25 August 2017


On 3 March 2018, that generous video-maker James Sterling put up on YouTube a performance by Tuba Skinny of a tune called Some Kind'a ShakeThis tune, which - James informed us - was an 'original' by the band, had never been previously available on YouTube. You may watch it BY CLICKING HERE.

What you will witness is another astonishing composition and performance. Tuba Skinny must have been busy in recent weeks working up some slick arrangements. I guess they have rehearsed together quite a bit.

For what's it's worth, and in case you're interested, here's how I see this new piece.

Essentially it's a 16-bar (8 + 8) tune in the key of F; but it is played with so much variety and quite a few surprises.

After twice through the 16-bar Chorus, we find Shaye offering an obbligato on the third time. Then the fourth time through has a surprise rhythmic pattern (with silent beats) involving the whole band. Craig is the next to play his improvisation on the theme.

Then at 1 min 52 comes the highlight of the piece - an amazing 8-bar 'Bridge' section. You have Todd, Barnabus, Shaye and Craig over a period of four bars playing just one note each in turn through rising (?F7 and ?G7) arpeggios (the band did a similar thing in Blue Chime Stomp - you may remember). Then there's a two-bar banjo tremolo, and next a couple of bars from Todd to lead us back to the 16-bar Chorus (but - unusually - the key has not changed).
Max - a stalwart of Tuba Skinny.
Now we have one Chorus for the strings and one for Barnabus (playing the tune fairly straight) and one in which Todd leads while the whole front line plays very sweet choreographed supporting notes. Finally, there's a stomping ensemble Chorus, followed by a clever and well-rehearsed Coda - it uses the first two bars of that Bridge again! and then one additional bar to put the tune to bed.

Wow! When did you last hear any other band (especially in the U.K.) do anything like that - without printed music in front of them?

The only other band I can think of that does similar tricky things (i.e. while working without printed music) is The Smoking Time Jazz Club, also based in New Orleans.