“Sweet, sweet jazz, all night long, that was what we heard from the amazing ‘YERBA BUENA CELEBRATION JAZZ BAND’. I don’t think there was a moment when the place wasn’t buzzing. Every number they played was fabulous and with dancers galore out on the floor, everyone enjoying the fabulous tempos. Probably my most memorable number was that great tune, ‘Ring Dem Bells’ (composed by Duke Ellington in 1930)”. These were my words describing the night they played for us on 20th May 2011 – my write-up for their next visit on 7th October 2011, has unfortunately been trapped in a ‘frozen’ computer.
I thought the above write-up would impress you enough, to encourage many of you to turn up for our Friday, 26th June 2015 evening and enjoy their talents again at Farnborough Jazz Club. The musicians were DAVE RANCE – band leader, vocals &1st trumpet, MIKE BARRY – vocals &2nd trumpet, GOFF DUBBER – clarinet, GRAHAM WISEMAN – trombone, HUGH CROZIER – piano, PETE LAY – drums, JOHN ARTHY – tuba and NICK SINGER – banjo.
At last, I have found my notes, so can give you a résumé of their evening to go with the photos published earlier. I recall I had missed what was first played (with people arriving), but jotted down second number being ‘Fidgety Feet’, a lively number, no-one can deny. They certainly gave it all they had got and then some, with those perfectly timed breaks, wonderful. I’m sure their next tune allowed them to get a breather, with Mike singing ‘River Stay Away From My Door’, a lovely slower number. Then came their spectacular party piece – ‘Chimes Blues’, fantastic! I recall Hugh playing a lovely rendition of bells, all just brilliant. I’ve chosen to include ‘Big Bear Stomp’ as it was such a jaunty number. I thought it had an American Indian flavour (some think it sounds Russian), anyway, good fun. ‘Johnson Rag’ seems to be quite a jazz favourite, so am including it here. They certainly made it sound almost like a full orchestra – with eight of them. Lovely to dance to, which we certainly did. Then we had the pleasure of Graham’s lovely singing with ‘Dreaming The Hours Away’. Then came along that fabulous ragtime number ‘Smokey Mokes’ You may have to look it up on You Tube, to remind yourself which one it is, but I promise you will know it well. What an incredible eccentric the following song was composed in memory of. I just have to tell you. He was an Englishman, named Joshua Norton from the 19th century. He received quite a decent inheritance from his parents, decided to immigrate to America and became a citizen of San Francisco. He made an even bigger fortune, lost it and then disappeared. He returned to the scene and proclaimed himself Emperor of America. He made some bequeaths in the mid-1850’s, one being for a bridge and a tunnel to be made across the bay! This came to fruition and was built in 1930’s, namely the San Francisco & Oakland Bridge (incidentally the Yerba Bueno Island now has a tunnel between two of its spans!) There is currently a campaign to have the bridge re-named the Emperor Norton Bridge. The song was ‘Emperor Norton’s Hunch’, played as fantastic as this man must surely have been, even though he was an eccentric…. Continuing, we enjoyed a ‘line-dance’ bit of fun with ‘Copenhagen’, I could hear Louis, Mike, and so you certainly must have played it well. I hope you musicians don’t get too embarrassed with our leaping about in front of you, but sorry, we just love it. ‘San Francisco Bay Blues’ is my last choice to mention, it was a number played by Lu Watters, so they love to play it as well and I’m sure chosen because of the ‘Emperor Norton Hunch’ flavour. Lovely stuff. Sorry you waited for this write-up, hope you enjoyed my little bit of extra info. We all certainly enjoyed the band. Hope to have them back soon. (Photos are below.)
Diane & Keith
‘Big Bear Stomp’ – Lucius ‘Lu’ Waters (1944)
‘Chimes Blues’ – Joe ‘King’ Oliver (1923) (one of the first jazz compositions issued in sheet music by Melrose Brothers Music Company in Chicago)
‘Copenhagen’ – (m) Charlie Davis, (l) Walter Melrose (1924) (foxtrot)
‘Dreaming The Hours Away’ – Will E. Dulmage (1927)
‘Emperor Norton’s Hunch’ – Lu Watters (1944)
‘Fidgety Feet’ – Nick LaRocca & Larry Shields (1919)
‘Johnson Rag’ – (m) Guy Hall, (l) Henry Kleikauf (1917) & updated Jack Lawrence (1940)
‘River Stay Away From My Door’ – Mort Dixon & Harry Woods (1931)
‘San Francisco Bay Blues’ – Jesse Fuller (1954)
‘Smoky Mokes’ – Abe Holzmann (1899)