Thomas “Spats” Langham is unmatched at what he does — and he does so many things superbly that it’s always a pleasure to encounter him. His energies, his sharp wit, his swing, his lyricism, his delightful acting: there are no blank spaces to fill in. I first met him at Mike Durham’s Classic Jazz Party in 2009, and he was a joy every year. So it’s a great happy surprise to see these four video performances from the Classic Jazz Concert Club in Sassenheim, the Netherlands, on October 27, 2018.
Mister Langham can be heard and seen here on guitar, banjo, ukulele, and vocals. He is joined by the delightful singer Emily Campbell; guitarist Danny Blyth; string bassist / sousaphonist Malcolm Sked; reed star Robert Fowler; percussion superhero Nick Ward.
TAKE ANOTHER GUESS was a hit in 1936 for Ella Fitzgerald and Helen Ward; here there are delightful vocal interpolations from the Combination:
Spats takes us on a wild romp through the song associated with Ukulele Ike, IT ALL BELONGS TO ME:
Emily comes back for BEI MIR BIS DU SCHOEN (with the verse, of course) — which is its own bowl of Swing borscht before long, with hints of SING SING SING in the clarinet-drums exploration:
Continuing the Asiatic nature of things, Spats sings EVER SINCE I KISSED HER ON THE VOLGA . . . make of that title what you will. I haven’t found out anything about this novelty, except to wonder what patrons at the back of the theater thought they heard of the title:
What a wonderful band. How rich an unexpected gift.
May your happiness increase!