|NEW BLACK EAGLE JAZZ BAND—IN CONCERT (OWN LABEL: BE[LECD]
4002). Playing time: 77m. 35s.
Wild Man Blues; I Found a New Baby; I’m Travellin’; Skit-Dat-De-Dat; You Made
Me Love You; Wild Cat Blues; Snag It; Wrought Iron Rag; Introduction of Gil
Roberts; Someday Sweet Heart; Girl of My Dreams; After You’ve Gone; Down in
Honky Tonky Town; Till We Meet Again.
Recorded live at WGBH, Boston, Oct. 29, 1973, and New England Life Hall, Boston,
Sept. 28, 1974.
Personnel: Tony Pringle, cornet, leader; Stan McDonald, clarinet & soprano sax;
Stan Vincent, trombone; Peter Bullis, banjo, manager; Bob Pilsbury, piano; C. H.
“Pam” Pameijer, drums; Eli Newberger, tuba. Add Gil Roberts, banjo and vocal on
last five tracks.
This is the second in a series of fourteen limited edition CD’s, reissuing material by the band
that previously appeared on LP’s—mainly on their own label but also on a few other small
labels, such as Philo, Philips, and Dirty Shame—and on cassette tapes. Some of these
cassettes were issued simultaneously with the LP’s but also contained additional tracks.
Other cassettes with different material were issued in that format only. When the company
that produced the cassettes went out of business, the digital masters were returned to the
band. These form the basis of most of the material on this CD set.
This particular CD is a reprise of the LP by the same title, with one track from the LP (Black
Eagle Skuffle) omitted and the last six tracks on the CD added from another concert
performance to augment the playing time. The following are some comments on some of the
tracks on this recording.
The disc opens with Wild Man Blues, replete with its many breaks—one of Morton’s
“signatures”—which are taken by several different instruments. MacDonald takes those on
the opening and closing ensembles as well as those where he plays lead, and he
demonstrates his range as he covers all of the registers. Pilsbury takes the second run
through and provides a great variety in the breaks from single-finger-note runs to block
chords, the latter with increasing crescendo, which adds to the excitement. Finally, Pringle’s
cornet in the next ride gently massages the breaks with a breathy piano to pianissimo range.
The next tune, I Found a New Baby, is taken at a fast tempo, led by soprano sax. This is
aided and enhanced by the straight four of the tuba, which Newberger manages thanks to his
mastery of circular breathing. The track cooks all the way. It is followed by the lovely I’m
Travellin’, a slow gospel tune that is not in the repertoire of most jazz bands these days.
Pilsbury’s piano solo is a thing of beauty, and Pameijer’s muffled tom tom accents laid down
behind Pringle’s cornet solo are just right. Another slow tune follows, Lil Hardin’s Skit-Dat-
De-Dat. The opening statement is made by cornet and then, in turn, by clarinet, piano, and
trombone, with a tom tom roll being featured on the crescendo of the ride out, making for a
very satisfying rendition of this emotionally charged tune.
You Made Me Love You is not the You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It), the 1913
pop song by James V. Monaco and Joseph McCarthy, but rather the one by Percy Venable and
Louis Armstrong. Somewhat in the same vein, Wild Cat Blues is often wrongly attributed to
Sidney Bechet since his recording of it is seen by many as definitive. Actually it was written
by Clarence Williams and Fats Waller. Here Stan MacDonald is featured on soprano sax à la
Next, Snag It brings the tempo back to a sedate level. A King Oliver composition, it features
cornet, as might be expected, but there is also thoughtful tuba soloing in its midst. Pringle
takes the breaks leading up to the coda with aplomb. It is followed by the finale of this 1973
recording session, a rousing rendition off Wilbur de Paris’ Wrought Iron Rag. It is taken at a
breathtaking tempo, with Newberger again doing the impossible by playing a straight
four/four without stopping to take a breath. The extremely fast tempo is maintained without
flagging or any band member’s getting lost—truly a tour de force, as the audience’s rousing
The last six tracks feature a banjo player, Gil Roberts (1896-2002), who goes “’way back,”
according to the Rev. A. L. Kershaw’s introduction. It seems at one time or another he played
with Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and Tommy Ladnier—impressive credentials, one
might say. At the time of this recording he was in his late seventies, and I have no idea how
he sounded in his prime as he made no recordings with the afore-mentioned jazz pioneers.
Apparently he was inactive musically for many years until discovered by Stan MacDonald
and encouraged to resume playing banjo. He was then “adopted” by the New Black Eagles
and appeared with them on numerous occasions, including this one.
Having said all of that, I must confess that I was not particularly struck by his playing. It
had a little too much of the “vaudevillian” about it for my taste—one might think a little of
Ikey Robinson. He is much given to single string runs, both ascending and descending, and
interjected “yesses” and other expressions of encouragement. On some tracks, he sings or
partly sings/partly speaks the words. Without wishing to sound harsh, I don’t think he adds
a great deal, but it was a kind gesture by the band to give this veteran player some
recognition. I was a little surprised, too, that Someday Sweet Heart on track #10 is simply a
repetition of that which follows Kershaw’s introduction on track #9.
This CD provides over an hour of enjoyable New Orleans-style jazz in typical New Black
Eagles fashion. This CD provides almost an hour of pure pleasure, a cornucopia of New
According to the band, ordering information is as follows:
The 14 CDs are a set only in that they represent 14 reissues of LPs and Cassettes from the
earlier days of the Black Eagles. We have not priced them as a set and have typically sold
them as individual items. You can find them by going to -
To the right of the window you will see four lists - aisle 1, 2, 3 and 4. Click on aisle 2 and
you will have an order form listing all 14 of the CDs.