The Tenement Jazz Band: Last Jazz out of Dodge

The Tenement Jazz Band is so trad that it’s barely even online, despite being only a two-year-old project with a mostly thirty-something line-up. Google them and you won’t find much—so it was enlightening to sit down and chat with the Edinburgh-based players about their bold quest to be old-school yet inventive, quirky yet danceable. They’re clearly succeeding: what you won’t learn from TJB’s bare-bones website is that they’ve played jazz clubs the length and breadth of Britain, gigged in Norway, supported US singing sensation Meschiya Lake, and are fast becoming favorites on the UK swing dance circuit. They were riding high in March of this year, part way through a twenty-four-date tour, when the you-know-what shut down Scotland’s entertainment industry. And with that country reacting with more conviction than its English neighbor, it’s no wonder TJB are calling themselves the “last jazz out of Dodge”—for a while, at least. Fortunately, they just managed to squeeze a live album out of their paused tour, of which more later. But just who are the TJB, and how did they get here? The project was born in a shady corner of The Jazz Bar—Edinburgh’s busiest syncopation destination—the brainchild of self-taught trombonist Patrick Darley. “I grew up in Sheffield and started playing when I was fifteen,” said Patrick. “My brother joined a marching band and t
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Dave Doyle is a swing dancer, dance teacher, and journalist based in Gloucestershire, England. Write him at [email protected]. Find him on Twitter @DaveDoyleComms.

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