14 October 2015


About 10,000 miles from where I'm sitting here in England, Tuba Skinny went a couple of years ago on tour in Australia; and I'm pleased I received a report from someone who was lucky enough to attend one of their concerts in Sydney.

He said they had a capacity audience of 460 people. That is really heartening. (I wish we could attract such audiences for traditional jazz here in England!)

My correspondent said Tuba Skinny comprised eight musicians on this occasion, including both tenor banjo and plectrum banjo (Ryan and Westen - two of the best in the business). As a kind of hors d'oeuvre to the performance, Shaye Cohn played half a dozen rags on the piano.

He said: 'the band played marvellously and my wife and I both enjoyed every moment. They all played so well. It reminded me of early Kid Ory and George Lewis.'  High praise indeed from someone who told me he is not normally very keen on New Orleans jazz.

I'm not surprised that Tuba Skinny have enjoyed going back to Australia, with such a reception. And I envy my correspondent the privilege of seeing and hearing them.

And I note from an Australian YouTube video that they continued to expand into more virtuoso, challenging music - Jabbo Smith's Jazz Battle. Wow! Have a listen by clicking on: