ARMCHAIR travel doesn’t get any easier than this. There’s no need to hop on a transatlantic flight to hear the unique genre of music produced by the ‘crescent city’ of New Orleans’ when the Sunset Café Stompers will bring it to your doorstep! Headed up by founder member and piano whizz Mike Denham, the Stompers boast a talented line up of musicians who specialise in playing exciting New Orleans jazz and on Friday, April 14th they will be doing so at Ilminster Arts Centre.
The band takes its name from The Sunset Café, a top nightspot on Chicago’s infamous South Side. Al Capone owned it, Louis Armstrong starred there. The Sunset Cafe Stompers play the music of that period, including great tunes from Scott Joplin, Irving Berlin, Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington and Fats Waller, but the band’s wide repertoire also features songs made famous by artists as diverse as Patsy Cline, Marilyn Monroe, the Inkspots, Fats Domino and even Mr Elvis Presley.
The variety of music itself is significant, evocative of the elusive, shifting, pulse that defines the sound of New Orleans. The city has a tradition of bands being hired to attract a crowd, or to add spirit and generate excitement for all kinds of occasion. Since their foundation in Dorset in the early 1980s the Sunset Café Stompers have followed in that tradition: playing at festival and jazz clubs the length and breadth of the country, down to Cornwall and up to Cumbria, as well as wedding, funerals, garden parties and village halls.
Over the years the Sunset Cafe Stompers personnel has changed and adapted but the current line up is Mike Denham (piano and band leader); Steve Graham (trumpet); John Coad (drums); Pete Middelton (trombone); Eddie Edwards (banjo); Pete Ward (bass); Mike Betts (clarinet and tenor sax). The Sunset Café Stompers play at Ilminster Arts Centre on Friday, April 14th at 8pm.
Tickets are £15 (a pre-show supper is available for £14 at 7pm but must be pre-booked). Advance booking recommended for what promises to be a memorable evening of jazz at its most sublimely entertaining. Box Office 01460 54973 or visit www.themeetinghouse.org.uk