First, a little context. On the evening of November 7, 2014, I and many other delighted souls were midway through the Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party at the Village Hotel Newcastle — when someone in the hotel detected a fire (emanating from the Victory Pub, appropriately the scene of unfettered after-hours hot music).
We were all hustled out of the hotel and stood in the parking lot for nearly an hour until the fire brigade had satisfied themselves that the fire was out. For reasons unknown to us all, we were allowed back into the main ballroom (where the music had been taking place) but by a side entrance, rendering the familiar landscape a bit odd.
I had left my video equipment in the ballroom, and when I’d found a seat, the impromptu band (Spats Langham, banjo; David Boeddinghaus, piano; Malcolm Sked, string bass; Josh Duffee, drums; Andy Schumm, Enrico Tomasso, cornet; later joined by Alistair Allan, trombone) was rocking its way through EVERYBODY LOVES MY BABY, which I caught the end of. Disregard the parade of people, for the music is certainly there:
Then, Spats — equal parts wicked satirist and deep romantic, gathered the troops and launched into a song, with no announcement. Here’s his magical mixture of affectionate light-hearted recreation and astonishing vocal impersonation:
I love it.
I couldn’t make up my mind whether to call this post MR. INK SPOT or (perhaps reaching too far) THE INK SPATS. The music counts for more than any witticisms.
And if you’ve never seen this video (so very touching) here’s Spats, two nights later, performing NIGHT OWL:
And festival promoters here and abroad: hire Mr. Thomas “Spats” Langham: vocal, comedy, sentiment, swing, guitar, ukulele, banjo, scholarship, and crowd control. You’ll get more than your money’s worth. He and his friends will be at the 2015 Mike Durham Classic Jazz Party (November 6-8) and we hope that this time the only hot thing will be the music.
May your happiness increase!