9 May 2013


I discovered at the end of 2014 that the band Tuba Skinny had Jelly Roll Morton's Grandpa's Spells (1923) in its repertoire.

They played it when visiting Italy. Their interpretation (in the key of C, going into F for the Trio) is vigorous and enterprising, working as much round the chords as on the melody and making a great use of breaks: Morton himself would have been very impressed! I guess Shaye must have played a big part in the arrangement. One of the delights of this video is the absorbed expressions on the faces of the children watching the band (see above).

You can enjoy the performance superbly filmed by Salar Golestanian by clicking on here.

By the way, one of my American readers has emailed to say 'This video shows why they are the best band in the world!'

You can watch Tuba Skinny in New Orleans playing Grandpa's Spells over a year later by clicking here. In this video, filmed by James Sterling, only four of the musicians from the original eight in the Italian video appear again. We have different players on clarinet and trombone, and the addition of Max Bien-Kahn on guitar; and Robin switches to full percussion. And there's a banjo Coda!