I suspect that the Rhythmic Eight is far better known to listeners in the United Kingdom than in the United States — but I hope to rectify that a bit with this post.
They were a small hot unit of players drawn from the best English dance / hot dance bands of the time, and although the musicians were working with pop tunes of the day, their recordings had a good deal of heat and a solid proportion of solo work — with some rewarding influence from the best American hot players of the day — people we know as Bix, Tram, and Red . . .
This tribute, created and performed on Sunday, November 6, at the 2011 Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party, features Mauro Porro, saxophone and vocal on GIRLFRIEND and ANNABELLE; Andy Schumm, Andy Woon, trumpets; Keith Nichols, piano; Jean-Francois Bonnel, reeds; Martin Wheatley, banjo and guitar; Richard Pite, sousaphone and string bass; Debbie Arthurs, drums, with an appearance by Mike Piggott, violin, on CAROLINE, and a vocal on I”M CRAZY OVER YOU (first recorded in 1928 by the youthful Bing Crosby) by Caroline Irwin. And some dancers — Bridget and Jonathan — who should be easily recognizable to you by now.
IS SHE MY GIRLFRIEND? (Elin):
MISS ANNABELLE LEE (Thorbye):
WAY BACK WHEN (Elin):
THERE’S A CRADLE IN CAROLINE (Elin):
I’M CRAZY OVER YOU (Elin):
My tribute to this group is that when I visited Amoeba Music in San Francisco not long ago, I saw a two-CD set on the Retrieval label of the best 48 recordings by the Rhythmic Eight — a set that Mauro had recommended . . . I own it now. Thanks also to our benefactors, Elin Smith and Flemming Thorbye!