Enlightened Jazz: The Fallen Heroes at The Bull’s Head, Barnes

 

Fallen-Heroes3

On Sunday, 16th November I headed south of the river for a Fallen Heroes’ Gig at The Bull’s Head in Barnes. Overlooking the Thames, The Bull’s Head was one of the first jazz venues in London if not in the UK. Opened at the same time as Ronnie Scott’s it became known as the “suburban Ronnie Scott’s”.

Ben Martyn

Ben Martyn

Ian Beetlestone

Ian Beetlestone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enlightened and inclusive approach to jazz
The Fallen Heroes are led by Emile and Ben Martyn, sons of Barry Martyn, long since based in New Orleans. I have spoken to Emile about my aims for promoting younger bands, a subject on which he has strong views. In fact, listen closely to what what Ben and trombonist George Simmons have to say in introducing two of the YouTubes featured below. They get to the nitty gritty of the eclecticism adopted by these bands in their un-blinkered and inclusive approach to jazz. So essential if we are to break free of the lamentations of ageing fans about the decline of “trad” and the plight of ailing jazz clubs.

George Simmons

George Simmons

Tony Rico

Tony Rico

Malcolm Neat

Malcolm Neat

John Ruscoe

John Ruscoe

Six men and a piano

Six men and a piano

Tim Penn

Tim Penn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But we’ll have to wait a while for Emile’s views because he wasn’t with the band in Barnes. He was taking a working break in New Orleans and visiting his dad. I’ll catch up with him some time soon at The Blue Posts, Rupert Street, in London.

The Musicians
Appearing at The Bull’s Head on the 22nd were band members Ben Martyn, Vocals & Guitar;  John ‘Radio’ Ruscoe, Guitar; Ian Beetlestone, Piano’ and George Simmons, Trombone; along with, guesting, Malcolm Neat on drums and Tony Rico Richardson on saxophone. Plus special guest Tim Penn also on piano.

Enjoy the YouTubes, enjoy the music – and listen to what Ben and George have to say.

Peter M Butler
Editor & Proprietor Jazz&Jazz

Photos & YouTubes © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz

PS: I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I first saw The Fallen Heroes at “Jazz In The Barn”, Throwley, Kent, in 2008. I returned to Throwley for their 2009 and 2010 sessions. Back then I began painting jazz musicians (though I haven’t for a while due to time spent keeping Jazz&Jazz up to date). Emile, who is himself a fantastic artist, was happy for me to take reference shots to work from. So here are my Throwley works plus one of Barry Martyn playing his last gig at The 100 Club. I presented it to him in New Orleans. He wrote me a letter and urged me to “Keep doing what you are doing!”

2 emile_martyn

Emile Martyn

1 BarryMartynPortrait

Barry Martyn

 

 

 

Tony Rico, Paul Bonner (sadly no longer with us) and Ben Martyn.

Tony Rico, Paul Bonner (sadly no longer with us) and Ben Martyn.

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Comments

  1. Jim McIntosh says:

    One problem could be: that if every ten or so years we all have to ‘change our taste in Traditional jazz (our chosen music in the first place) to concur with the younger listener’, what sort of Traditional jazz will be listening to in 50 years time? Will it still be in any way connected to Traditional jazz? (Mind you, it PROBABLY won’t bother me.) I like bacon sandwiches as they are (medium to crispy back bacon, white crusty bread, butter and brown sauce), and have no plans to change them for what younger people may want me to scoff in the future…

    • John Petters says:

      Jim’s remark about changing our tastes to concur with the younger listener is a point well made. Traditional means what it says. If a music develops into something else it looses the tag traditional. That may or may not be a bad thing. I don’t think this band is holding itself out as a traditional jazz band.
      The band swings very well when it is trying to on those tunes payed in swing time. I can do without Bob Marley, Prof Longhair or Herbie Hancock personally. Good musicians!

  2. Ben Martyn says:

    Thanks for attending & for the article Peter. We never claim to be a traditional band at all but respect the traditIons of the music. I think we should all just play the music we love and be true to our own tastes. Surely we can’t aim to play and cater just for audience tastes weather young or old or there’ll be no integrity in what we do. We play a really wide variety of the music we love, much of which comes from New Orleans. Not all though. A lot from America, particularly the southern states and some from all over the world. We don’t try to play to any one age group or ear. Just play to people and those that like what we do will stay & hopefully come back for more. It’s a shame you didn’t include any of the original songs we do, of which we have many. Also, the Bob Marley song is called ‘Three Little Birds’.
    Thanks again for putting this out there though. In closing I agree with what Jim has said all except for one important point… I don’t have butter with my bacon sandwich.

    • Peter Butler says:

      Thanks for being supportive of Jazz&Jazz, Ben. You know my aims are to widen the scope of interest in jazz and to support bands like yours before the oldies (I’m one of them) cough it! That way we can ensure a big future for jazz. Older fans have simply got to accept the inevitable and “be happy” that jazz thrives – also accepting the “new agenda”. Really it’s just full cycle! And the term Traditional Jazz is questionable anyway. I’ve covered this on Jazz&Jazz.

      Irony is I included one of your original numbers written by Dom on my post for his Phoenix launch. Sometimes, when finding a position to film from with my “Magic Lens” I miss some numbers. The best way around this, as I get known more, is to plan numbers I should film and “get the wink” for them. But I do plan to get to the Blue Posts pretty soon so we could catch them there. Closer for me! The Bull’s Head was a long journey but I wanted to see the place and when better than when you were playing there.

      Busy, busy, busy as you bands these days!!!

      Oh, and I’ve corrected “Three Little Birds”! Idiot, but it was in the early hours!!!

      Cheers

      Peter

  3. Jim McIntosh says:

    What Ben and the boys did on the above tunes swings like the clappers, and I can certainly hear a lot of New Orleansy stuff in there. Great stuff. I know it dont need a banjo, but butter in a bacon sarny is a MUST!!

  4. Paul Goddard says:

    Not been to The Bull’s Head, Barnes since 1969 – nice to hear Jazz is still thriving there.
    I wish to comment on Jim McIntosh’s original post: I have heard people say that New Orleans Jazz requires a banjo, and needs a clarinet too; at at the start of the 1920s -probably- nearly all of their Jazz bands had those instruments. But Jazz is a LIVE thing. No doubt by the end of the 1920s some would have switched to a guitar and/or sax. Go back to the “Great British Trad Boom” of 50+ years ago and there was a vast array of ‘trad’ styles, some from New Orleans and others from further up-river or even New York. Can one select some as authentic ‘trad Jazz’ and declare others not?
    At the end of the evening when the ‘Frog Island Jazz Band’ appeared at the Olney Jazz Club, Alan (when thanking them) commented that they were “more authentic than the traditional bands currently in New Orleans”, to be corrected by the ‘Frog’ s trumpeter – who made the distinction that they were a re-creationalist band, whereas today’s New Orleans bands “had moved on”.
    There is no such thing as an ‘only’ style of Trad Jazz, and never has been. I love the ‘Frog’s, but I love the other very different styles just as much. AND I, for one, am looking forward to hearing some of the ‘new kids on the block’.

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