Seven dyed-in-the-wool musical conservatives, the Black Eagle Jazz Band, offered a program of 1920s and early '30s materials Saturday night at the Alexandria's Old Town Ramada Inn, capturing the essence of the idiom while asserting that the re-creation of early classic jazz need be neither hackneyed nor imitative.
Indeed, this busy Boston-based and world-traveled exemplar of the traditional genre can be cited as one of the most creative groups in jazz today though they play within the confines of styles fixed five and six decades ago. They deserve a much wider hearing in this area than that from the cognoscenti and faithful who attended the concert-dance.
Playing to a crowded hall of Potomac River Jazz Club members and guests, the band served up heated, polyphonic versions of, for example, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton and Jabbo Smith compositions with a supercharged drive felt equally on stomps and slow blues.
The raggy cornet breaks of leader Tony Pringle on "Tears" echoed Oliver in his prime, and Hugh Blackwell's soprano saxophone feature, "I Remember When," was delivered with Sidney Bechet-like lyricism and a mere hint of that master's throaty vibrato. "Yearning" was marked by an elusive melancholy, while "Blue Blood Blues" showcased a rollicking solo by extrovert tuba player Eli Newberger. Stan Vincent was on trombone, Bob Pilsbury at the piano, Peter Bullis on banjo and Cornelis H. "Pam" Pameijer at the drums.