MY TALENT scout, Graeme, this morning (Saturday 4 February) alerted me to a fascinating item on Radio National’s Music Show: an interview with Sydney trombonist, Lucian McGuiness, the creator of Salvation Street Shout, a trombone shout band which owes much to the traditional pentecostal church bands of the eastern US.
Led by McGuiness and featuring some of Sydney’s finest trombone players and sousaphonists, Salvation Street Shout is inspired by jazz, blues, Dixileand, gospel and old-time spirituals.
The shout bands were one of three elements which influenced McGuiness to form Salvation Street Shout. On his website, lucianmcguiness.com, McGuiness explains the origins of his “brass choir”:
My concept behind this project is a mix of a few loves: North Carolina shout bands, Sam Cooke’s work with the Soul Stirrers (which is analagous to a vocal shout band -joyous upbeat gospel), and other non-gospel vocal works that transpose well to a brass choir; in particular Brian Wilson’s accapella arrangements for The Beach Boys, and a few late-19th century tin-pan-alley “coon-songs” which are equally beautiful.
Here are some of the well-known musicians who play with The Shout:
Grant Arthur trombone/sousaphone, Dan Barnett trombone, Jamie Cameron drums. Sam Golding trombone/sousaphone, John Hibbard trombone, Daev Panichi trombone, Mike Raper trombone and Alex Silver trombone.
And here’s a video taken by Joanne Kee of the group playing Walkin’ in the Water
To learn more about trombone shout bands, I took McGuiness’s advice and turned to an article by Craig Kridel titled Kenny Carr and the Tigers: An Introduction to Pentecostal Brass Shout Bands. This is on the Berlioz Historical Brass website which is a mine of fascinating information on brass musical instruments.
Quoting from this article:
With its sousaphone and baritone, the trombone shout band is representative of the worship services of the United House of Prayer, a Pentecostal denomination common on the east coast of the United States and quite active in the Greensboro, Winston Salem, and Charlotte areas of North Carolina.
“Shout” describes the singing style and form of worship in many African American religious denominations….
The shout band style is up tempo, duple meter, bright, responsive to the congregation, and incorporates a chordal wall of sound as players form a semi circle with the leader playing and directing in front.
The musical form consists of three sections:
The recitative, played by the lead trombone in a slow improvisatory manner, constituting a “call” for which the row tenor trombones play a fundamental chord progression.
The second section, described by Damon (1999) as the aria, establishes tempo and sets the melody through repeated and then ornamented verses.
The third section is “the shout,” with a call response pattern and a rhythmic cadence called “backtimin” or “polin” where the sousaphone, plays a walking bass line..
The Tigers Shout Band is one of the leading exponents of this style of music and is now inter-denominational. Here they play at the University of South Carolina in 2001.
And finally, a church service with a shout band in one of the many places of worship of the United House of Prayer for All People.