CD Reviews

MusicWeb International

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

Reviewers: Tony Augarde, Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

[ Jazz index ] [Nostalgia index]  [ Classical MusicWeb ] [ Gerard Hoffnung ]


Goin’ to New Orleans

Own Label BE[LECD]4022-1/2

Volume 1

1. Weatherbird Rag

2. Wild Man Blues

3. Jazz Lips

4. New Orleans Stomp

5. It’s You

6. Riverside Blues

7. Give Me Your Telephone Number

8. Savoy Blues

9. Sobbin’ Blues

10. Workingman Blues

Playing time: 68m. 28s.

Recorded at De Gulle Ark, Oisterwijk, Holland on May 15, 1989 – tracks 1 and 2;

During Broadcast of Morning Pro Musica, WGBH radio, Boston, Massachusetts on May 21, 1994 – track 3;

The Playhouse, Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania, on June 12 and 13, 1998 – tracks 4-6;

Chattanooga Jazz Festival, Tennessee, on May 5 and 6, 2001 – tracks 7-9;

Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, California, in 2003 – track 10.

Tony Pringle – Cornet & leader (all tracks)

Billy Novick – Clarinet & alto sax (all tracks)

Stan Vincent – Trombone (all tracks)

Peter Bullis – Banjo (all tracks)

Bob Pilsbury – Piano (all tracks)

C. H. “Pam” Pameijer – Drums (all tracks)

Eli Newberger – Tuba (tracks 1-6)

Barry Bockus – String bass (tracks 7-10)

Volume 2

1. Sensation – A Rag

2. Moose March

3. Deep Henderson

4. Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya

5. Misty Morning

6. Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland

7. Stevedore Stomp

8. Sweetie Dear

9. Bird on a Wire

10. Goin’ to New Orleans

11. Tomorrow Night

Playing time: 66m. 19s.

Recorded at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, California in 2003 – tracks 1 and 2;

Chatanooga Jazz Festival, Tennessee on May 1 and 2, 2004 – tracks 3-8;

University of New Hampshire on Sept. 9, 2013 – tracks 9-11.

Tony Pringle – Cornet & leader (all tracks), vocal (tracks 9-11)

Billy Novick – Clarinet & alto sax (all tracks)

Stan Vincent – Trombone (all tracks)

Peter Bullis – Banjo (all tracks)

Bob Pilsbury – Piano (all tracks)

C. H. “Pam” Pameijer – Drums (tracks 1-8)

Barry Bockus – String bass (tracks 1-8)

Jesse Williams – String bass (tracks 9-11)

Bill Reynolds – Drums (tracks 9-11)

Although titled Goin’ to New Orleans, which is also the title of the penultimate track of the second disc, this double CD set is, in actually, a marker of the band’s 45th anniversary in 2016. (Some band members, according to Tony Pringle, opted to have “New Orleans” in the set’s title, rather than “45th anniversary.” They selected the title of Pringle’s composition as that of the set.) Forty-five years is a long time, but there are still six of the original—or at least early—members of the New Black Eagles Jazz Band featured on the first of these two volumes: Pringle, Vincent, Bullis, Pilsbury, Newberger, and Pameijer. The seventh member, Billy Novick, joined the group in 1986. The second disc includes some changes in personnel. Newberger left the band in 2001 and his place was taken by one or other of two string bass players, Barry Bockus or Jesse Williams; and Pameijer’s is occasionally substituted for by Reynolds.

Despite changes in personnel, the band’s “sound” does not change much if at all. One might think that the change from tuba to string bass would be significant, but not so here. Newberger, with his circular breathing technique, managed to play a steady four on tuba (which many, if not most, tuba players cannot do, at least for more than a measure or two), just as a good string bass player can and does. In addition, Newberger’s dynamics were immaculate, so most of time he was not playing over the others, nor could his playing be classified as “ponderous.” So his replacement by string bass did not result in a drastic change in sound. One can hear this clearly when comparing these two discs.

The title also reflects the fact that like the traditional New Orleans bands, the New Black Eagles place great emphasis on ensemble work. Any solos are invariably backed by others in the front line. Thus there is always so much to listen to; not only can one appreciate what the lead or the soloist, as the case may, is expressing, but can enjoy what the others are doing to complement him, even if only playing a riff, and since all of that can hardly be deciphered on a single play, subsequent hearings are necessary and rewarding.

As they have always done, the New Black Eagles play a very copious tune list which contains pieces of all kinds, from the well-known to the less-than-familiar, and this set illustrates such variety. There is also an amazing assortment of composers represented: Armstrong, Oliver, Ory, Morton, Ellington, to mention just some, and even one from the band leader himself, Tony Pringle—the title track Goin’ to New Orleans. A good mixture of tempos further adds interest.

In addition to all of that, which one can hear very readily, the highlight of the band’s performance is the ensemble work, the care given to supporting the lead, along with the close attention paid to dynamics, the value given the breaks (even silent ones). It is the totality of the experience that sets this band above almost all others (and, I believe, accounts for their being put at the head, or close thereto, of any current “best” traditional jazz band list). One gets such an experience regardless of the setting, be it a radio show, a concert in an auditorium, a jazz festival venue, or a jazz club. All of these are represented here in these two CDs.

None of these performances have been issued prior to this double CD set, and amazingly these twenty-one tracks were distilled from some nine hours’ worth of recordings. Undoubtedly there is at least one other CD remaining in the numbers that did not make the cut this time. With luck such a one (or two) will appear..

Note: Along with conventional ordering procedures, an alternate ordering method is given as follows:

Instead of $15.00 plus handling and packaging of $2.00, postage of $2.74 ($13.74 to Europe) you pay $12 and receive via Dropbox a ZIP file which contains all the tracks as mp3s, a Read Me.doc and JPEG files for the booklet cover, back page and the tray card.

More information is available at, the band’s website.

Bert Thompson

Return to Index

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: