Ben Cummings (t) Ned Bennett (reeds) Jeff Williams (tr) Colin Good (p) Jerome Davies (b) Matt Skelton (d)
The Harlem Meer Cats was formed in response to a commission from the 2014 Dulwich Festival, London. Incorporating some of London’s finest specialists in early jazz, the band aims to play music from the repertoire of the Duke Ellington Orchestra from the 1920’s, 30’s and early 40’s. Despite the streamlined six-piece line-up of sax/clarinet, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass and drums, Ned Bennett’s adaptations and arrangements sound full, varied and authentic.
Many pieces in the band’s repertoire are in Duke’s Jungle style, such as Black and Tan Fantasy, Echoes of Harlem, Caravan, and East St Louis Toodle-Oo. Others are well-known swing tunes in a variety of tempos, including Mood Indigo, Drop Me Off in Harlem, and Jubilee Stomp. Vocals are included in a few of these, although most of the band’s repertoire is instrumental.
Each member of the Harlem Meer Cats was chosen for his great musicianship and style. Right from the first note of our first gig, it was evident how well the musicians would gel as an ensemble, yet with jazz soloing as good as any you may wish to hear.
With the music as our highest priority, The Harlem Meer Cats will bring something very special to any venue. Authenticity does not tame our natural desire to play exciting and energetic jazz!