Malc Murphy’s New Orleans Jazz Bandits Target The Ellington Room…

The Walnut Tree, Blisworth

12 Noon til 2.30pm, Sunday, 10th March

New Orleans Jazz Bandits at The Bay Jazz Club

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The Duke and The Swamp Donkeys


Last weekend was truly eventful! I was down in deepest East Kent covering the Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle Jazz Festival but a good jazz friend had tipped me off that The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys were starring at The Duke Of Cumberland in Whitstable on Sunday afternoon during their UK “Brexit Hot Jazz Tour”.

So having contacted the Duke and The Swamp Donkeys I headed for Whitstable with my pal Peter Clifford to film them. My YouTubes tell it as it was – brilliant jazz, brilliant entertainment – and The Duke was packed with fans young and older.

I had packed the lens away to head back for Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle when The Swamp Donkeys launched into this version of “St James Infirmary”. Sensing it was going to be something special, I re-geared as quickly as possible! It’s “St James Infirmary” Swamp Donkey Style!


“A Swamp Donkey is a member of a New Orleans based traditional jazz band that plays old style jass from the 1900s – 1930s.”

“The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys are an extremely versatile group of young musicians who play traditional jass, blues, vaudeville, original music, modern jazz adaptations, and many other jazz and New Orleans-derived styles. They started in the authentic, New Orleans, grassroots music scene, playing local festivals and second lines, and transitioned into world-class music programs, festivals, and events, playing in concerts all over the globe. Their sound is enormously accessible with their frontman, the Louis Armstrong-sounding, soulful and sweet James Williams.”

Be sure to view their own movies on:

Peter M Butler
Editor & Proprietor Jazz&Jazz

(YouTubes © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz)

An Afterthought:

Back at Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle Pete Lay mentioned to me his Editorial in this July’s Issue of Jazz&Jazz. It’s very pertinent:

Where are the younger bands and where is the younger audience?

“Bringing in younger bands to jazz clubs and festivals doesn’t guarantee that young audiences will follow. And, not only that, it doesn’t guarantee that the regular club/festival goers are willing to push out their comfort zone to try something new.

“In today’s world, young people have a plethora of entertainment options at the tap of a screen, a veritable ‘supermarket’ of choice. And they employ ‘smart’ m marketing techniques through social media to reach a vast audience. They don’t seem to embrace the monthly or bi-monthly jazz club and festival circuit as we know it.

“How do we encourage the younger bands to come to clubs or festivals if he regular attendees are reticent to spend on something they think they might not like? Do we take a gamble? Do we come up with brilliant marketing schemes as well?

“Or do we continue on with the status quo, bemoaning the fact that audiences are dwindling and clubs are folding? I don’t know the answer. What I do know is that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, So perhaps it’s time to gamble, to push out of the comfort zone and try something new to achieve a new result.

“Anybody game? You tell me”

Pete Lay
Editor, Just Jazz

Pete, I wonder if our clubs and ageing fans would react as positively to The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys and other younger bands I have featured on Jazz&Jazz as did The Duke of Cumberland fans to The Swamp Donkeys. On a positive note, fans reacted very, very favourably when Hippocampus Jass Gang featured at The Bay Jazz Club, Enfield.

Cheers, Peter

PS We would welcome and value Readers’ comments!

Counterbalancing the Coronavirus Live Jazz Blackout: Jazz&Jazz YouTube No 16 “St James Infirmary”

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Recently I’ve been asking “Why Jazz&Jazz”? Why spend hours of my time producing Jazz&Jazz when there are a myriad other websites featuring Jazz? 

Please take time to read this post and then share your opinions in “Speak Your Mind”.

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High Praise from “Facebookers” for Jazz&Jazz

I published the following New Year message to members of my Facebook Jazzers Group just yesterday evening (9th January). It has already been widely acclaimed, demonstrating massive support for and appreciation
of Jazz & Jazz.


The Big Debate: (No Way) Is Jazz Facing “Doom & Gloom”?


Chicago Swing Katz, 2013: L/R Derek Harrison, Keyboard; Jeff Matthews, Clarinet; Bill Buck, Drums; Pete Ainge, Trumpet; Dave Margaroni, Double Bass; Andrew Mackenzie, Trombone; Barry Edwards, Guitar.

As recently as 15th May, Jeff Matthews, The Chicago Swing Katz, yet again broached the issue of the younger generation’s attitude towards jazz. Writing in Fred Burnett’s “Jazz North West” he commented:

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“Sixty-five Years Listening to Jazz” (Just Jazz Magazine)

“Sixty-five Years Listening to Jazz” by Ted Griffin caught my eye in the March edition of
Just Jazz. Well worth a read and here are a few extracts.

Ottilie Patterson

“… I might have missed out on some visitors from across the Pond, but there was always the consolation of going to The Royal Festival Hall to hear … Chris Barber with Ottilie Patterson. I was not the only one to be amazed  that this petite, attractive, willow of a girl could produce such a magnificent blues voice, a voice, what was more, that carried such a depth of feeling. Seeing her from the cheapest seats where I sat, it was as if it were just a child upon the stage … to my mind, nobody on this side of the Atlantic has ever equalled Ottilie for the real blues … Bessie Smith in a double reincarnation.

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“Jazz can be a popular music all over again.”

Vanity Fair Logo
As does Jazz&Jazz, 
Trevor Stent aims to promote our emerging young generation jazz bands and musicians, especially at Fest Jazz in Brittany. Sadly, when I visit Jazz Clubs in the UK I find that many ageing fans and even older musicians are totally unaware of these bands and musicians. Their lament is that Modern Jazz has stolen the scene. So when Trevor sent me this Vanity Fair article I simply had to share it on Jazz&Jazz.

So how about a couple of quotes:

“Modern jazz has grown increasingly into concert music, over the last 50 years especially, with musicians more or less looking like a string quartet—just sitting and playing, sometimes reading music from stands.”

“Modern jazz is often mainly about star soloists.”

Both are from the Vanity Fair article by Will Friedwald about the current revival of “New Orleans jazz, Dixieland and most recently, “trad” (short for “traditional”) jazz … ever since the swing era relegated to music’s margins”.

Until now!
In his article “How a Swath of 20-Somethings Have Tuned In to 1920s Pop” Will Friedwald reveals how “Gradually, over the past few years, more and more young jazz musicians – mainly in their 20s and even younger – have begun to play this music and, in the process, started again to refer to it by the name it was known by when it was new: “Hot Jazz” –  with “hot” bands, like King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band or Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers.”

Extracts from Will Friedman’s Article
“Hot Jazz is so prevalent now that New York has almost become like New Orleans in the fin de siècle period: in covering the city’s jazz scene for The Wall Street Journal, I find that I can go hear a 20s-style band, almost inevitably made up of musicians born well after 1980, playing somewhere in the city virtually every night of the week.”

Peter and Will Anderson

Peter and Will Anderson

“I enjoy playing all styles of jazz, because it is all rooted in the music of the 1920s – harmonically, rhythmically, and melodically… Twenties jazz has a clarity and beauty that anyone can identify with; it expresses the most bitter sadness and complete joy, simultaneously.” (Will Anderson, 26 year old reed player).”

“Within a few months of being formed in the Crescent City at the start of 2013, The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys Traditional “Jass” Band was already drawing crowds in New Orleans as well as in the New York area.”

“None of these bands has been on a top label, although some sell their own self-produced CDs. … To these groups, it’s much more important to be well represented on the social networks, to have a compelling Facebook presence, and to get noticed on YouTube.”

“Hot Jazz bands do everything they can to keep the audience engaged, making the music visually appealing.”

The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys

The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys

“Jon Ramm, the 27-year-old trombonist with the Swamp Donkeys says, “A lot of people write off this kind of jazz as antiquated, but the truth of the matter is it’s still pop music. Twenties music has those qualities … a connection with basic human emotion. All the music we play is basic, structure-wise, chord-change-wise. And it gives us an ability to reach all people.”

“As the names of these groups imply, this music is about the bands, many of whom have colourful and unforgettable appellations like the Hot Sardines (who featured on Later With Jools Holland earlier this year), the Swamp Donkeys, Baby Soda, the Grand Street Stompers, Emily Asher’s Garden Party, Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band, Jesse Carolina and the Hot Mess …whereas modern jazz is often mainly about star soloists.”

“These musicians … are working conspicuously to prove that jazz can be a popular music all over again.”

Featuring Our New Generation Jazz Bands
In an earlier Jazz&Jazz post entitled “Let’s Avoid the Generation Gap!” I feature a list of UK and overseas “new generation” jazz bands. It needs updating with bands I have covered since – and as and when I can seize upon opportunities to feature more of our young stars.

Meanwhile, Jazz Fans, however old you are, don’t miss out on opportunities to get to see these young stars. I know for sure that a good many “ageing” musicians relish opportunities to play gigs with them. 

Peter M Butler
Editor & Proprietor Jazz&Jazz