Jeff Hughes trumpet/flugelhorn, John Clark leader, clarinet/alto sax, Herb Gardner piano, Jimmy Mazzy banjo/vocals, Rick MacWilliams tuba, Dave Didriksen drums
By Bill Falk
Listening to this group reminded me of traditional jazz of yesteryear – those days of King Oliver and ballrooms full of followers.
Despite missing their trombonist, band members meshed together beautifully – mixing brilliant solos with great backup.
John Clark led the band plus did an excellent job on clarinet and alto sax. He also vocalized on The Preacher, Stairway to Paradise and Egyptian Ella.
Jimmy Mazzy was brilliant on banjo – when isn’t he terrific? His vocal on Take Your Tomorrow was very impressive, and his solos on Chasing the Blues Away, Monday Date and How Deep is the Ocean were outstanding.
Jeff Hughes trumpet and flugelhorn never disappoints. I was particularly excited by the full sound he produced on the flugelhorn on I Surrender Dear. He delivered great solos on a variety of tunes throughout the program.
Herb Gardner on keyboard contributed vocals on Staten Island and The Preacher. He is a vital ingredient to the group’s sound because of his ability to backup others and hold things together.
Rick MacWilliams on tuba soloed occasionally while helping the rhythm section keep a steady pace. He works the instrument like a saxophone.
Dave Didrikson was the drummer – not flashy but terrific at keeping the beat. He did take an occasional brief solo, but he played much like the drummers from way back – unsung but important.
The band also played What’s the Use, A Foggy Day in London Town, Froggy More, There Ain’t No Sweet Band Worth the Salt of My Tears, Lonely Melody, Oh Miss Hannah, Struttin’ With Some Barbecue, I Ain’t Gonna Tell Nobody, Sleepy Lagoon, The Work Song, Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans and ended a wonderful evening with their signature Wolverine Blues.
Make it a priority to see this group in person! They get into the roots of jazz as invented in New Orleans very successfully.
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! http://www.riverboatstompers.com
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
“Regulars” enjoyed listening to a fabulous afternoon of Swing and Jazz presented by Harold McAleer and The Lincoln Council on Aging, and produced by Steve Taddeo.
Connie, Bob, Jeannine
Maryanne and Marie Mosiejczuk
Jeff Barnhart and The Midiri Brothers expressed their joy at playing here and said they would be back! We will definitely let you know!
Thank you, Eric Devine, for the videos, and Harold McAleer and the Lincoln Council on Aging for the presentation.
Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas
My Gal Sal
It’s The Talk of The Town
How About You – Caroline
If I Had You “
Shimmy She Wobble
Song My Mother Taught to Me – Antonín Dvořák
Sheik of Araby
Jeepers Creepers – Caroline
Sunny Side of the Street