New Orleans Jazz Bandits

by | Jan 12, 2018 | Reviews

New Orleans Jazz Bandits
Colchester Jazz Club @ Marks Tey
Sunday 7th January 2018

The New Orleans Jazz Bandits started their history way back in 1956 when the first line-up was put together… 62 years later they are still going strong.

Seasoned musicians isn’t the right word, their years of experience between them in enormous and the level of talent is indescribable. My vernacular isn’t wide enough to describe how smooth they are.

Ron Rombol (Alto Sax, Clarinet) is over 80 years old and plays with such ease that it’s a delight on the ears. Peter Brooks (Double Bass) is a happy soul, plucking at the strings with a smile on his face as though each note brought a level of joy to his soul.

There was a great variety of slow, fast, instrumentals, pre-jive, swing, deep gospel, African/American folk songs, but most of all trad jazz was the core with those who know exactly what they are doing.

Some of the tracks played were from the early 20th Century:
Bluebells Goodbye
Let Me Call You Sweetheart – 1910 instant hit
Hank Williams ‘Jambolia’ from 1952 – the most modern track
Skipper Mouth Blues
I Want A Girl To Call My Own
Lord, Lord, Lord, You Sure Been Good To Me
King Thomas Boogie

Songs that are over 100 years old that have been played more than 100,000 times over but due to the trad jazz means it’s played 100,000 different ways as each musician takes it where the wind blows. It’s such a fluid style

The throaty ‘whaaaaa’ of the trumpet (Richard Church) hit you at your core, you smiled with the tingle. Tim Wate with the banjo was fabulous. Malc Murphy (Drums) was the singer and his voice was so suited it was as though he was coming out of the wireless. So much quality trad jazz – yes it’s improvisation by the individual musicians but it is subtly co-ordinated by the leader, with a subtle nod or point to move the track along.

It was such an orchestra of musical notes with a depth of experience you could not find anywhere else – these old timers could do it in their sleep, walking backwards while juggling. Brian Butler (Trombone) is a regular guesting musician with this group and luckily for me he was guesting this night. Superb Savoy Blues – proper slidy, throaty, smooth trombone work – fantastic.

The jive and swing tracks take you back to an era you could just clearly imagine being in the clubs with the ladies and gents of the time. The flow of the notes tumbling smoothly over each other like a soft bubbling river meandering through the valley.

Within the first 3 minutes the club regulars were up and dancing. I was clearly the youngest in the room (apart from the teenager serving teas) but when these guys got up dancing and showed off their energy – I certainly didn’t ‘feel’ the youngest in the room.

This type of jazz is just not heard in too many places – it’s only clubs like this that will keep it alive and everyone needs to experience it in their lives before it’s too late. This music really has a sense that it is passing through history – go and listen to it before there is no-one left to play it as there are likely no youngsters coming through.

Colchester Jazz Club have live music every Sunday night and have been doing so for the last 61 years. They are super friendly, have a raffle, teas, coffees and drinks are available and nearly everyone is up and dancing. 3 sets this night and plenty of requests. A thoroughly excellent Sunday night out and I plan to go back very soon.

For more information on what to see at Colchester Jazz Club visit



  • Hayley Clapperton

    Hayley is a business co-owner working too many hours so it's a good job she's passionate about it. Hayley's down time is music, music and music of all types and she enjoys going to gigs, listening to new bands and breathing in the energy it creates.

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