It’s a fact of life that when you have some time on your hands and access to the internet you can come across some interesting or fun stuff.
Today – as the first in an occasional series – I’m going to feature Tuba Skinny a busking jazz band previously unknown to me that I discovered recently on YouTube. They hail from New Orleans and to all intents and purposes play classic old style jazz from the 1920s onwards just for the hell of it.
I know practically nothing about them save that they gradually came together about fifteen years ago. Their modus operandi seems to be to set up stall with some core musicians and then anyone else who turns up to join in, usually on Royal Street and/or in the French Quarter. ‘Low key’ doesn’t really capture their easy-going attitude – they’re practically horizontal – and most of the videos featuring them playing seem to come from haphazard sources including members of the public or tourists who happened to be passing by.
Their core musicians are Todd Burdick (tuba), female Shaye Cohn (cornet and piano), Barnabus Jones (trombone), Erika Lewis (bass drum and vocals) and Craig Flory (clarinet and saxophone) but – if there is such a position – their unofficial musical director is Cohn.
Over the years they’ve made ten albums, toured France and Tasmania, but mostly they seem to support themselves via the tips they attract by playing on the street.
I’ve looked on the Amazon website but currently there are no Tuba Skinny CDs available – only MP3 downloads or something, which technology is quite beyond me.
As an introduction to their output, here are a pair of links to representative videos I’ve found on YouTube:
Firstly, here’s Gotta Give Me Some – played on Royal Street on 6th July 2013 – featuring Erika Lewis on vocals – GOTTA GIVE ME SOME
Secondly, here’s their version of Blue And Lonesome, featuring Shaye Cohn on piano, recorded at The Spotted Cat cafe, posted on 26th April 2012 – BLUE AND LONESOME