Alex Welsh Legacy Band, Norwich
DAVID WAKEFIELD While no tribute band can ever replace the genuine article, this comes as close as one might reasonably expect.
More years ago than I care to remember, a group of friends and I would set out, in cars of varying vintage, around the region to the jazz bands we loved. And probably the finest of them all in the “trad boom” was the Alex Welsh Band, a swinging ensemble that bucked the banjo-driven New Orleans trend by playing a British form of the Chicago style made famous by the Eddie Condon bands.
The memory of that band is carried on in authentic and faithful style by this group. While no tribute band can ever replace the genuine article, this comes as close as one might reasonably expect, driven along nicely by Brian Lemon (piano), Jim Douglas (guitar), John Rees-Jones (bass) and Bobby Worth (drums). Brian Jones' strident trumpet evoked memories of Alex, while Roy Williams' trombone is as lyrical as ever. No John Barnes but Phil Doggett (baritone/clarinet) and Ron Drake (tenor/clarinet) proved able deputies in a programme containing old Welsh favour-ites like As Long As I Live and At The Jazz Band Ball.
Roy Williams' little anecdotes revived memories of the original band's heyday, injecting nostalgia into an enjoyable evening at the Lakenham Leisure Centre.