Friday, April 8, 2016

Memories of A Jazz Journalist - Part Eleven - Jimmy Mazzy by George A. Borgman

Mazzy in 2013.
Banjoist/singer Jimmy Mazzy has led his own groups in the Boston area and worked with many jazz bands in the United States, and he is well known and appreciated in Europe where he has appeared on tour with tubaist Eli Newberger and clarinetist Joe Muranyi. (These three can be heard together on the Stomp Off CDs Shake It Down and  Halfway To Heaven.)

Newberger has been with the famous New Black Eagle Jazz Band for more than 25 years, and Muranyi toured with Louis Armstrong's All Stars from 1967 to '71 and has worked with many of the top jazz artists from New York City and elsewhere.

Mazzy has a unique singing style that displays fervor, passion, and love for the tunes, and at times he gives a little shout that has been compared, perhaps inaccurately, as similar to the rebel yell used in the Civil War, but it would probably be better to term it the Mazzy shout. Some listeners compare Mazzy's singing to that of black blues singers, but it is more like that of white singers from Appalachia, whether singing folk-like tunes or the blues. No matter what it might be called, Mazzy's vocalizing with the support of his wonderful banjo playing, is superb and exquisite, like a well-cut diamond.

In this low-resolution video from 1996 Mazzy plays "Viper Mad" with Joe Muranyi and Eli Newberger.

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