Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Beau Hunks Redux

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

Our latest video is a tribute to the Holland-based Beau Hunks who perform Blue Skies as its audio track.

I sometimes wonder what the place of the saxophone would have been in the world of music had it not been for Jazz?

What these guys play takes a tremendous amount of technique developed through years of disciplined practice and rehearsal, not to mention having a fair amount of creative talent in the first place. 

The group’s choice of music may sound corny by today’s standards, but I doubt that very many of today’s saxophonists could read and play this music. We also own them quite a debt of gratitude for restoring and recreating some of the earliest Jazz forms.

The Beau Hunks were our first features on Jazz repertory which Jeff Sutanoff defines in Bill Kirchner, ed., The Oxford Companion to Jazz [New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, pp. 512-521] as:

“The phrase ‘jazz repertory’ has many definitions and dimensions. Perhaps the most basic is: the study, preservation and performance of the many diverse musical styles in jazz. In recent years, the phrase most often applies to big bands and jazz ensembles performing classic and new music written for reeds, brass, and rhythm section in various sizes and combinations.” [p.512]:

You can find our earlier profiles on the Beau Hunks by going here and here.

Here's a quick overview of the group by Jason Ankeny:

Dutch film music revivalists the Beau Hunks formed in 1992 with the express purpose of re-creating the classic scores of producer Hal Roach's Depression-era comedies. With a fluctuating lineup including trumpeter Menno Daams, saxophonists Ronald Jansen Heijtmajer and Robert Veen, trombonist Jilt Jansma, tuba player Peter Stove, guitarist Ton van Bergeijk, bassist Gert-Jan Blom, pianists Jakob Klaasse and Jan Robijns, violinists Ilona de Groot and Tineke de Jong, drummer Louis Debij, and researcher Piet Schreuders, the orchestra sought inspiration in the work of Leroy Shield and T. Marvin Hatley, the Hal Roach Studios staff composers responsible for writing the familiar scores of the comedies of Laurel & Hardy and the Our Gang/Little Rascals troupe. With the original recordings and sheet music long lost, the Beau Hunks painstakingly transcribed new arrangements for their acclaimed 1994 release The Beau Hunks Play the Original Little Rascals Music. They expanded their scope on subsequent efforts, including 1995's Celebration on the Planet Mars: A Tribute to Raymond Scott, 1998's The Modern American Music of Ferde Grofé, and 1999's Saxophone Soctette (a tribute to Paul Whiteman). Our Relations appeared in early 2001.