3 December 2015


I have written before about the best traditional jazz video of 2014 - The Shotgun Jazz Band playing at the Abita Springs Opry. If you have not read the article, you can do so by clicking here.

The great news is that the Shotgun Jazz Band played there again in 2015, and the video of this more recent performance is now available. Both the sound and picture recording are of a high professional standard and the whole video is a joy. To my mind, this is traditional jazz at its very best.

This year, the band was without its drummer Justin (away at college, I think) but with Tyler Thomson on string bass and John Dixon on banjo, you have an impeccable and powerful rhythm team - providing an absolutely perfect base over which the trumpet, reeds and trombone can conjure their intricate and magical harmonies. This year, Charlie Halloran is on trombone. (In 2014, the trombonist was Barnabus.) Charlie is, of course, one of the very best and hardest-working musicians on the New Orleans scene.

So we see the five musicians playing their way through You Broke Your Promise, Tears, She'll Have To Go, Lord, Lord, Lord, Love Songs of the Nile, You Always Hurt the One You Love and I Love You So Much It Hurts.

It is a video I shall watch time and again. I hope it will give you as much pleasure as it gives me.

The ebullient and dynamic Marla Dixon - as ever - is totally committed in her singing and in her trumpet playing. And note the beautiful interplay between the instruments: these musicians listen so well and perfectly complement each other's playing. There are moments of great beauty, such as the few bars of solo clarinet by James Evans that begin at 12 minutes 31 seconds. Note also the exquisite, tasteful collective improvising, for example at 23 minutes 50 seconds. There are storming choruses in the up-tempo tunes, such as the one Marla drives along in her own distinctive way (cleverly using the derby mute) at 17 minutes 49 seconds and again at 20 minutes 25 seconds.

NOW! Sit back and enjoy this wonderful music: