Steve Straus leader/clarinet, Neil Flewellen cornet, Frank Batchelor trombone, Jimmy Mazzy banjo/vocals, Phil Hower piano, Pierre Lemieux tuba, Rich MacMillan drums.
The Riverboat Stompers are a seven-piece ensemble specializing in Traditional and Dixieland Jazz of the 20’s to 40’s. Members of this band come from towns all over Eastern New England. They mix old New Orleans music from the 20’s with tunes from the ‘recent’ 60’s. They obviously love this music – they’ve dedicated their lives to it.
They kicked it off with livewire ensemble on Struttin’ With Some Barbecue. This is fine New Orleans jazz, with cornet, trombone and clarinet against a four-piece rhythm section.
Jimmy Mazzy sat in on banjo singing many of his inimitable vocals, starting with From Monday On.
Steve Straus leads this rambunctious band on clarinet with amiable, good-natured humor. There is great passion and intensity in his clarinet playing. He sang several songs, especially adding drama to Ace In The Hole.
Neil Lewelling was featured on Sleepy Time Down South. He plays a 60’s Getsen cornet, beautiful rich tone, playing spontaneous improvisations, with admirable technique and solos that move lightly from phrase to phrase.
Frank’s trombone sound is deep and lush, and melodic and mellow when using several mutes. One of his favorites is a Fats Waller tune played by The Paris Washboard – Our Love Was Meant To Be. They played it with only four players – trombone, tuba, piano and drum.
Phil’s playing offers just the right chords behind all the soloists. Phil Hower’s heroes are the great stride pianists of the 1920’s and ’30’s, and he does his utmost to emulate their technique and style. When the band took its first break – after playing for an hour and a half, he sat by himself playing I Love a Piano!
Jimmy Mazzy’s soul-warming vocals are encouraged; he really gets his head around the lyrics. The band kept him busy – check out the list of tunes below to see how many he sang.
Pierre LeMieux was back after a lengthy absence. He plays bass lines on tuba and extends that by turning the monstrous horn into a viable solo instrument. He videotaped the whole evening, and we hope to get some of them later.
You feel the rhythm rather than hear the drum beats by Rich Malcom. He is a knowledgeable Dixieland Jazz drummer and maintains that essential Trad beat. His unique moves highlight the structure of the music by changing color, density, and dynamics on a minimal drum set. He sometimes softens reverberation by drumming with his hands!
The Riverboat Stompers closed with a rowdy Wang Wang Blues, then softly segued into ¾ time with ‘Till We Meet Again. They are wonderful and dynamic musicians, fun to watch and great to listen to. They inspire one another; you can easily tell this is the music they cherish. So do we, and sincerely hope to hear them again!
Struttin’ With Some Barbecue
From Monday On, Jimmy
Putting on The Ritz, Steve
Sweet Sue, Jimmy
My Blue Heaven, Neil
Downtown Strutters Ball, Jimmy
Do What Ory Say, Jimmy
Beale St. Blues, Jimmy
Lady Be Good, Jimmy
Exactly Like You, Jimmy
Ace in The Hole, Steve
Sunny Side of the Street
Our Love Was Meant To Be
Wang Wang Blues
‘Till We Meet Again