Classic New Orleans jazz swings through Vernon

Classic New Orleans jazz swings through Vernon

It all started by busking on the bustling streets of Sydney, Australia

It all started by busking on the bustling streets of Sydney, Australia.

With Down-Under roots and a post-war New Orleans jazz sound, the Milk Crate Bandits have worked their way up north, eventually settling in to the Vancouver jazz scene. And it’s a history the Bandits are bringing to Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo Thursday, Nov. 9.

“People asked what our name was, and we used to steal milk crates to sit on and play, so we took on the name Milk Crate Bandits,” said founding-member and Australian product Jack Ray of his and saxophonist Chris O’Dea’s formative years.

Now nestled in Vancouver’s vibrant eastern quarters, the Bandits are gearing up for their first ever Canadian tour, falling on the heels of the band’s debut EP, The Neighbourhood.

“It all kind of worked out with the timing,” Ray said. “We recorded two EPs down in New Orleans — first The Neighbourhood and the other is just about to come out.”

The View From Out Here, slated to drop Nov. 7, features New Orleans jazz legend Kevin Louis on trumpet and embodies the region’s iconic ’20s jazz vibe.

“It’s period-based,” Ray said, adding that the Bandits play hits from era-legends in their live sets. “We also wrote a lot of original music in that style.”

Drawing inspiration from jazz standards such as Basin Street Blues — Spencer William’s 1928 hit recorded by Louis Armstrong that tells of the main street of turn-of-the-century New Orleans’ red light district — Ray and O’dea took it upon themselves to compose a jazz track about their Sydney stomping grounds.

“Our King of King Street song is in the vein of a lot of the old jazz guys who wrote about the streets they lived on,” Ray said, adding that their repertoire has grown to include ditties about their new home in East Vancouver.

It’s a classic sound the Bandits are thrilled to share with Vernon audiences.

“This is our first time in Vernon,” Ray said. “I’m excited — we’ve heard good things. The Gallery Vertigo has been very supportive as well.”

The Bandit’s touring lineup features Australian circus and jazz show Scotch and Soda member O’Dea, Canadian trombonist Brad Shigeta of The Ellington Band and The Illinois Jacquet Band fame, Island-born bassist Jen Hodge and Ray — lauded as the future of jazz banjo by Woody Allen’s banjoist Eddy Davis.

“The band is really something I’m proud of,” Ray said, adding that the group has been together for about two years. “It’s really an honour to be playing with Brad and Jen.”

With their critically-acclaimed lineup, the Bandits boast a deep-rooted sound that still shakes the stage today.

“It’s fun. It’s joyous. It’s high-energy,” Ray said of the Milk Crate Bandit’s live performance. “It’s mostly acoustic and it resonates a lot with those young and old.”

And for the Aussie who began jamming on the guitar at four-years-old, that’s what it’s all about.

“What I’ve always loved about music is giving back what music has given to me,” Ray said. “It really feels like I’m reciprocating that love that music gave me.”

The Milk Crate Bandits are reigniting ’20s New Orleans jazz at Gallery Vertigo Nov. 9. Doors open at 7 p.m. Music is at 8 p.m. Tickets are available for $15 pre-sale at The Bean Scene Coffee House and A&E Consignments, or for $20 at the door. The Bandits play The Forum in Kelowna Nov. 11. For more information and tickets to the Kelowna show, visit www.milkcratebandits.com.

Just Posted

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

(Contributed)
Collision slows rush hour traffic in Kelowna

Expect delays at K.L.O. Road and Richter Street on your commute Tuesday evening

A conceptual render of the proposed building at 955 Manhattan Drive. (Contributed)
Height not wanted on Kelowna’s Manhattan Drive

City staff said proposed five-storey building poses challenges

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

Kelowna General Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna General Hospital declared over

Three people tested positive for the virus — two patients and one staff — one of whom died

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Vernon-Monashee NDP MLA Harwinder Sandhu supported a motion in the B.C. legislature for Canada to create a national Indigenous History month Monday, June 13, 2021. (Contributed)
Canada needs a national Indigenous History Month, Vernon MLA agrees

Harwinder Sandhu supports motion to recognize June as month to advance reconciliation efforts with First Nations

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Facebook)
New trial date set for Penticton beach attacker’s triple assault charges

May trial was delayed after Crown witnesses failed to show up

Orange ribbons are tied to the fence outside Vernon’s Gateway Homeless Shelter on 33rd Street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
POLL: Low-key Canada Day in the works for Vernon

Councillor calling for Indigenous recognition for 2022

A conceptual design of Vernon’s new Active Living Centre, which will go to referendum Oct. 15, 2022. (Rendering)
Active living centre 2022 referendum planned in Vernon

City hoping to get Coldstream and Areas B and C back on board

Closure of the 2900 block of 30th Avenue will allow restaurants and other businesses to extend their patios onto the street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Green light given to downtown Vernon road closure

Single block of 30th Avenue to close over summer months to boost business

Graduating Grade 12 student Savannah Lamb has been awarded an approximate $40,000 scholarship from the Beedie Luminaries foundation. (Contributed)
Dedicated Salmon Arm student earns scholarship to pursue post-secondary education

Savannah Lamb is graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary with a $40,000 scholarship

Most Read