The Email Special - Brasov, Romania and all other other gigs back to 1996 ...
I missed the jazz session in Tel Aviv, Israel, in August 2014. Some of our regulars - Hans, Sue, Tony and our Russian colleague Vasily (shown signing in the photo to the right) - were there and they were joined by players from a local group in Tel Aviv. Next year we meet in Porto, Portugal the end of July, and I plan on being there.
In Brasov, Romania, 1 August 2014, our most recent traditional Jazz Night took place at Beraria Ciucas, just behind the stylish Coroana Hotel. With support from local musicians, the group made a big splash! Jazz Night at Beraria Ciucas, Brasov, Romania. James Williams didn't make it this year, but Tony Stranges on vibes anchored the group. Hans played trumpet, Panu Nykanen joined us for the second time on saxophone, Alexia Sofia Papazafeiropoulou from Greece took James's place on the keyboard and shared it with a local player, and a local drummer filled in rhythm. Local Brasov jazz singer Anca Parlea also entertained.
In Manchester, UK, 26 July 2013, we met in at the Jabez Clegg pub on the University of Manchester campus for our jazz night. As usual, Hans was on trumpet, Tony on vibes, Friedrich Naumann was there on bass, Sue did vocals and I was on the keyboard (the poster identified me as James Alizee, the last name actually being the name of my sailboat). We had a very good local drummer sit in with us.
The video appearing here has photos from Manchester as well as from other earlier gigs. The music is from the recording made at the 2007 SHOT meeting in Washington, D.C. .
In 2012, The
gathered for its
18th gig at Casa
Spain. This was a
great, intimate spot, despite the
fact that the piano couldn't be hoisted on to the
stage. Almost all the usual suspects appeared:
Tony on vibes, John and Outi switching off on
guitar, Hans on trumpet, Jeremy Kinney on bass,
Sue on vocals and a welcomed newcomer from Finland, Panu Nykanen on saxophone. A local Spanish musician filled in on drums, and as is becoming routine, Vassily Borisov stepped in for a couple of vocals. All around great fun!
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 local musicians who filled in: Petri Makiharju on bass and Tyko Haapala on drums. The video clip below is courtesy of Tony Stranges and the Tampere organizers.
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. (More photos)
In 2008, we met in
Victoria, B.C. the first
week of August 2008
to play the Thursday
night jazz party at the
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.
Here are three video clips taken by an audience member.
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.
The roots of this reach back to the annual symposium in Dresden (then East Germany) in the summer 1986, when I sat in with Roberts Jazz Gesellschaft, a dixieland group from Karl Marx Stadt (today Chemnitz) as they entertained our conferees on a steamboat excursion on the Elbe River. The banjo player of that group, Frieder Naumann (see photo left), eventually joined The Email Special in 1998 playing bass and sometimes guitar and has missed only a couple of gigs since then.
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 eighteen cities in sixteen countries in seventeen years - in Summer 2014 we plan to play at the ICOHTEC meeting in Brasov, Romania.
1996 Budapest, Hungary
1997 Pasadena, California, USA
1998 Lisbon, Portugal
1999 Belfort, France
2000 Prague, The Czech Republic
2003 Moscow, Russia
2004 Bochum, Germany
2007 Copenhagen, Denmark (photos)
2007 Washington, D.C., USA (photos)
2008 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (photos)
2009 Budapest, Hungary (photos)
2010 Tampere, Finland
2012 Glasgow, Scotland
2013 Manchester, England
2014 Brasov, Romania