New Orleans News and Sights – Les Muscutt

Les Muscutt (bjo, gtr) – born Barrow-in-Furness, England June 30th 1941. Remarkable jazzman, made himself a area amid major jazzmen in New Orleans in the course of the 1970’s, notably with The French Industry Jazz Band.

This item from the revised edition of “New Orleans Jazz – A Family Album” by Al Rose and Edmond Souchon (Posted by Louisiana Condition University Press, very long out of print and costing a fortune on eBay) gives a clue to the status of this fantastic musician.

It is not uncomplicated to be recognized as a “brother” in New Orleans but Les Muscutt managed this with the twin qualities of his gently sunny individuality and his exceptional potential on the guitar and specifically on the banjo. His retirement because of to wellbeing problems came as a shock to every person and I felt drawn to produce this article to stimulate you to pay attention to his large output and contribution to jazz and in certain to New Orleans Jazz. Les came from a musical household and the reward of a scruffy banjo and decent “Harmony” guitar led to his interest in tunes, and with BBC programmmes of dance music and jazz his destiny was sealed. When a buddy of John Beecham’s rang the doorbell and requested if he would like to come and rehearse with a group and possibly perform a couple gigs he was hooked!

Les moved to Central London, in actuality Lisle Road in Soho.That was the hub of the jazz, blues, skiffle and folks scene. He received a task at 77 Charing Cross Highway – certainly the legendary Dobell’s history shop! Quite a few of their shoppers were being musicians, and Les’s to start with specialist job was with the Nat Gonella Band. Shorter work with Acker Bilk, Cy Laurie, Terry Pitt and the London variation of the Clyde Valley Stompers and more than a 12 months with Clinton Ford and Charlie Gall’s Jazz Band. Positions with the “Mike Cotton Seem” and Bruce Turner came alongside, and all this time the good quality of Les’s enjoying increased.

Les was married to the amazing “Babs” by this time and when an give came to play in the new franchise of “Your Father’s Moustache” in New York, it was also excellent to refuse. Many moves to engage in for this franchise around the U.S.A. followed, and touring with a wife and small children was a pricey enterprise. When the present arrived to open up the franchise in New Orleans came along with a diploma of permanency and as band chief, Les snapped it up

The opening of a “Purple Garter Club” in New Orleans led to further prospects. Being a band leader in New Orleans is the vital to the magic kingdom! The great Freddie Lonzo obtained his initially employment with Les, then came Maynard Chatters and Paul Crawford. The trick with the “Moustache” and “Pink Garter” was to know just about each song ever published and Les experienced acquired this ability. The 3 chord trick was absent and Les the grasp musician was in this article in New Orleans.

On these work opportunities, quantity was necessary – they lasted five or often six hrs a night – but Les had the additional asset of high quality to add to the quantity! Les was the leader of the band 6 nights a 7 days and on his evening off, Emmanuel Sayles led the band. Check out a CD entitled “Banjos on Bourbon” – Add.NOBILITY 701 with Manny Sayles, Narvin Kimball and Jerry Green for a taste of Banjo new music at the Pink Garter.

Through the intervals at his Bourbon Road gigs, Les would wander all over the corner to St. Peter Road and Preservation Hall. He commenced playing with Kid Sheik’s band at the Corridor and labored with a lot of bands on Bourbon Street, which includes the Famous Doorway and with Connie Jones’s Band.

In the Al Rose/Ed Souchon book is a great photograph of the “French Sector Jazz Band”. I questioned Les about this he said “it was a excellent way to commit the weekend! The band comprised of largely band leaders, men and women loved the jazz, threw revenue into the kitty and we had plenty of funds for beer and we experienced a fantastic time with a minor revenue to just take household to our wives to establish we had been working!”

When Nina Buck opened “The Palm Court docket Cafe”, Les performed with the band led by Louis Nelson.. When Nelson died in 1988 Pud Brown took over and when Pud died, Brian O”Connell took the clarinet chair, Lionel Ferbos performed the trumpet and Les grew to become band leader and managed this placement until eventually his retirement early this calendar year.

For quite a few year Les did a summer months tour in the U.K. with Chris Burke. This was designed feasible by a beneficial visit to Norway with Chris and then a vacation to the U.K. to meet up with up with aged good friends and perform a handful of gigs. In fact, Les was in the U.K. when Hurricane Katrina strike New Orleans and he hurried household to uncover his Babs evacuated to the place to stay clear of the dreadful situation in New Orleans.

In 2001, Les experienced to have open coronary heart surgery. He hardly ever solely recovered and it brought about his eventual retirement. He lost sensation in two fingers on his left hand and even following comprehensive physiotherapy, he had to acknowledge defeat!

I need to notify you that even with this challenge, I have listened several nights and loved his exceptional participating in, but Les is a perfectionist and as he mentioned to me “I just received fed up with faking and recognizing that I was not able to do what I needed to do.” So the banjo sits in its scenario and is lifted so that Babs can clear underneath it!

There are so a lot of CDs with Les Muscutt on them that I am virtually scared to select, but in this article goes: 504CDS 100 “The 504 Information Tale 1978-2003 ” This gives a cross segment of bands that Les recorded with. 504CDS8 with Wendell Eugene’s Band this is one particular of Les’s favourites – Albert Walters (tpt), Raymond Burke (clt) Janette Kimball (Pno), Chester Zardis (Bass) and Chester Jones (Drums)

Les performed on a Doc Cheatham and Nicholas Payton history on the Verve label which was a Grammy Award winner.

Lastly, one of Les’s favourites is a CD on the Jazzology label JCD-233 titled “Swinging Down to New Orleans”again that includes the legendary Doc Cheatham.

If you come to New Orleans you will not find Les Muscutt on a bandstand anywhere. You could possibly location him on a special evening at the Palm Courtroom Cafe, or if you are out fishing on the lake, the dude next to you catching the huge catfish could be Les Muscutt!