Live Sessions

We’d like to invite you to our Facebook Live sessions!

‘Like’ our Facebook page and you’ll be notified when we’re rolling. If you didn’t catch our most recent rehearsal snippets, check them out below.

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~ RECENT LIVE SESSIONS ~

11th January, 2017

‘New Orleans Bump’ (Transcribed by Johnny Woodham)

13th January, 2017

‘Lil Liza Jane’ (feat. George Winstone)

See you online!

 

 

 

 

 

We’re All Set!

First of all, a MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us and helped us to raise over £4000 towards our project. Without you, none of this would be possible. We love you!

Secondly, good news – We’re all set! Flights booked, hotel booked…what next?

We’d like to hear from YOU.

The main aim of our trip is to return to London with a piece of New Orleans, archived here for your learning and reading/viewing pleasure. We’d like to hear what you want to learn about New Orleans, second line and the music tradition in the homeland of jazz. Who would you like us to interview? What would you like to read about? Any ideas for video blogs? We want to make this trip as educational and rewarding as possible for all of our sponsors and supporters and plan to build an itinery around answering your burning NOLA questions!

We look forward to reading/hearing your responses – please feel free to use the comments section below, or get in touch with us via our contact page, Twitter or Facebook.

The ‘Second Line’ Groove

Second line music is traditionally associated with funerals in New Orleans, but is now synonymous with almost any kind of New Orleans party/procession. Conventionally in New Orleans a funeral procession will take place between a church and a graveyard. After the family of the deceased exit the church with the coffin they lead a procession towards the graveyard, behind which, and as the ‘second line’, a brass band will follow playing solemn-dirge music (Just a Closer Walk with Thee is a common tune of choice). Once the graveyard is reached and the body is buried, the procession continues throughout the city with either an up-beat rearrangement of the dirge tune(s) played on the way to the graveyard, or a completely different up-beat/faster tune (When The Saints Go Marching In, Didn’t He Ramble, ‘Lil Liza Jane…).

Distilled to its essence, the groove itself is created by two percussionists. One with a bass drum strapped to his/her chest with a single upturned cymbal on top, and another with a snare drum. The bass drum player plays the bass drum with his/her right hand holding a big beater, and his/her left hand holding a metallic stick to strike the cymbal. Crucially the bass drum player provides the foundation of the groove with a pattern between his/her two hands that leads towards ‘the big four’ – an accent of both hands on beat four at the end of their phrase. The snare drum player plays a clavé rhythm between the hands, by use of accents, that similarly has a particular accent on the beat four at the end of their phrase. Both instruments enjoy some degree of improvisation, but are always aware of how they interlock, compliment the song, and lead towards the ‘big four’.

Below I demonstrate how the second line groove can be adapted for a drum set (link 1), as well provide a link to the rhythm section of the Rebirth Brass Band demonstrating what I have discussed (they present the tradition as well as modern interpretations).

 

 

Blog by Tom Wright

Click here to visit his website

Herlin Riley’s solo on ‘Dancing With Desire’

Check out this transcription and observations of Herlin Riley’s solo on Dancing With Desire by our drummer, Tom Wright!

Record: ‘Cream of the Crescent’ (Criss Cross, 2005).

Personnel: Herlin Riley (Drums), Wycliffe Gordon (Trombone), Wynton Marsalis (Trumpet), Victor Goines (Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax and Clarinet), Eric Lewis (Piano), Reginald Veal (Bass).

Herlin Riley transcription by Tom Wright
Herlin Riley transcription by Tom Wright

Observations on the solo:

-Marks the form very clearly. For example, notice the similarity between the first two A sections of the solo, versus the contrasting sound of the first B section. What’s more there is a certain theme to each 4 bar section of the form.

-After two choruses of soloing, Herlin plays a very clear 4 bar break/’call’ to bring the band back in. The call is so texturally different from the previous bars and incorporates repetition and diminution of rhythm it is clearly an intended ‘call’ rather than an extension of the form.

 

Personal favourite moments:

-The contrast between rolls on the toms and hi-hat ‘barks’ in the first two A sections

-The first and second B sections have a very clear shape to them (a characteristic of Herlin’s I hear often in his playing).

-The elasticity of phrasing at bars 14 and 16. It’s so elastic my transcription can only guess at how Herlin’s conceiving it, and the beauty is somewhat lost on paper.

-The call is also wonderfully clear and ‘very Herlin’.

Blog by Tom Wright

Click here to visit his website

The Importance of Music Education

As a group of musicians and musical educators, we are all aware that Arts Funding cuts are preventing many children and adults alike from being able to access music education. I have been teaching in schools as a visiting music teacher for the past 5 years, and even in such a short space of time have been alarmed at the changes that I have seen.

The Old Jelly Rollers are seven-strong, so between us we have probably spent around 100 years learning our instruments (that’s a long time!) and have experienced the joys that music education brings. I am often disheartened by the attitudes that some people have towards what we’ve spent this joined 100 years doing;

“So what, if there are fewer musicians in the world?”

“Kids go to school to learn real subjects, not to mess about with musical instruments!”

“What’s the point in learning an instrument if you don’t want to be a musician?”

So, I thought I’d share just a few of the benefits of music education with you (just in case having a great time and learning a marvelous new skill aren’t benefits enough!)

~

Confidence

Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the biggest benefits of music education is that it vastly improves a learner’s confidence. The evidence of this comes long before you consider that getting up on stage, be it at a concert hall or at a school show, takes a lot of nerve; A big part of learning to sing or play an instrument is being asked to demonstrate what you have been practicing, or to have a go at an exercise in front of your teacher (and your peers, in group lessons). The safe learning environment that is created by enjoyment and moral support means that in no time at all, the ability to demonstrate, talk and perform is magnified onto a much grander scale, both in other areas of work and socially.

The Social Element

In our opinion, nothing is more rewarding or satisfying than that feeling that you get when you’ve put on an amazing gig with your best mates. And it’s not just about the show – The amount of time that you spend with a group of like minded, creative people when preparing for a gig, concert or tour creates the perfect environment for some really amazing friendships to develop. Amazing friendships = happy, healthy state of mind.

Expression

In this changing world of bigger classes, less playtime, more homework and greater pressure, it’s easy to forget to make some time for self-expression. The ability to express oneself is cultivated by encouraging a creative mind, and many musicians turn to their instruments for expression (or just to let of some steam) in times of high stress, emotional difficulty or great joy!

IQ and Academic Performance

Okay, so if you’re hung up on the idea that time spent learning music is time wasted as far as academic development is concerned, there are many studies that have shown that even just one year of one-to-one music lessons can significantly boost the IQ and grades of a child. This may have something to do with the “multitasking” that learners face (reading, understanding harmony, rhythm, melody and playing the instrument all at the same time!) playing a part in interconnecting brain areas, which in helps to develop an all rounded intelligence, able of critical thinking and problem solving at a much higher level than someone who has never had music tuition.

Tenacity

However fun it is, mastering any instrument is not easy. Music students very quickly realize the importance of practicing and hard work, as the results are literal and clearly apparent in their progress. They also come to understand that the reward for their hard work is the improvement that they’ve made and what they have learned from their efforts – a very valuable lesson indeed! This helps to develop a tenacity in all areas of work, and a strength that will be invaluable as they progress in later life.

So, go forth and learn!

The Old Jelly Rollers
Photography by Henrijs Grabovskis

Blog by Louise Balkwill

If you have any questions regarding this post or would like to apply to host a workshop in your school or educational facility, please feel free to get in touch with us by emailing theoldjellyrollers@gmail.com

~

Featured photo: The Old Jelly Rollers at The Becky Dell Music Academy Christmas Concert 2016

The London Pantomime Horse Race: United Neightions!

On Sunday 11th December, we had the pleasure of taking part in a rather extraordinary and exciting event – The London Pantomime Horse Race! In the name of charity (namely, The Sick Children’s Trust), costumed pantomime horses hilariously raced through the streets of Greenwich on a fun packed assault course of giggles.

 

Each horse represented a different county, and were in competition to see which comedy pair could raise the most money – congratulations to team Neddy Kelly (representing Australia), who won by raising a whopping £590!

We paraded the horses down King William Walk to the Pre-Race Ceremony at Davenport House Hotel to the traditional New Orleans funeral march,” Just A Closer Walk With Thee”, breaking into swinging song and dance on their arrival.

We just couldn’t keep a straight face with all of those floppy horse heads bobbing about…

panto-horse-race

Check out this little snippet of the Pre-Race Ceremony!

For more information on this fun packed event and to see how you can get involved next year, click here!