A LITTLE BACKGROUND ...

​​It is often said that jazz was born in New Orleans, but grew up in Chicago.  In the 1920s, The Sunset Cafe was a top night-spot on Chicago's infamous South Side, on East 35th Street in Bronzeville. It later became the Grand Terrace Club, partially owned and closely 'supervised' by Al Capone. Known as a 'black and tan' - a club serving both black and white patrons - it was fronted by Joe Glaser, Louis Armstrong's manager. Louis lived just a mile away on 44th Street and was a regular performer at the club, as were Cab Calloway, Earl Hines, Johnny Dodds, Dizzy Gillespie, and Benny Goodman. The building still stands today and bears an official plaque to mark its heritage status. Until recently it was Meyer's Ace Hardware Store, though it has now been sold by Ed Meyer and has become a store called 'Urban Beautique' - selling every kind of beauty aid, from hair extensions to false eyelashes to exotic make-up ... how the mighty are fallen! But at least the legendary 'jungle drums' murals are still visible ...

 

The Sunset Cafe Stompers focus largely on playing the music of that period ... great tunes from Scott Joplin, King Oliver, Irving Berlin, Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller ... but the band's wider repertoire also features songs made famous by artists as diverse as Patsy Cline, Marilyn Monroe, The Inkspots, Fats Domino - even Elvis ...

 

Beneath it all, one can sense that elusive, shifting, pulse which defines the unique sound which is rooted in New Orleans. In that city, ever since the 1900s, bands have been hired to attract a crowd, or to add spirit and generate excitement for all kinds of occasion.

 

Throughout the last thirty years we have followed in that tradition : playing in jazz clubs and pubs, concerts for churches, arts centres, village dances, weddings, festivals, funerals, garden parties ... travelling many a mile from our base centered in Dorset and Somerset, down to deepest Cornwall, up to the glorious cathedral cities of Worcester and Gloucester, and way across eastwards to the leafy Surrey suburbs ...

TESTIMONIALS

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