Saturday 26 April 1997 saw the welcome return of John Petters New Orleans Allstars. The line up was entirely different from last year, with the exception of Louis Lince (Banjo & guitar).
The members of the band were more familiar with each other, which produced a much 'tighter' sound.
I was particularly impressed with the inclusion of a Sousaphone, which resulted in a much more authentic recreation of the New Orleans marching band sound. In the early part of the century, the Sousaphone was always used to provide the bass line, the string bass not being introduced until the advent of recorded jazz. It presents some difficulty marching with a double bass; if you doubt this, watch Woody Allen in "Take The Money And Run".
All the musicians were very accomplished, but for me the limelight was stolen by Dave Bailey on clarinet and Alto Saxophone. I can honestly say, that in thirty seven years of listening to Jazz, it is the first time I have heard a trio played with Sousaphone, Banjo
The programme was much the same as last year, but the difference in style was most apparent. Ken Sims attacked his cornet to great effect, which perfectly complemented the very smooth sound of Len Baldwin on trombone, all the while Dave Bailey weaving a delicate melody between the two of them. Clive Payne (Sousaphone) displayed a deftness of touch not normally associated with the giant brass instruments, and Louis Lince once again gave a faultless performance on the banjo. John Petters showed us exactly why he is where he is with a ten minute show piece of drumming technique and virtuosity.
If they return again, make sure you don't miss them.
John Petters photographed at Saffon Walden Baptist Church