Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dixie Land Jazz From The Dixiedelics

The Dixiedelics 
Live at Steamers 
Independent Label 
Available at
Five Scoops of Bosco 

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco 

If there is ever a sweeter sound than hearing the Dixie Jazz Stylings of The Dixiedelics on a Sunday afternoon in my hometown of Fullerton, I don't know what it is.

This style of music, besides being an American original, evokes memories of an era gone by.  It's usually a joyous and happy sound and like comedian Steve Martin is fond of saying, "It's hard to play a sad song with a banjo"

For me I think about the trips to Disneyland as a kid,  where I first heard this music coming from venues like the Carnation Plaza on Main Street or the Horseshoe Revue in Frontierland.

The Dixiedelics is a seven-piece jazz band consisting of cornet, clarinet/sax, trombone, banjo, tuba, piano, and drums.

They play in Fullerton every other Sunday at Steamers Jazz Cafe (In fact they have a 1 PM show Sunday at 12.23.12)  and on Friday nights at Bourbon Street.

Thank goodness the group has put their music on an album and it's definitely a must listen.  The album entitled The Dixiedelics: Live at Steamers is available online at

The style of traditional jazz that Dixiedelics played is inspired by the great jazz masters of the 1920's including King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Bix Beiderbecke and others.

While much of the repertoire in their live show and on this album is from the 1920's, they also have interesting spins on the Beatles "When I'm 64" and the Star Wars Cantina song on this album.

Cornet player Steve Kraus, reed man Dave Kraus, piano player Kurt Wahl, and drummer Rich Arbuckle all began playing early jazz as members of the Fullerton College group The Lemon Street Stompers.

After college, while involved in other pursuits, musical and otherwise, the friends played together only occasionally, but enough to keep their interest in making music alive.

Other musicians were added along the way: Bob Aul on tuba, is also an authority about the jazz age.  Jerry Wheeler on trombone and vocals – was a college mate of Steve Kraus and was a singer with the The Poxy Boggards.

Bob Scarano, banjo/guitarist, Tim Catlin on drums,  John Kraus and Bobby Henry on banjo round out the group.

Since 2007, the Dixiedelics have been a regular feature at Steamers Jazz Club and Bourbon Street Restaurant in downtown Fullerton, California.

Nothing beats seeing them live, but the album is a good alternative between the shows.

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