This is the infamous New Reformation Jazz Band “Lithuanian set” from 1986. Bandleader Dave Tatrow decided at the last minute to riff on the importation of foreign talent to fill out festival rosters by adopting an Eastern European alter ego. The thing about opening a show with such a device is that the audience isn’t going to let you drop it. Tatrow had to continue his banter through the whole set and bring the rest of the band along for the ride.
The result was fortuitously captured by a super fan, Uncle Bob, who had set up a microphone on his table before dozing off. Aside from an unusual amount of audience laughter you would never guess the recording was made so primitively. The sense that you are in the audience, and in on the gag, is what really brings joy to this CD. I especially enjoyed “St. James Infirmary” and “Down in Jungletown.”
The music itself is lively and played as straight as they can muster. Maybe with an even bigger smile than their usual set. Longtime fans will love this album and anyone else who stumbles upon it will be converted. For any super fans out there the liner notes describe a total of 16 NRB CD’s some live, some studio, spanning from 1973 to the present and all available at www.newref.com.
The New Reformation Jazz Band: Live at the Nugget