16 April 2017

Post 497: JOY FROM 'THE LOOSE MARBLES'

The most important and influential traditional jazz band to emerge anywhere in the world in the Twenty-First Century has undoubtedly been The Loose Marbles. This band was given its name by its founder, Michael Magro, who grew up in Philadelphia. Its first performance was in Providence, Rhode Island, way back in September 2000.

I have explained in the past why this band is so important in the history of our music. To read my article, CLICK HERE.

The good news is that Michael is still leading the band and setting an example to us all. A 26-minute video of Loose Marbles in one its latest manifestations - as a six-piece - has recently appeared on YouTube; and I commend it to you.

There is nothing exhibitionist or pretentious in this music. Leading from the clarinet, Michael likes to play good, simply-structured, pretty tunes in a relaxed way, with the emphasis on melody and teamwork. He is often the first to state the melody, usually (as in Winin' Boy Blues) in a very interesting way. Michael's playing is reminiscent of his heroes George Lewis and Albert Burbank. And it is interesting to hear Marla playing one complete chorus with a double-section stonelined 'cleartone' mute. (I must remember to add one to my Christmas wish-list!) The three rhythm players are exemplary throughout, with their clockwork 4/4 support.

I hope you will enjoy this entertaining and sincere performance, filmed in Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, at The Louisiana Music Factory, which, in case you don't know, is a very large shop with a terrific stock of jazz recordings.