The great gig in the sky

Steve Beauchampé watches a group of frisky old jazz stagers rump their lump at Birmingham’s hottest drinking stump.

The Don Daktari Band
August 10th

They’re building a fine reputation for hot sticky jazz at Malala’s, located in Edgbaston’s Lloyd Square and tonight’s offering upped the ante a further notch. Fresh from a stint performing at the sixtieth Eyjafjallajökall Geyser Festival (presumably re-branded the Diamond Geyser Festival), Don Daktari’s ever expanding nine piece ensemble flew in and blew in on the back of a stonking reputation and scorching reactions to their recently released album Paid My Jews.

Opening with the enigmatic Dust My Brush, a languid yet still frenetic sideways take on lurve, Daktari displays an almighty range of cheek explosions and implosions as he attacks his trumpet with gusto, pinning spindly fingers on the valves to produce throaty sonic ululations that traversed the room like a typhoon on steroids. The blues infused Smokin’ Out Of New Orleans raises the temperature in a venue already over populated beyond bursting point to the levels of high noon in downtown Qatar.

“Let’s take it down a few degrees, ” gravels Daktari, as alto-saxophonist Crevice Nozzle seeks rich pickings from the classic A Night In Fallujah, buoyed by spontaneous spooling, doodling and noodling from veteran clarinettist Tiny Dribblecock and a flurry of symbolic crash happy cymbolising from criminally under vaunted stickman Cecil de Lyon.

A short intervention greets the opening chimes of Honest John The Brothelman as a snatch of Abba’s Mamma Mia leaks from Daktari’s inside pocket. Taking out his mobile device, he locates the off switch before guffawing: “Sorry folks, that’s my xylo phone.”

“This one’s for the Calais migrants,” grunts Daktari defiantly, unlikely though it is that the Daily Mail are covering this gig. Hotel Hobo follows, totally epic natch, or as epic as a 77-second montage of free jazz coated in a slough of James Lastification can ever be.

After a comfort break (Daktari and Dutch trombonist Hans Van Rottongroin retiring to the dressing room with a large ball of vintage Gouda before re-appearing 15 minutes later each with a broad, cheesy grin) a feisty version of local classic (I’ve Got the) Aston Villa Blues (brownie points to Daktari for including this one tonight) prefaces the dirt bowl authenticity of A Good Shellacking, the band’s homage to Donald Rumsfeld from their 2004 double vinyl only CD album offering You Dirty Trossach.

By the climax, with Shorty Long’s unforgettably irrepressible slapped double bass burble and shredded tonsil infused hissing, the crunch of real sputum in Daktari’s nostrils is all too obvious, but not as joyous as the dollops of blood leaking from Long’s ear canal. For fox’s sake, these guys give it their all!

Malala’s is fast becoming the numero uno place to be in Brum, attracting the city’s movers and shakers (Albert Bore and Sir Ashley Blake are amongst the glitterati in tonight) and with gigs as good as this they’re going to have to knock down a few of Edgbaston’s remaining John Madin designed houses to build the place an extension.