Black Eagle Jazz Band

When Your Hair Has Turned to Silver

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As great as their studio albums are, it's in a live setting that the Black Eagle Jazz Band really shine. And this recording has a particular sweetness to it, because the performance was organized to christen and celebrate the reconstruction of a beloved concert hall in Gretna, PA, where the band has an established one-weekend-per-summer gig. The band, which at the time of this recording had been playing together with only minor personnel changes for about 25 years, swings together with effortless grace, and their group improvisations are a thing of glistening, cascading joy. Part of what makes this album so much fun is the program itself, which is entirely lacking in potboiler material -- no "When the Saints Go Marching In," no "Basin Street Blues," but several wonderful Bunk Johnson obscurities and a rarely recorded Duke Ellington number are here, as well as a wonderful mid-tempo gospel number originally recorded by Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The sound quality is good, but one wishes the banjo and piano were a bit more audible. Highly recommended to all fans of traditional jazz.

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