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.
By Bill Falk