You could probably feel the excitement in my last post, good news, the show was truly wonderful. The Barrelhouse opened with some smooth classic tunes from Jelly Roll Morton and continued to entrance the audience into the night.
The beauty of the Gala is the moderation from Reimer Von Essen. He opens each classic tune with brief history of the song and its composer. He does this with such verve, it immediately sets a nostalgic, almost romantic atmosphere. Most of classic tunes are wonderfully arranged by Horst “Morsch” Schwarz, lead trumpet. In each piece you can hear the patient-care he takes to retain the original piece yet ensure the Barrlehouse flair is there too. Damn good.
The younger members (sadly a couple orig. members have passed away) Jan Luley (piano) and Michael Ehret (percussion) and Roman Kloeker, (Guitar, Banjo) bring a fresh buzz and beat to the cultured talent of the original members. Jan’s pianos solo’s and rolling rag time sound offer much to the Barrelhouse. Technically, Michael’s percussion work was almost flawless. He could come-out a bit more though. (Did I say that?)
The Gala was littered with great guests from the US. One such guest was the amazing 81 year old talent Red Holloway. Red comes from the roots of the American jazz scene in Chicago and has played with Billy HolidayMuddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Redd Foxx, Aretha Franklin,a nd many others. During this same period, he also played road tours with Memphis Slim and Lionel Hampton.
Next up was Gene “the mighty flea” Connors, famous for his virtuoso trombone. His subtle swing and warm voice rang the opera and engaged the us all. Gene 78, played with Ray Charles, Tina Turner, Lionel Hampton and Count Basie and is a charming talented musician with air of dignity.
To be continued: