13 March 2013


In March 2016, correspondents Bill Stock in England and Dave Menashe in California alerted me to a short new video. They thought I would like it. They were so right!

It's The Shotgun Jazz Band playing Whenever You're Lonesome, filmed in the New Orleans Radio Station WWOZ studio on the morning of Tuesday 8 March 2016. You can watch it by clicking here.

To my mind, this is as near perfect as traditional jazz gets. The performance is relaxed; it makes everything sound simple (which of course it is not). It is tasteful and relatively quiet: we can hear all the instruments very clearly. In the third of the four choruses, Marla sings the vocal with passion.

For the occasion, the band was without a trombone or drummer, but they had Ben Polcer on piano. Marla states the melody with minimal fuss on the trumpet, and James Evans on clarinet provides lovely decoration. John Dixon and Twerk Thompson are - as ever - absolutely solid 4-to-the-bar. Ben and James take half each of a sweet solo chorus. Marla's playing in the final chorus is a model of how to do it. (You can study her fingering - and use of the bowler mute - in close-up.) And, interestingly, she sings out just the penultimate 8 bars - something unusual and effective that perhaps the rest of us should think about doing.

As a little bonus, the performance ends with a moment of comedy from Ben.
Whenever you're lonesome,
just telephone me.
For those who like to know such things, I believe the song was composed in about 1922 by Pete Wendling and Max Kortlander. The Shotgun Band plays it in the key of C. The song's pleasant effect depends very much on its use of The Georgia Chord Progression (about which I have written HERE - CLICK ON TO READ).
But enough from me. Enjoy the video for yourself.
P.S. Chris in Sheffield has sent me this:
Hi Ivan, I couldn't agree more about your comments. It is a really great performance. Chris