Take three highly respected professional jazz musicians from world famous bands. Introduce them to a style of jazz almost unheard since the 1940s and 50s. Tentatively ask them to rehearse exceedingly demanding music until they perfect this new yet strangely familiar style. Then stand back while their enthusiasm and expertise produces fresh swinging versions of tunes from 50 plus years ago.
The three musicians are Alan Haughton, virtuoso pianist, composer, arranger and member of the Terry Lightfoot Band among many others; Richard Exall, dazzling exponent of the clarinet and saxophone, arranger and member of the Big Chris Barber Band and leader of his own Shooting Stars band among many others; and John Watson, drummer, percussionist, raconteur and member of the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, the Duncan Galloway Quintet and many others.
The music is largely based around the unique sounds of the Gene Krupa Jazz Trio which was a phenomenon in the mid 1940s continuing to be hugely popular almost until Gene’s death in 1973. Added to this are some Benny Goodman trio tittles and a tune from the now unheard of Spencer Trio. This was made up of three members of the renowned John Kirby Sextet.
The reincarnation of this musical style came about when John and Richard met to discuss unrelated subjects. John mentioned his interest in the music of the Krupa trio and similar small groups and found Richard to be not only familiar with the music but keen to form a band to play it. The only problem was to find suitable pianist with the ability, style and enthusiasm to join this embryo band. One name came to mind and soon after Alan was easily persuaded to take the piano chair. There followed several months of transcribing arrangements from ancient recordings and serious rehearsal to ensure the trio met the demanding standards of the musicians concerned and was ready for the public and the recording studio.
The first gig was a resounding success with the trio sounding marvelous and John’s humorous repartee amusing the enthusiastic audience. A successful recording session followed and the CD is expected to be released early in 2012. Further successful appearances have enhanced the bands reputation and it is fast becoming a much sought after trio for discerning jazz clubs and music festivals.