New music spotlight: The Smoking Time Jazz Club

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Published on: February 16th, 2016


The Smoking Time Jazz Club [Photo by Shannon Brinkman]
The Smoking Time Jazz Club [Photo by Shannon Brinkman]


The Smoking Time Jazz Club live at WWOZ in 2015 [Photo by Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee]
The Smoking Time Jazz Club live at WWOZ in 2015 [Photo by Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee]


Smoking Time horns section [Photo by Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee]
Smoking Time horns section [Photo by Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee]

The Smoking Time Jazz Club's latest, Make A Tadpole Holler Whale, is a romp and stomp through 1920s era jazz and blues. This is a group dedicated to the specific sound and craft of traditional jazz which they skillfully mix in with a bluesier sound on this album. "When we play the greats like Louis, Duke, Jelly, Bessie, or Billie, it's because they really were geniuses and the contributions and insights they made to jazz are relevant right now."

Smoking Time is a band full of veteran musicians who have honed their craft through years of practice and gigging. Vocalist Sarah Peterson, Joe Goldberg (clarinet/baritone saxophone), Byron Asher (clarinet/tenor saxophone), Colin Myers (trombone), Joseph Faison (guitar), Mike Voelker (drums), John Joyce (bass), Jack Pritchett (trumpet) come together for yet another wonderful contribution to keeping that trad jazz sound alive. This group is impressively prolific--Tadpole is their eighth album in five years.

Make A Tadpole Holler Whale combines instantly recognizable standards like 'Maple Leaf Rag' with more obscure cuts like 'The Penguin.' Bluesy selections like 'Goodbye Daddy Blues' and 'Shake A Little Bit (And Drag It)' are a welcome addition to the repertoire. Peterson summons the power of the Mississippi River on 'River Bottom Blues.' The band gets wild and boozy on 'Black and Tan Fantasy.'

There's an especially danceable hop to 'Thirty-First Street Blues' and 'What Do You Care' (with the lyric that inspired the album title). 'Rhumba Negra' has a Latin-tinge, reminiscent of Smoking Time's time at the Panama Jazz Festival in 2012.

Smoking Time Jazz Club takes on that 1920s-era sound with an aura of authentication that not many groups can claim these days. Seeking proof? My 93-year old grandfather loves them and finds Peterson's vocals a throwback to the golden era of female jazz singers.

The Smoking Time Jazz Club will celebrate the release of their new CD at the Allways Lounge this Sunday, February 21. You can also catch them at their regular gigs on Frenchmen Street-- Tuesdays at the Spotted Cat from 10p-2a and Saturdays at Maison from 7-10p.

Stream the album for free on the band's website or buy it on CD or MP3 from Bandcamp or the Louisiana Music Factory.

See their performance of 'Fare Thee Honey Blues' from the new album live at WWOZ during our Fall 2015 Pledge Drive below. If you missed their appearance at 'OZ yesterday on the New Orleans Music Show with Murf Reeves, you can go back and listen to it on the WWOZ archives till February 29.



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