Having lived in Inverness, Scotland, for now on 9 months, this is the first Traditional Jazz concert that I’ve had the pleasure of attending - as there has been none here in this city - prior during that period.
The photo on the left features clarinettist Tomas Őinberg, leader of the Swedish Jazz Kings playing a tribute to clarinettist Kenny Davern, who was born in Huntington, Long Island, New York on the 7th of January 1935 and, died recently on the 12th of December 2006 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Having left the Moray Firth shore-line over ten decades ago, I did read, I’m sure that the Pasadena Roof Orchestra was once booked to play years back at the Eden Court Theatre, which is due to re-open at the end of this year 2007, after having a couple of years developments done to it.
However, I have had the pleasure of listening to the Ness River Rhythm Kings who have been the resident band at the Glen Mhor Hotel, situated along-side the East side of the River Ness at Ness Walk, Inverness, for the past 30 years and, they are still playing there every Tuesday evening.
Among other known places, I do know that Göteborg is famous for both New Orleans and Traditional jazz in Sweden, but I don’t know in which place that the Swedish Jazz Kings have their residency.
It was a surprisingly warm evening for their concert (see date above) in Inverness, and as their homeland stretches up into Lapland, had, it been as cold like it was here of late, I doubt that it would have affected them, even if the streets in this city had been snow fallen, like it was out in Tomintoul a few miles away from where came jazz fans and, beyond to the snow topped ski-ing carns mountains.
It was a full house at the Town Hall (see bottom photo) with latecomers without tickets having to be excluded. High praise indeed for the sound engineers, for all five instruments gave out excellent quality listening. The early 19th century building artificers can take a great deal of credit for the acoustics, which gave the spoken word scope needed to be heard before the days of any broadcast transmitters or microphones were in vogue.
A most exciting feature of the Inverness, Town Hall Swedish Jazz Kings concert was the short-time succession time-space given without delays in announcing a potted-history of the songs by trumpeter Persson that the group had lined-up for their enthusiastic full-house audience.
The tunes that impressed me in the first set of two in total of about an hundred and fifty minutes were; Potato Head Blues a Louis Armstrong speciality recorded in Chicago in 1927 on the 10th of May with his Hot Seven group.
It was in Chicago 1926 when Jimmie Noone took a two years residency at the Apex Club in East 35th Street when among a handful of other tunes Apex Blues set a new standard for post New Orleans ensemble playing. It was here in the Town Hall that the Jazz Kings gave an excellent variety of texture and timbre with sonorous front-line sound clarity, ringing through the hall revealing that rehearsed arrangements are not incompatible with majestic improvised traditional jazz music.
Grandpa Spells by Jelly Roll Morton, probably a Victor recording of 1926 strongly resembling ragtime but elaborating improvised variations that were played with his Red Hot Peppers – The Pearls come to mind as an example.
Charleston Rag by piano man, Martin Litton seen in adjacent photograph to the left giving his introductory talk on the subject. This rag was first written in 1899 by Eubie Blake called Sounds of Africa when he was aged 15 and then went on to live to become 100 years old. The tune became popular with jazzmen in general and, it is likely to remain so for a very long time to come with top grade jazz pianists as was heard play here by Martin of the Swedish Jazz Kings this evening.
Not overlooking Shake It And Break It It, being the opening song setting the scene.
With warmed-up instruments the second-set really went to town with two of the seven numbers lasting over, yes, seven minutes each, one was the Blues dedicated to Kenny, the other Everybody Loves My Baby to Eva Taylor the latest wife of Clarence Williams. Among other tunes most inspiring were the following three - Wild Man Blues recorded on the 7th of May 1927 by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Seven in Chicago with Pete Briggs on tuba and Baby Dodds on drums added to his Hot Five that played Oriental Strut in 1926 whilst in the same town – Chicago. The other was the Nick La Rocca Tiger Rag played by Keith Stephen on banjo, which will go down as one of the greatest renditions of the number ever heard on his instrument, accompanied by Bo Juhlin playing melody on sousaphone.
The encore number after an upstanding applause from the audience Mississippi Blues was recorded only by the Novelty Blue Boys in July 1927 in New York, but of the several Mississippi Mud versions, one of them is by the Frankie Trumbauer Orchestra with singer Bing Crosby, also, there is one by Paul Whiteman another popular 20s jazz track.
It was whilst in the Hells Kitchen district of New York playing solo piano that James P Johnson developed his famous rhythmically driving short dancing pieces that came the perfecting of the Stride Piano style of playing - taking in the ragtime of Scott Joplin, the likes of Carolina Shout were among his best loved creations. The sousaphone sound made here in the Inverness Town Hall by Bo Juhlin playing the Old Fashioned Love melody prominently, powerfully enough, as if to remind his four other jazz artist colleagues on Baby It’s Cold Outside to get in line, such was it that the ensemble melody of the tune lengthened to a great extension of perfection and beauty on this OFL - James P's piano masterpiece.
An excellent concert staged by the Swedish Jazz Kings in Inverness.
Inverness Classic-Jazz Festival