If you're looking for Dixieland music that really sizzles, you need look no further. The Southern Fried Jazz Band has exploded on the scene with some of the best and most authentic Dixieland music around today.
The band is led by trumpet player Don Edwards whose Dixieland skills are well honed. He first performed its music as a member of the name bands during the big band era, and later enjoyed fifteen years as a member of the show bands in Vegas at its prime. During that time he also worked with various Dixieland bands, and backed some of the Dixieland greats, including Louis Armstrong and the World's Greatest Jazz Band.
Edwards is an exciting performer known for his impressive range, technique and improvisational skills. As leader of the band, he has an uncanny knack for hand-picking musicians and stretching them well beyond their imaginings "on the job." One of his fans recently observed that "he operates his band like a well-oiled machine." In addition, he makes sure each of its members enjoys some time in the spotlight.
The band includes three horns and four rhythm along with vocals by "Red Hot Mama" Starr Acheson. Starr's background includes Broadway and musical comedy shows as well as ten years with her own jazz band at resort hotels and country clubs in Hilton Head Island and Charleston, SC. Whether up on stage or down with the crowd, Starr quickly grabs her audience and holds it captive with her rich vocals and contagious enthusiasm.
In the jacket of the band's first CD "It's What's Cookin'!" Edwards explains his philosophy and mindset regarding Dixieland music: "At its roots, Dixieland music has always been more about a state of mind than it is about perfection. With this in mind, we have endeavored to "create" the music on this CD with nothing more than a brief talkover before each song and a minimum of "takes." I had never heard the tune "Give Me Your Kisses" until I unearthed it from an old Louis Armstrong CD - and the band heard it for the first time the day we recorded it. We hope you find the results of our efforts both spirited and spontaneous."
Although it is aimed at the general public, one critic has stated that "it (the cd) retains enough artistic merit to appeal to the most discriminzating listener." Once in the marketplace, it was picked up by a local radio station whose manager liked it so well, he sent it to the legendary George Buck in New Orleans. Since receiving it, Mr. Buck has featured its songs on several of his pre-recorded coast to coast Jazzology radio shows. In addition, it has led to the band being chosen as part of the Community Concert Association's national touring program and has performed in over fifty cities to date.
A master of timing and showmanship, Edwards manages to translate each performance of the Southern Fried Jazz Band into an experience to be remembered long after it has left the stage. Its ever-changing program always includes instrumentals accented with vocals and stirred with lots of seasoning, spontaneity and a variety of tempos. These ingredients have helped launch Southern Fried Jazz from the Piedmont foothills of North Carolina into the national spotlight in short order.
So, sit back, buckle your seat-belts and get ready to hear some foot-stompin', toe-tappin' good music....and see just what's cookin' with the Southern Fried Jazz Band!