Autumn in New York - it doesn't get much better. After some very hectic days looking for street musicians, we pack our gear and head for Central Park, pretty confident that we'll find what we are searching for on this sunny and warm Sunday morning.

The sound of the tin pan

We've heard that we might be able to find a jazz musician, who usually plays his saxophone, in the area around Sheep Meadow. But we never get that far, shortly after we've passed the Old Carousel, we spot them, The Tin Pan Blues Band. Four energetic new yorkers playing with such enthusiasm and musicality that everyone passing by stops and listens. It's an absolute joy watching them and listening to their interpretations.

Not museum music!
The Tin Pan Blues Band takes on traditional American music with roots of the jazz tradition and reinvigorates it by making it their own. As they state: "This is not museum music best preserved under a glass; it is a living art form that we renew everytime we play". The music is light and fun with tinges of the blues. It makes people dance and smile. The band is inspired by artists such as Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Jelly Roll Morton, George Lewis, Fats Waller, Irving Berlin, and Hoagy Carmichael. And they have created their own Tin Pan style - actually playing a lot slower than most bands in New York City. Taking their time to explore the emotions of a moment.

150 performances a year
The Tin Pan Blues Band is a working quartet that has over 150 performances a year! They primarily play out in Central Park. Often six days a week if the weather allows. They are out there as a working band. As they say: "There are some things that only bands that work this regularly can do. We have developed an almost telepathic understanding of the forms and arrangements of our material".

So if you see them laughing for no apparent reason, it's because someone just combined something special in a unique way.

Personal material
Jesse has written a handful of tunes that are suitable to The Tin Pan sound. He'll bring in a tune and they'll see if it works for them. The themes vary but for some reason tragic love songs are always on his mind. Also, a lot of the earlier songs they do, are instrumentals or have lyrics which seem outdated or less relevant to our culture nowadays. In such cases he'll write or re-write some lyrics.

One of the songs we hea in the park on this sunny Sunday morning is a tune that Tin Pan now calls "Gambler's Blues", which came from an old, old melody called "Hear me Talkin'"

Jesse's lyrics:
"Roll me slowly like loaded dice.
Spin me round easy. It feels so nice.
Lyin'. Cheatin'. Layin' in the sun all day.
Hear me talkin'
You gambled your life away.

Round and round and round she goes.
Where she stops well her man don't even know.
Lyin'. Cheatin' Stretched out by the pool all day.
Hear me talkin'
You gambled your life away.

Roll me slowly like loaded dice.
You take tour chances when you take a wife.
Lyin'. Cheatin'. Layin' in the bed all day.
You choose and you loose.
That's called the Gambler's Blues

Meeting The Tin Pan is a musical experience full of passion, joy and most of all honest live music at it best. If you ever come to New York do yourself a favour, look them up in Central Park, sit down, and enjoy the spirit. Bring home the tunes by buying a cd or two, its worth the stroll and the 15 bucks.

Find out more about The Tin Pan Blues Band on their website.