Welcome, Visitor Number

25 April 2017


On Sunday 23 April 2017 the annual Buskers Festival was held at Abita Springs, on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain. For those of you who don't know the area, it's about 45 miles north of New Orleans.

Six fine bands played for an hour each between midday and early evening. They included some of our favourites, such as The Hokum High Rollers, The Gentilly Stompers, the all-ladies Shake 'Em Up Jazz Band and Tuba Skinny

It was a glorious event; and the great news is that the New Orleans radio station WW0Z made excellent videos of the entire proceedings. 

Many of you have told me you have become big fans of the Shake 'Em Up Jazz Band. They gave a lovely performance in which, as usual, the ladies played some outstanding traditional jazz, while making it all look so relaxed and simple, which of course it isn't. Chloe by the way plays a Buffet E11 clarinet with a Vandoren M13 Lyre mouthpiece. The fluidity of some of her improvisations was mind-boggling; but the playing from the entire band was outstanding. And Molly was a power-house on guitar and also contributed vocals on Sweet Substitute and My Silent Love.

The programme included those old favourites The Onions (though surprisingly the audience did not seem aware that they were required to shout 'Onions' in all the breaks!) and Eh La Bas, with Marla singing the original creole patois. Dizzy's playing was spot-on as usual; and she was featured on Washboard Wiggles.

And Haruka was on her usual fine form.

Other highlights were Savoy Blues, Shake It and Break It and When You Wore a Tulip – one of several vocals delivered by Chloe.

It was so good to be able to watch Julie in close-up and admire what a fine string bass player she has become. She told me in 2016 (the only occasion when I have had the privilege of speaking with her) that she had not been playing the instrument for many months.

Yet now Julie is one of the best bass players on the New Orleans scene, accurate, rock-solid - a driving force.

I imagine this band rarely has the chance to get together to discuss repertoire and rehearse, so the slickness and teamwork are all the more impressive.

But enough from me. Watch the video for yourself. Go to:

There you will see (on the right of the page) that the entire Festival has been divided into four videos. To find Shake 'Em Up, click on the second from the top - the one that runs for 2 hours and 8 minutes. Slide the time bar to about 1 hour 9 minutes for the start of their performance.

Elsewhere in the four videos, you will be able to listen to all the other bands at the Festival, including Tuba Skinny playing such tunes as Pearl River Stomp, Cold Morning Shout, Bellamina, Fireworks, Kansas City Stomps and (for the first time on video?) Come On and Stomp Stomp Stomp.

The book Enjoying Traditional Jazz by Pops Coffee is available from Amazon.