Tuba Fats, Tuba Skinny and now TUBA SWINGY!


Alan Bates (vocals,rhythm guitar), Neil Kane (snare), Hannah Bales (vocals, saddle drum) Tim Moore (tuba), Steve Cant (trumpet), Pauline Gifford (saxophone), Barry Langston (trombone)

Alan Bates (vocals, rhythm guitar), Neil Kane (snare), Hannah Bales (vocals, saddle drum), Tim Moore (tuba), Steve Cant (trumpet), Pauline Goffin (saxophone), Barry Langston (trombone)

“Myself, our snare drum man and our singer and bass drum lady took ourselfs off to NOLA last April for the French Quarter Festival. Tuba Skinny and Smokin’ Hot Jazz knew us already. One of our friends had taken our CD to Shaye Cohn the year before. ‘So’, said Erica. ‘You’re the guy’ and Shaye smiled at me and said ‘the music is everybodies, lets keep on sharing’… I still haven’t recovered!”

With these words, Alan Bates introduced himself to me and to Jazz&Jazz. And with credentials such as these I simply couldn’t resist featuring the UK’s very own “Tuba Clone” for Jazz&Jazz followers!

So Jazz Fans everywhere, let me introduce the UK’s  “Tuba Swingy”! And what better way than one of their Tuba Skinny style YouTubes.

Hannah and Erica on the haloed streets of NO

Hannah and Erica on the hallowed streets of NO

Allan and Robin Rapuzzi - jazz buddies!

Robin Rapuzzi and Neil Kane – jazz buddies!








Alan with Shay. OK, Alan, are Tuba Swingy street wise.

Alan with Shaye. OK, Alan, are Tuba Swingy street wise?

Tuba Swingy UK Street Style:

For more of their YouTubes just search for Tuba Swingy on YouTube

More about Tuba Swingy and their New Orleans Adventures

Members of a Suffolk-based band have made a pilgrimage to New Orleans to meet musicians who inspired their style of jazz – and their band’s name.

The popular Tuba Swingy band from Lowestoft was formed nearly three years ago after leader Alan Bates saw YouTube videos of American counterparts Tuba Skinny. And just like the busking Louisiana band has found fame in New Orleans and around the world, Tuba Swingy is attracting a growing legion of fans by playing similar jazz and blues tunes in town centres around coastal Suffolk. The busking has led to appearance at Aldeburgh festival, Southwold arts festival, Somerleyton Hall and in pubs, at weddings and even at a funeral in Lowestoft.

Leader Alan said: “We became hooked on the music of Tuba Skinny and three of us decided we had to make the 8,000 miles round-trip to see them playing live.

“Our worlds collided in Royal Street, New Orleans, one of the best places to see busking bands and it was brilliant!

“It was a glorious hot and sunny Friday morning when we first saw Shaye Cohn, the cornet, piano and violin-playing leader of Tuba Skinny, sitting on the pavement playing violin while waiting for the rest of the band to arrive for a regular busking session. When I introduced myself she gave me a big smile and said she was pleased to meet me. She had seen Tuba Swingy videos on YouTube in the same way we had seen Tuba Skinny’s. We had a great chat and she had some very kind words to say about us playing the same sort of jazz and blues numbers, remarking that the music was for all to share.”

Neil Kane, Tuba Swingy’s percussionist, had a long chat with Tuba Skinny’s washboard player Robin Rapuzzi who told him: “You guys have done us all good. Here in New Orleans and over there in England, we share the same vibe.” Neil was so impressed with hearing the Tuba Skinny sound live for the first time we went off to a music shop and bought himself a washboard!

Hannah Bales, Tuba Swingy’s vocalist and bass drummer, also agreed that listening live to Tuba Swingy was ‘amazing’. She quietly sang along with some of the numbers as she, her husband Kris, Alan and Neil sat on the kerbside for nearly three hours watching Tuba Skinny go through their paces.

“We were so excited before setting out for the States but Tuba Skinny and New Orleans have been much, much more than we ever dreamed of. They are an awesome band. New Orleans is a brilliant city.”

Hannah received a hug from her counterpart, Erika Lewis, as they chatted about vocal numbers that both bands play. Hannah also told Erika that seeing Tuba Skinny playing live had been a great inspiration and given her ideas for numbers that Tuba Swingy could add to their repertoire.

After chatting with other members of Tuba Skinny, Alan finally introduced himself to Erika, who runs the band’s internet and social media links and became aware of Tuba Swingy a few years ago.

Alan said: “She looked me up and down and lifted her hat, gave me a big grin and said “So you’re the guy!” It was a magic moment and something I will always remember. We all got on really well and we plan to keep in touch by email and social media.”

The members of Tuba Swingy watched two other gigs by their heroes during their six-day stay in New Orleans and also saw many other bands, including two other favourites, Shotgun Jazz Band and Smoking Time Jazz Club, who were keen to chat with the East Anglian musicians.

The Final Word
Thank you Tuba Swingy and Tuba Skinny for making this great Jazz&Jazz post possible. Quite frankly it wouldn’t be right to conclude without a Jazz&Jazz YouTube of Tuba Skinny. Here they are playing in the town square at Chateauneuf-du-Faou during FestJazz, 2014. Even the church bells waited for them to finish their number! I counted it a privilege to film them.

Peter M Butler
Editor & Proprietor Jazz&Jazz

(Photos & YouTubes courtesy of Tuba Swingy and also © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz)

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  1. Norman Gibson says:

    Now Peter there’s a novelty – a ‘Tribute’ New Orleans Jazz Band !! Rolling Stones, Beatles, they’ve all got them – live NO Jazz must be on the ‘up & up’ ! Norman

  2. Patsy Cleary says:

    It is great to know we have Tuba Swingy Jazz band here in GB. I would love to know if they ever play anywhere near Birmingham. After seeing Tuba Swingy on You Tube I have become a instant fan. Im a a firm fan of Tuba Skinny If you can give me some Info on where you perform.

  3. Geoff Smith says:

    Hi Patsy. If you look up their FB page it will give you all the info and also their latest status

  4. Penn Anthony says:

    I must say that I have become a fan of Tuba Skinny starting about Feb. 2019. My mornings used to begin with quiet Bosa Nova jazz, then Miles Davis types. I settled in on Wynton Marsalis and along the way New Orleans jazz leading me to stumble onto Tuba Skinny street music. You guys make me want to go to NO to hear the street grass roots jazz hopefully from Tuba Skinny. I’m retired and too old for Martigras, way up here in Martinsville, VA. Do y’all ever get up in this part of the country? Love y’all!

  5. Peter Butler says:

    Penn, Search the website and you’ll find more about Tuba Skinny! Especially this posted June this year: https://www.jazzandjazz.com/2019/06/tuba-skinny-feature/#more-31691

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