12 June 2015

Post 219: FROM JAPAN - THE NEW ORLEANS JAZZ HOUNDS

American friend and correspondent Richard Lund recommended that I should take a look at The New Orleans Jazz Hounds filmed at the Asakusa Hub, Tokyo, Japan, playing the great old Sam Morgan number Bogalusa Strut. The result was a delight:


The video had been put up by a generous video-maker codenamed ragtimecave.

Give it a try. This is traditional jazz as it should be played, in the opinion of many, including myself. It is relaxed, melodious and unpretentious. Ensemble playing is of a high class, with the obviously happy musicians responding well to each other. There are one or two microphones around (really for vocals) but essentially the band plays acoustically and fairly quietly. There is no overblowing or exhibitionism. Every instrument can be clearly heard. We are allowed to enjoy the instruments of the back line (notably the very impressive young lad on banjo) just as much as those of the front.

The musical arrangement (including such devices as 'taking fours') is not complex but it avoids the tedious series of uninspiring clarinet-trumpet-trombone solos which many bands consider to be essential. Watch the video by clicking here.

One thing leads to another. I discovered there are plenty more videos of this band on YouTube - nearly all of them familiar traditional jazz numbers given the same refreshing treatment.

You may think it's easy to form a band like this one: it all looks so simple. But believe me it is not. All members need to have the same philosophy and approach to teamwork and presentation. It's a rare achievement to assemble seven musicians like The New Orleans Jazz Hounds and produce traditonal jazz of that quality.