I hurry to assure you that this is not in any way a replacement for Kokomo, but rather a fun side-project. But it's been taking a little time since we're heading over to play at the Norfolk Island Jazz Festival at the beginning of December. The band is The Bay City Ramblers. We specialise in “old-timey” acoustic music – blues, Americana and jazz, much of it from the 1920s and 30s. Here's how it came about...
Our good mate, the fabulous blues singer/songwriter/guitarist Mike Garner, went on holiday last year with his wife Sally, to the Norfolk Island Jazz Festival, as audience members. One of the groups playing was led by another good friend, Wellington's Andrew London (Hot Club Sandwich). Well, Andrew introduced Mike to the Festival organiser who immediately invited him to bring a band this year. (I should emphasise that getting festival bookings is NEVER so easy. This was jaw-droppingly serendipitous!)
At the time Mike and I were hosting monthly Blues & Americana nights so Mike asked me and then we grabbed Nige for bass duties and recruited another fantastic musician who's played with Kokomo many times, multi-instrumentalist Robbie Laven. So Robbie's playing fiddle, harp, washboard and fantastic jazz guitar, and a little mandolin but not much since for the first time I'm playing as much mandolin as guitar and enjoying it immensely. And we've stretched our repertoire with some Gypsy-jazz pieces Robbie has taught us, a great introduction to the world of Django Reinhardt, a player I've previously only admired in amazement from a distance.
Norfolk's going to be interesting – it's so small there's only one flight in and out a week so the band, along with a group of around 20 supporters, all fly to the island on a Sunday and then return the following Sunday. The festival also includes four bands from Australia and the Andrew London Trio. So we'll be playing stuff ranging from the 1920's blues of Charlie Patton and Bessie Smith through early jazz and the folk music of Woody Guthrie, to some new songs of mine and some of Mike's.
We'll doing one final warm-up show in Tauranga before we go. If you're free come and check it out - The Matua Pub on Sunday 27 November, 3pm. No charge and a bunch of fun guaranteed!
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