Arguably the best traditional jazz band in the world, the New Black Eagles have entertained music lovers from Hopkinton to Singapore for more than 30 years. Their 600-plus song repertoire covers a wide range of music: early New Orleans style; Chicago of the 1920’s; 1930’s small band jazz; the early jazz revival of the 1940’s and 1950’s; and original pieces written by a number of band members.
The New Black Eagle Jazz Band is made up of a family of seven full time members plus a moderate number of players who substitute often enough to be considered family as well. The “regulars” include: C.H. “Pam” Pameijer, the drummer who has been playing with the Eagles since the beginning; Bob Pilsbury, who tinkles the ivories (and absolutely loves the piano at the Me&Thee, so expect some extra special piano tunes); Peter Bullis, the lively banjo player who also handles all the paperwork and management required to keep the band on the road and in the studio; Stan Vincent on trombone since 1971; Tony Pringle, the classy cornetist, musical leader and co-founder of the band; and Billy Novick on alto sax, clarinet and sometimes soprano saxophone. (He’s only been with the band since 1986. Billy’s also known to Me&Thee goers as the “other half” of Guy Van Duser and Billy Novick.)
The New Black Eagles are known for their ability to infuse ordinary tunes with a special touch — take the Yuletide classics on their Christmas album, for instance. “Tannenbaum” evolves from a waltz to a stomp and eventually “March Of The Bobcats” (the chord structure is the same); “Blue Christmas” sounds as if it’s ready to become a standard; Novick’s alto performs the rarely-played verse of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”; “Jingle Bells” really swings and Eagles fans are even treated to four numbers with vocals. Considering the season, we may be so lucky!