Howard-Allen Dixielanders - Jazz on a Sunday
Reporter: Tony Sheldon
Date online: 04 April 2011
Bert Allen and Howard Murray have been presenting the Howard Allen Dixielanders for many years and they play the style of Trad Jazz as was so prolific at the turn of the 1960s.
Allen leads the band with intros and vocals and Murray directs the front line with his range of baritone, alto and tenor sax.
They also had to bring in two deputies from the subs bench, but with Frank Slater on trombone and powerful trumpeter Ian Royle, the blend was a strong as ever.
Straight in to the gig with “At The Jazz Band Ball” followed by a slower arrangement of “Tishamingo Blues” introducing Alf Kiernan on the piano. It was time for a couple of Allen vocals “Avalon” featured a Royle trumpet solo and “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home” had Murray’s sax driving the tune.
“Jazz Me Blues” found a nice instrumental togetherness, leading to a very different arrangement of Duke Ellington’s “Satin Doll”. Neat improvisations with sax together with muted trumpet and gentle trombone, Royle’s trumpet in duo with Pete Smith’s bass guitar and interlude for piano, guitar and Moe Green on drums.
Allen closed the set with his rendition of “Ain’t Misbehavin” to front line accompaniment.
Having lubricated his tonsils Allen set the show back in motion with Armstrong’s “Exactly Like You” with Kiernan’s piano to the fore.
A powerful front line attack with neat piano solo provided a great arrangement of “That Dada Strain” and another special arrangement of “Lady Be Good” led by Murray’s solo sax and Green’s integral drumming had the place buzzing.
Fatts Waller’s black and blue beautifully sung by Allen was musically driven by Royle’s trumpet and the sax of Murray.
Five minutes of Moe Green’s “Drumtasia” kept everyone alert and a front line blend gave way to a bass guitar solo from Smith in “That’s A Plenty”, and the set finished with Allen’s vocal of “Don’t Get Around Much Any More” with sax input, trumpet nuances and a smooth piano interlude.
Off on the last straight with Alex Welsh’s “Chinatown” Allen’s vocal driven along with Kiernan’s power piano. At last a chance for some dreamy solo trombone from Frank Slater with “Stardust”, before arriving back in China with powered trumpet, super sax and sliding trombone in “China Boy”.
A superb solo by Royle’s trumpet with Beidebecke’s “Davenport Blues” contrasted with Allen’s vocal of “Wrap You Troubles in Dreams” and the band played out with Allen leading “I Double Dare You” with all the musicians in full flow.
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