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May First Tuesday @ Banter engages crowd

May 2, 2012
May 1, 2012  by

Mister Joe & Friends

Strictly Dixie members collaborate with Mr. Joe, playing  Mayday First Tuesday at Banter Bistro Denton.

It’s the first day of May and the First Tuesday at Banter Bistro in Denton, Texas. We’re already streaming and steaming in typical foreshadowing of Summer. Captain Dave (Hume) and Mister Joe (Pinson) sit on the front row along with banjoist, George Merritt. They serve on the front lines of Strictly Dixie, Denton’s foremost Dixieland Jazz band and front runner to the Not So Hot Klub who is coming later tonight to the same stage.

Veteran member of both bands, Andy Cooper sits in the audience just 48 hours after gracing Denton Arts and Jazz Fest as arguably the most noteworthy artist of the festival.

Mr. Joe sings with an ever youthful voice, Up a Lazy River as meters shift more frequently than does the key. Other tunes include Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey, All of Me, When the Saints Go Marching In, …. well, too many to list.

Jeffrey Barnes stands behind Captain Dave and Mr. Joe with George Merritt – (photo above).

If you missed Strictly Dixie this Tuesday, I hope it wasn’t because you thought you’d make it next month. That excuse is not only lame but it never ends. Please, make an evening stroll down the sidewalks of Denton’s historic district to Banter Bistro. Don’t forget to bring a little for the wait staff, the musicians and your appetite. Banter Bistro offers a hefty assortment of high-quality, healthful food. (This writer just finished the best bowl of chili Denton has to offer.)

Le Not So Hot Klub du Denton

Le Not So Hot Klub du Denton lights the night with Gypsy Swing at May’s First Tuesday at Banter Bistro Denton.

The First Tuesday, the first of May. It’s Mayday and the Not So Hot Klub du Denton is the featured band at Banter Bistro in Denton. The group’s founding leader, Andy Cooper is visiting town tonight just for the event. Thad Bonduris leads the group of masters of the Gypsy Jazz-style ala Django Reinhardt.

Starting the evening with Andy Cooper’s favorite kickoff tune, Douce Ambiance, the band wows its audience with solos on guitar as well as flute, saxophone, accordion, violin, even upright bass and trap set. (We still miss the clarinet of Andy Cooper but that by no means indicates a lacking of talent.)

The band features:

  • Thad Bonduris, guitar and vocals
  • Jeffrey Barnes, soprano sax, clarinet, flute and harmonica
  • Maristella Fuestle, guitar
  • Leon Peek, guitar
  • Austin Smith, violin
  • Ginny Mac, voice and accordian
  • Jacob Appelt, bass
  • Steven Prouty, drums

Also tonight, the audience was treated by a guest appearance by vocalist Kimberly Cooper (daughter of Andy). Kimberly sang a wonderful arrangement of The Nearness of You in tribute to her mother and father on the front row. Her verses were set amongst solos from various members of the band.

Ginny Mac

Wonderful arrangements followed such as a version of Dark Eyes that sounded more of an Eastern European, Klezmer gypsy style of music as opposed to Parisian jazz — a fitting tribute to Django’s lineage. All this was very well suited to the instrumentation and superbly executed by such flexible and eclectic musicians as the Not Sos are known to be.

Other tunes included Under the Paris Sky, Avalon (with an amazing cadenza by Austin Smith), Manoir de mes rêves , Swing 42 and many more.

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