Les Muscutt (bjo, gtr) – born Barrow-in-Furness, England June thirtieth 1941. Excellent jazzman, made himself a spot amongst high jazzmen in New Orleans through the 1970’s, notably with The French Market Jazz Band.
This merchandise from the revised version of “New Orleans Jazz – A Household Album” by Al Rose and Edmond Souchon (Printed by Louisiana State College Press, lengthy out of print and costing a fortune on eBay) provides a clue to the status of this excellent musician.
It isn’t simple to be accepted as a “brother” in New Orleans however Les Muscutt managed this with the dual qualities of his gently sunny character and his exceptional potential on the guitar and notably on the banjo. His retirement because of well being issues got here as a shock to everybody and I felt drawn to write down this text to encourage you to hearken to his enormous output and contribution to jazz and particularly to New Orleans Jazz. Les got here from a musical household and the present of a scruffy banjo and respectable “Concord” guitar led to his curiosity in music, and with BBC programmmes of dance music and jazz his destiny was sealed. When a pal of John Beecham’s rang the doorbell and requested if he wish to come and rehearse with a bunch and possibly play a couple of gigs he was hooked!
Les moved to Central London, the truth is Lisle Road in Soho.That was the hub of the jazz, blues, skiffle and folks scene. He obtained a job at 77 Charing Cross Highway – sure the legendary Dobell’s report store! Lots of their clients had been musicians, and Les’s first skilled job was with the Nat Gonella Band. Brief jobs with Acker Bilk, Cy Laurie, Terry Pitt and the London model of the Clyde Valley Stompers and over a 12 months with Clinton Ford and Charlie Gall’s Jazz Band. Jobs with the “Mike Cotton Sound” and Bruce Turner got here alongside, and all this time the standard of Les’s enjoying elevated.
Les was married to the wonderful “Babs” by this time and when a suggestion got here to play within the new franchise of “Your Father’s Moustache” in New York, it was too good to refuse. Many strikes to play for this franchise round the usA. adopted, and touring with a spouse and youngsters was a pricey enterprise. When the supply got here to open the franchise in New Orleans got here together with a level of permanency and as band chief, Les snapped it up
The opening of a “Purple Garter Membership” in New Orleans led to additional alternatives. Being a band chief in New Orleans is the important thing to the magic kingdom! The fantastic Freddie Lonzo obtained his first jobs with Les, then got here Maynard Chatters and Paul Crawford. The trick with the “Moustache” and “Purple Garter” was to know nearly each track ever written and Les had discovered this potential. The three chord trick was gone and Les the grasp musician was right here in New Orleans.
On these jobs, amount was important – they lasted 5 or typically six hours an evening – however Les had the added asset of high quality so as to add to the amount! Les was the chief of the band six nights every week and on his evening off, Emmanuel Sayles led the band. Attempt a CD entitled “Banjos on Bourbon” – ADD.NOBILITY 701 with Manny Sayles, Narvin Kimball and Jerry Inexperienced for a style of Banjo music on the Purple Garter.
Through the intervals at his Bourbon Road gigs, Les would wander across the nook to St. Peter Road and Preservation Corridor. He began enjoying with Child Sheik’s band on the Corridor and labored with many bands on Bourbon Road, together with the Well-known Door and with Connie Jones’s Band.
Within the Al Rose/Ed Souchon guide is a good image of the “French Market Jazz Band”. I requested Les about this; he stated “it was a beautiful approach to spend the weekend! The band comprised of principally band leaders, individuals liked the jazz, threw cash into the kitty and we had loads of cash for beer and we had a good time with a bit of cash to take residence to our wives to show we had been working!”
When Nina Buck opened “The Palm Court docket Cafe”, Les performed with the band led by Louis Nelson.. When Nelson died in 1988 Pud Brown took over and when Pud died, Brian O”Connell took the clarinet chair, Lionel Ferbos performed the trumpet and Les turned band chief and maintained this place till his retirement early this 12 months.
For a lot of 12 months Les did a summer season tour within the U.Ok. with Chris Burke. This was made doable by a profitable go to to Norway with Chris after which a visit to the U.Ok. to fulfill up with outdated buddies and play a couple of gigs. In actual fact, Les was within the U.Ok. when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and he hurried residence to search out his Babs evacuated to the nation to keep away from the dreadful scenario in New Orleans.
In 2001, Les needed to have open coronary heart surgical procedure. He by no means fully recovered and it caused his eventual retirement. He misplaced feeling in two fingers on his left hand and even after intensive physiotherapy, he needed to admit defeat!
I have to inform you that even with this downside, I’ve listened many nights and loved his very good enjoying, however Les is a perfectionist and as he stated to me “I simply obtained fed up with faking and realizing that I used to be not capable of do what I needed to do.” So the banjo sits in its case and is lifted in order that Babs can clear beneath it!
There are such a lot of CDs with Les Muscutt on them that I’m nearly scared to pick out, however right here goes: 504CDS 100 “The 504 Information Story 1978-2003 ” This offers a cross part of bands that Les recorded with. 504CDS8 with Wendell Eugene’s Band; that is one in all Les’s favourites – Albert Walters (tpt), Raymond Burke (clt) Janette Kimball (Pno), Chester Zardis (Bass) and Chester Jones (Drums)
Les performed on a Doc Cheatham and Nicholas Payton report on the Verve label which was a Grammy Award winner.
Lastly, one in all Les’s favourites is a CD on the Jazzology label JCD-233 titled “Swinging All the way down to New Orleans”once more that includes the legendary Doc Cheatham.
Should you come to New Orleans you’ll not discover Les Muscutt on a bandstand anyplace. You would possibly spot him on a particular evening on the Palm Court docket Cafe, or if you’re out fishing on the lake, the man subsequent to you catching the large catfish could possibly be Les Muscutt!