Phillip Johnston: soprano, saxophone
Peter Farrar: alto saxophone
Tim Clarkson: tenor saxophone
James Loughnan: baritone saxophone
Peter Dasent: piano
Tim Rollinson: guitar, banjo
James Greening: sousaphone
Nic Cecire: drums
Those who have enjoyed the spirited live shows before will know they perform in the “Territory Band” tradition of Kansas City, Chicago and New Orleans jazz of the ’20s and ’30s. The band is led by Phillip Johnston, an American saxophonist/composer who lives in Sydney, while still maintaining a musical life in his hometown of New York City.
Leading his own bands as well as performing with others, his work as a composer and musician extends across theatre, dance, film and music. The Greasy Chicken Orchestra is his high-energy ensemble with some of Sydney’s leading jazz musicians, playing blues, ragtime and the earliest incarnations of jazz. Think of the 1930s — when jazz was danceable, unpredictable and fun. From New Orleans ‘Dixieland’ to the ‘jungle music’ period of Duke Ellington, from unusual tunes by 1930s artists like Bix Biederbecke, the John Kirby Sextet, and the Raymond Scott Quintette, The Greasy Chicken Orchestra is like a musical history book come to life – or a sneak-peak at the backing musicians of an old cartoon.
The Greasy Chickens Orchestra repertoire includes classic New Orleans jazz, mixed with early Duke Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton. A look at some of the titles of the tunes they play convey this band’s sense of fun: Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None of This Jelly Roll, Zoomin’ At The Zombie, Grandpa’s Spells and the Froggie Moore Rag.
Press quotes about The Greasy Chicken Orchestra:
"Johnston has always understood that jazz's history is a rich resource rather than a liability, and with this band he immerses himself almost completely in this era of energised and good-humoured dance music."
"a nuanced and blended sonority, combined with an emphasis on pinpoint arrangements and concise solos." - John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald (27 Apr 2016)