20 December 2015


I am re-publishing this recommendation in case there are still a few people who have not yet watched this great YouTube jazz video - in my view the best and most exciting, sizzling, energetic performance of New Orleans traditional jazz to appear on YouTube in the last thirty months.

It runs for over half an hour, with high-definition pictures and top-quality sound.

So switch off your TV and just settle to this marvellous little concert that will bring tears of joy to the eyes of any traditional jazz lover.

It's The Shotgun Jazz Band playing Climax Rag, Love Songs of the Nile, Oriental Man, I Can't Escape, Yearning and Mobile Stomp.

This is raw New Orleans jazz at its best. Leader Marla Dixon stamps her dynamic personality on everything. She is flanked by great players - James Evans (from Beaumaris, Wales) on reeds and Barnabus Jones on trombone. All three of them are on terrific form and their ensemble work is an example to us all. But this band also has a perfect rhythm section - Tyler Thompson on bass, John Dixon on banjo, and Justin Peake on drums. John has kindly let me know that Tyler's favourite string bass player is Slow Drag Pavageau and that John's own banjo hero was George Guesnon. John added that they were both 'solid 4/4 players'. He told me the 'genesis of The Shotgun was via the Happy Pals in Toronto which has become the incubator for some great musicians. Marla and Tyler both got the start there. The Happy Pals were directly influenced by the Kid Thomas band, so that 4/4 revival beat of Sammy Penn is also a large influence.'

That explains a lot. The Shotgun Band gives an extraordinary demonstration of just how New Orleans-style rhythm backing should be. Justin Peake is a drummer about whom I know virtually nothing. But it seems he was led to this style of music by the Dixons themselves. On the evidence of this Abita Springs performance I would rate him right up there with the best.

Enough of me. Get on to the video by clicking here.

Post Script

Reader Phil has sent me this email:

Hi Ivan,

I agree with you regarding the Shotgun Jazz Band's Opry
video. I can't remember being so blown away... in recent memory.
Everything was so perfect...an amazing band, an amazing crowd
that pushed the band to its peak and even that old southern
guy at the end (looked to be straight out of Hollywood central
casting), plus awesome video/sound work...just perfect!
"What a show, what a show".

I don't know how TS let James Evans get away! If there's a
better clarinet/sax combination around, I haven't heard it.