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10 November 2017

Post 566: NEW EP FROM THE MILK CRATE BANDITS

The Milk Crate Bandits (of Vancouver) have brought out a second EP. It is called 'The View From Out Here' and is a collection of traditional jazz standards, including, for example, Climax Rag, Four or Five Times, Bogalusa Strut and Struttin' With Some Barbecue.

The band again travelled to New Orleans to make the recordings in the Marigny Studios (formerly Luthjen's Dance Hall), which is becoming recognised as one of the best places for the recording of our music. (You will recall that The Shotgun Jazz Band has also been making recordings there.) It is very well equipped and has the perfect old-fashioned dance hall acoustics.

The band members for the recordings were: Kevin Louis, Connor Stewart, Jen Hodge, Sky Lambourne, Aaron Levinson and Jack Ray.

What you will find on this Album are very neat arrangements of the music and highly competent performances from all the musicians. I was particularly struck by the very relaxed nature of the playing - just the kind of style such musicians as Kid Rena, Alphonse Picou, Billie and De De Pierce, George Lewis, Emma Barrett, Sing Miller, Emanuel Sayles, Percy and Willie Humphrey, Lionel Ferbos and Narvin Kimball would have approved of. That's exactly how they believed New Orleans jazz should be played. You notice it even on such usually 'fast' numbers as 'Climax Rag'.

Other interesting features are vocals on 'Bogalusa Strut' and an original set of lyrics (sung by Kevin Louis) on 'Struttin' With Some Barbecue'.

If you would like more information or may wish to obtain the EP, try the band's website:
www.milkcratebandits.com

It was only a few months ago that I first noticed the arrival on the traditional jazz scene of this young band, which 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 (incidentally doing a good job on 'My Foolish Heart' on this latest set of recordings) and, as far as I can tell, he 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 also in October 2016 they went to New Orleans and recorded several tunes in the The Marigny Recording Studios, so you may want to hear the resulting EP called The NeighbourhoodThere 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.)