Frog Island – Jazz on a Sunday
Reporter: Tony Sheldon
Date online: 28 March 2012
If the weather was hot in March, it was matched by the music and a visit from the masters of original New Orleans arrangements Essex’s Frog Island jazz band drew the fans for this rare visit North.
With Rob Fullalove leading on tuba, driving the rhythm of the gentle strains, the Frog Island band love to entertain. Never time driven, they encompass the origins of jazz and their enthusiasm for the music transcends every corner of the room.
A first set of ten numbers included favourites “Dippermouth Blues”, “Climax Rag” and “High Society”, but it was the rarely played numbers which held the attention.
Johnny Dodd’s “Room Rent Blues” with Jim Hurd’s clarinet, “Sweet Emmelina” sung by Fullalove, accompanied by Keith Durston’s piano, “Had Dog” with front line attack and Jelly Roll Morton’s voodoo number “Boog-a-boo” with John Whitehead’s muted trumpet and John Jeane’s trombone.
Beginning set two with “Bouncing Around” and Fullalove’s vocal on “Mandy, Make up your Mind” had Durston’s integral piano in play behind.
Bechet’s “Egyptian Fantasy” provided a vehicle for Hurd’s clarinet, whilst the soft blended sounds on “Mabel’s Dream” were pure perfection.
“Buddy’s Habit” upped the tempo with stomping piano and the spiritual “Aint Goin’ to tell Nobody” had all the band gospelling in tandem into the break.
A final set of melodic magic in which the band requested overtime so that requests could be fitted into their planned programme meant a thirty minute bonus for the devotees.
The final set included clarinet led “Wild Cat Blues”, Fullalove’s vocal et al on “Papa Di da Da” the powerful attack on Dodds’ “Come on and Stomp, Stomp, Stomp”, “Forty and Tight”, featuring Dave Price’s banjo and Chris Marchant’s integral stick drumming and all going hell for leather on “Kansas City Stomp” and to close what else but “Frogmore Rag”! Superb.
25 March 2012
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