CD Review – Joseph Blake, Times Colonist
Published: Thursday, October 16, 2008
Stomp Club’s reed section sizzles
From the band’s opening It’s All Right With Me romp through an expansive repertoire of nostalgia-inducing, seldom-heard gems, Devon McCagherty and his veteran bandmates in the Stomp Club demonstrate why they’re such popular favourites on the local scene. The band’s sound, produced on this debut by local studio wizard Wynn Gogol, harkens back to early twentieth century popular music and jazz’s origins. A pair of Sidney Bechet compositions feature the Stomp Club’s playful reed section of clarinetist Tom Ackerman and baritone saxophonist Doug Rhodes. Bassist Glen Manders and guitarist Ken Hall provide buoyant rhythmic support for the front-line and McCagherty’s charming vocals. My favourite is his dramatic, dreamy reading of Moonsong, but the playful (Up on Top of a Rainbow) Sweeping the Clouds Away and Someone’s Rocking My Dreamboat are also wonderful. I love McCagherty’s crooning on I Surrender Dear too. This is an enchanting collection.
CD Review – Shayne Aeichele, in Monday Magazine
Published: Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Devon McCagherty and the Stomp Club
Formed nearly a decade ago, you’ve likely been serenaded by the Stomp Club sometime between then and now. Gigging steadfastly with a variety of different projects, the collective musical acumen of these Stompers has placed them high upon the heap of Victoria’s very talented stack of musicians, and their self-titled CD is certainly proof of why. Led by Devon McCagherty, the band has selected a bevy of tunes from a bygone era (nothing less than 50 years old here, and some songs pushing 80) and sprinkled their own gypsy, Latin, and klezmer flavours throughout traditional jazz numbers. The fact of the album being recorded live off the floor only helps cement the Stomp Club’s collective tightness and individual talents, and—most importantly—that they’re having fun, which only further ensures that you will too.
Victoria News, Patrick Blennerhassett
Published: Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Stomp Club – Bringing the swing to Jew-jazz
Come again? No, that’s not a garbled typo, that’s actually the way Devon McCagherty and The Stomp Club are describing their sound – and it’s pretty bang-on.
The group’s first self-titled CD, which will be launched in Victoria on Aug. 28, wavers through swing, soul, jazz, Klezmer and folk with a breezy sound and McCagherty’s crooning.
The Stomp Club features a who’s who of Victoria’s reputable musicians: guitarist Ken Hall formally of the Sara Marrerios Band, bassist Glen Manders formally of the Bills, saxophonist Doug Rhodes and clarinet player Tom Ackerman.
McCagherty said the sound kind of fell together, starting in 2000, conceptualizing itself over a period of time.
“I just magically found these two horn players (Rhodes and Ackerman), these seasoned traditional jazz players and they can improvise together at the same time,” he said.
“And (Ackerman) is Jewish and so am I, so we both have this Klezmer background mixed with my Gypsy-swing background. So we kind of managed to form this Dixie-Gypsy-Jew-jazz.”
McCagherty was originally inspired by the likes of Mississippi John Hurt and the Delta Blues, a blues band that garnered fame in the late 1920s. Then he discovered the legendary Jean-Baptiste “Django” Reinhardt, a Belgian Sinto Gypsy jazz guitarist who died in 1953.
McCagherty will admit he’s not much of a fan of modern music, instead citing the likes of Louis Armstrong or Billie Holiday, both from a time where live shows were intimate.
The vibrant sub-genres of Victoria’s musical scene offer people like McCagherty the chance to bounce in and out of mini scenes to hand pick the best musicians for a certain project. McCagherty has worked with guitarist Ron Forbes-Roberts and Marc Atkinson and also plays in such groups as Casey Ryder & Twango, The Yiddish Columbia State Orchestra and Gene Hardy & the Pipsqueak Orchestra.
Bringing a unique sound like Dixie-Gypsy-Jew-jazz to ears everywhere isn’t about pushing his sounds over modern music, said McCagherty. It’s simply about showing people there are other things out there.
“I think there is so much beauty in the music. The harmony and the melody and the rhythm, to me I haven’t found anything more real or beautiful.”