sung by heart throb crooner Al Bowlly. The pace was then upped again with another Armstrong classic “Big Butter And Egg Man”. Then Nick LaRocca and Larry Shields At The Jazz Band Ball from 1918, which was one of the tunes that the Original Dixieland Jazzband recorded in London on their historic visit in 1919. A slightly less familiar tune than their Tiger Rag but just as joyous!

The next section contained some unexpected songs as it moved us into the early Swing Era … First was I Get The Blues When it Rains. Annette Fanshaw’s 1929 jazz version of the song was the original, and it was later recorded both as a blues by Big Bill Broonzy and as a Country ballad by Jim Reeves. Here the band delivered a delightful swinging trad arrangement of their own. Harry Reser’s song Highways are Happy Ways was given a similar but up tempo treatment, and then the Guy Lombardo Orchestra’s foxtrot Coquette from 1928 provided a great swing platform for some excellent solos.

The familiar Isle of Capri finished the first half, though a “Trad” staple, it dates back to 1934. Again in Britain Al Bowlly (with Ray Noble) and Gracie Fields sang classic versions and Nat Gonella played a memorable trumpet on the Lew Stone version. However here we heard a spirited instrumental version reminiscent of the famous Ken Colyer version to provide a smile and a foot tapping end to the set.

The second band set started off on a jaunty note with the song Louis Armstrong recorded in 1947 twice – alone and with Billie Holliday, the classic Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans? and then they moved into an earlier New Orleans jazz period for most of the remaining numbers.

At a Georgia Camp Meeting or Georgia Cakewalk was originally a ragtime piano piece dating back to 1897 and became a standard dance tune. Blues singer Ma Rainey recorded it as an “All dance craze” single in 1928 on the B side of her big hit Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Chris Barber (with his dual New Orleans and Blues passions) made it into a great trad standard in the 1950’s.

Maintaining the early jazz theme there followed a beautiful interpretation of Bix Beiderbecke’s Davenport Blues on just cornet and rhythm section featuring a superb extended cornet solo and a brief but very accomplished cameo on banjo.

Going back into full ensemble trad mode for just one song, the band moved onto the King Oliver Creole Band’s tune Mabel’s Dream and then it was the turn of the Clarinet to provide a brilliant solo with the rhythm section on George Lewis’s Burgundy Street Blues.

The evening was finished off with some vintage New Orleans tunes. First another King Oliver Creole Band instrumental Buddy’s Heat from 1923, then the Paul Whiteman 1924 comedy song “Yes Yes in Your Eyes” revived by Bunk Johnson in 1949 and a Ken Colyer favourite right back to the Crane River Jazzband days. The band “stretched out” with some fine solos and ensemble playing and it looked as if they were enjoying it as much as we were!

The finale was a Ken Colyer Composition from 1954. It was the B side of Isle of Capri on the KC Jazz Band’s first single record, the lilting blues Going Home (to New Orleans).

A fitting end to a great evening, we hope to see this terrific band again at Griffin Park Jazz Club. Thanks to the band and Bryan Clark (as always) for organising the event.

John’s band Crawdaddy will be playing on Sat 23rd April at the Riverside Staines and Friday 29th they are back at the Six Bells in Brentford.

Next month join us (and some of tonight’s musicians again!) with a welcome back to the Excel Jazzmen with their own selection of vintage New Orleans jazz and blues.

Please come along on the second Monday of every month for great jazz with friendly people at the Griffin Park Jazz Club.

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