The Email Special - Barcelona, Spain and more
2011 found The Email Special in Glasgow, Scotland, playing its 17th international gig at the Queen Margaret Union on the campus of the University of Glasgow. We had a fine turn-out, with Tony Stranges on vibes, his brother John Stranges on guitar, Hans-Jochim Braun on trumpet, Friedrich Naumann and Jeremy Kinney taking turns on the bass, Sue Horning on vocals, Chris Whitehouse from Glasgow filling in on drums and James Williams on piano. As an extra treat, Vassily Borisov from Russia joined the group to sing a couple of songs. Our next gig will be in July 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. (More photos)
In 2010 Tampere, Finland was the site of our 16th international appearance. We were a bit shorthanded, as our Friedrich Naumann (bass) and Michael Farrenkopf (drums) couldn't make it, nor could our vocalist, Sue Horning. So we were down to the core group: Tony Stranges on vibes, Hans-Joachim Braun on trumpet, James Williams at the piano. We were also joined by ICOHTEC member Outi Ampuja on guitar. Outi has played during our breaks before, doing her signature rock and roll and blues, but this time she played our regular sets, and it was lovely to have her steady rhythm guitar! And we were joined by two wonderful local musicians who filled in: Petri Makiharju on bass and Tyko Haapala on drums.
The Email Special returned to Budapest, Hungary, in August 2009. The Jazz Cafe, a tiny little cellar jazz club, was the site of our first gig in 1996. This year we stepped up a bit to the Budapest Jazz Club, and played a solid evening of standard jazz tunes. Hans-Joachim Braun on trumpet, Friedrich Naumann on bass, Tony Stranges on vibes, and Michael Farrenkopf on drums. It was a wonderful treat to return to our starting place, but we really missed Sue Horning, who was with us in '96.
In 2008, we met in Victoria, B.C. the first week of August 2008 to play the Thursday night jazz party at the ICOHTEC meeting. According to all who heard us, it was a fine gig, everybody playing tight. Dik Daso joined us for a second time on drums, Jeremy Kinney played bass, and Friedrich Naumann picked up the guitar. Tony, fully recovered from an illness during the past year, was hot on the vibes, Hans played a solid trumpet, and Sue sang brilliantly as always. Paul Ceruzzi sat in for a tune or two on harmonica! (More photos)
In 2007, we played two gigs. One in October was in Washington, D.C. for the Society for the History of Technology. We were short a couple of our regular members. Our European-based drummer and bass players couldn't make it, but Dik Daso sat in on drums and Jeremy Kinney took over on bass. Tony Stranges was scheduled to play vibes, but had to withdraw because of illness at the last moment. Vibe players are hard to come by, but we did find Robert Muncy, a brilliant local D.C. sax player to join us.
Our international group of musicians, all historians of technology, have played for the past eleven years at an annual international symposium. Playing jazz, we got our name, The Email Special, for two reasons: because we largely decide what to play and rehearse via email, and as a variation of "Air Mail Special," a tune made famous by Benny Goodman.
Six years later, at the first European meeting of another history of technology group in Upsalla, Sweden in 1992, I played with a pick-up group of folks in a pub that the conference took over as its "hospitality suite," and there played for the first time with Hans-Joachim Braun from Hamburg, Germany.
Hans suggested a couple of years later that we organize a jazz group, a task which he took on with great success. We debuted in 1996 in Budapest, in a jazz club that Hans had arranged to take over for the evening. I still have the recording that one of our friends made on a little portable tape recorder.
Thus far, we've played seventeen cities in fifteen countries in fifteen years - in Summer 2012 we plan to play at the ICOHTEC meeting in Barcelona, Spain.
1996 Budapest, Hungary
1997 Pasadena, California, USA
1999 Belfort, France
2000 Prague, The Czech Republic
2002 Granada, Spain
2004 Bochum, Germany
2005 Beijing, China
2007 Copenhagen, Denmark (photos)
2007 Washington, D.C., USA (photos)
2008 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (photos)
2009 Budapest, Hungary (photos)
2010 Tampere, Finland