28 May 2017


I'm pleased to report the arrival on the traditional jazz scene of another new young band that you may wish to sample. It is called The Milk Crate Bandits and is based in Vancouver, BC. The band takes its name from the fact that it started out by busking in the streets, seated on purloined milk crates.
The founder and original busker was Jack Ray (from Australia). He sings and plays banjo  and, as far as I can tell, composes some of the tunes played by the band he has formed.

They claim on their website that they provide music to make you 'dance, smile and party'.

You can easily find examples of their work on YouTube.

But I must mention that in October 2016 they went to New Orleans and recorded several tunes in the former Luthjen's Dance Hall (now The Marigny Recording Studios), so if you want to hear them with a very good and clear acoustic you may care to obtain the resulting EP called The Neighbourhood that they have recently issued. For the purpose of those recordings, they were joined by the New Orleans-based trumpet player Kevin Louis.

There are seven tunes on the recording and, although (being 'originals') they may be unfamiliar to you, I am sure that any traditional jazz lover will find them comfortable and pleasant listening. This is because, in keeping with the bulk of our music, they follow the usual structures, such as 32 bar (A A B A), 16 bars and 12 bars and familiar chord progressions. You may even hear echoes of familiar tunes (for example The King of King Street had me thinking The Curse of an Aching Heart and then The Sheik of Araby before it went into a middle eight in which I heard echoes of Girl of My Dreams! Similarly, Marilu had me thinking Some Day, Sweetheart).

Clearly the musicians are very accomplished. And the tunes are brightly arranged, with well-planned introductions and endings. And there are some clever surprises, such as 'funky' rhythmic effects, tempo changes, and a first Chorus (in Southern Lover) played entirely by double bass and drums. (That one, I have to say, also had me thinking of an older tune - Them There Eyes.)

Should you wish to buy or download the music, go to the band's website, where I am sure the necessary information will be available: