SQUIRREL HILL OLDE TYME BAND
SQUIRREL HILL JAZZ BAND
The Squirrel Hill Jazz Band was formed in 1996 by rhythm banjoist, I. I. L. “Lorrie” Howe Carmichael of Wayland, MA. Her discovery of an old trunk full of instruments, belonging to the grandfather who played drums with Neil O’Brian’s Minstrel Band of Boston, drew her to the colorful world of musicians.
Lorrie began playing tunes on the harmonica and ukulele as a young child, knowing that she loved music, but not fully understanding the “gift” of “playing by ear”.
While raising a family and working part time as a Speech Therapist, Lorrie enrolled in a Traditional Jazz Workshop in Concord, MA, taught by Larry Zuk, leader of The New New Orleans Jazz Band. This “hands on” Traditional Jazz Class has brought many excellent musicians together over the years and the experience influenced her decision to form the band.
The repertoire of the Squirrel Hill Jazz Band includes Traditional Jazz and “Good Time” music. The appeal of this music, primarily from the “Roaring Twenties Era”, reaches audiences of all ages because it reflects both a spirit of “optimism” and “spontaneity”. The jazz form, in tunes similar to Honeysuckle Rose, were popularized when bands like Bing Crosby’s Rhythm Boys performed them. Five Foot Two, Baby Face and Crazy Rhythm emphasizes the new “syncopated” beat of that era.
Squirrel Hill musicians play and sing a number of these tunes at their performances and welcome audience participation with sing-along medleys and dancing.
Strutting to music with decorated umbrellas, an old New Orleans tradition, has been well received at Squirrel Hill concerts. Three or four ladies from the audience, shy at first, “strut their stuff” while the band plays a tune called Bourbon Street Parade.
Supporting and inspiring “the gift of music” in young musicians has been a special project with our band and students have been invited to sit in during performances. Squirrel Hill led interactive concerts with “student musicians” at the Sherborn 1858 Town House for several years . It is exciting to know that there are talented, young musicians, encouraged by parents, to follow in our “musical” footsteps.
It is a privilege to work with members of the Squirrel Hill JB as each musician contributes immeasurably, not only with expertise on his or her instrument, but also with creative ideas for tune arrangements.
CD05: SQUIRRELS ON A JAZZ HOLIDAY