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The Concord Junction at Concord Park

     The front windows were open at Concord Park on Monday even though the air conditioning was working perfectly. The piano tuner was hastily gathering his tools and giving the piano one more sound check. Anticipation was reaching fever pitch when the first strains of music drifted through the Park on the breeze.

     Sandy Macone’s Concord Junction Golden Redeemer Jazz Band was playing again in the Junction!

     They marched across the tracks after the 2:05 train from Boston passed. They were playing “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”. The gathering was a memorial for one of their own: Bill Batten, who had begun a remarkable career as a tuba player with the Concord Junction Golden Redeemer Jazz Band in the early sixties. The concert was for the residents of Concord Park Assisted Living. Nancy Crowley, its director, believes in the joy that happy music brings to people’s lives, and presents the residents with live music every chance she gets.

     Sandy Macone led the parade into the Park much to the delight of the residents who had been listening with mounting joy as the band approached. Sandy then introduced the renowned piano player, David Bourne, and turned the band introductions over to Scott Philbrick, coronet. Philbrick wasted no time and broke right into “When You’re Smiling”. The songs came fast after that and more than one resident was moved to a little toe tapping, a little head bobbing and even a little air-banjo!

     Musicians from all over the area came to celebrate Bill’s love of Jazz with the people who loved it in their youth. The hour was up far too quickly for both musicians and residents. As Sandy raised his horn and marched the playing band out the door, there was plenty of laughter behind and memories never to be forgotten.


The seniors begin to feel the spirit at Concord Park as the band enters playing, "A Closer Walk".

Chuck Laire, longtime drummer with the CJGRJB, gets the toes to tapping. Chuck is a resident of Concord.

Scott Philbrick (AKA "Bricklip") leads the ensemble in a rousing rendition of "Millenberg Joys".
Sandy Macone jokes with Chuck Laire between tunes. Lots of the show was peppered by the usual band chatter that dominates when good friends get together.
Nancy Crowley is ahead of the pack when it comes to bringing entertainment of this nature to the residents of Concord Park which just happens to be located in what used to be Concord Junction. It still is to most true Concordians.

     In the 50's Stanley T. Cohen an Army buddy of Sandy's, and creator of the original Marlboro Man ads, termed the music of the Concord Junction Golden Redeemer Jazz Band as "backyard jazz". Later when Reggie joined the band he always commanded, when someone suggested we do it over right, saying "It's the sound of the band, leave it alone." Perhaps that's why we still sound ragged but right.

     In full force at Concord Park, the band was composed of the following instrumentation:
Piano – Professor David Bourne
Drums – Chuck Laire
Cornets - Scott Philbrick, Paul Monat
Clarinets – Sandy Macone, John Clark
Tubas – Erick Anderson, Al Bernard, and Rick McWilliams
Banjos – Dave McMillian, Bill Birtles
And the piano player doubling on pocket cornet.

     This strangely assorted instrumentation occurred by default when the other 2,210 applicants’ resumes for the gig were lost in the Dade County Post Office. In Macone’s own words (as he wiped the Bud from his whiskers) “You work with what you’ve got.” Knowing Mad Macone is easily transposable, he may have been referring to his recent outburst against the dearth of Heineken, his preferred beverage.


Just Out New CJGRJB DVD -Out Takes- from the Concord Park Gig

Coming Soon...
The Full Show!

'Fess comes to Concord Junction

 

Professor David Bourne came from Los Angles to star at the Lowell Folk Festival
and stopped in to visit Sandy Macone.  After the memorial concert for Bill Batten at Concord Park
Assisted Living, many of the band members retired to Acton to reminisce with spaghetti.
This DVD is a sneak view of how members of the Concord Junction Golden Redeemer Jass Band
behave when off stage! 

On the cover:  ‘Fess displays his musical celerity on the pocket cornet that he carries in his holster.
As a professor of music ‘Fess has played just about everything in reach…and well.  It was a treat
to all of us of the CJGRJB to lower our standards of spontaneity to high levels of perfection.

 

The 'Fess displays his musical celerity on the pocket cornet that he carries in his holster. As a professor of music 'Fess has played just about everything in reach... and well. It was a treat to all of us of the CJGRJB to lower our standards of spontaneity to his high levels of perfection.
After the concert the band adjourned to the CJGRJB Museum for a little music, a little food, a few stories and some draft beer. The music was softer but the stories were wilder than on the Concord Park bandstand. As the sun set behind the tamarack tree the musicians packed up and faded out into the gathering night.
Bill Birtles and Scott Philbrick rattling soul with non-dueling banjos.
Bill Batten, Jr. becomes the newest member of the Concord Junction as he sparks the rhythm with Grampa Chuck.
Paul plays it sweet while Albe polishes the gold mouthpiece of his well hammered tuba.
While Albe coasts with a cool one, Erick lays the bassline under John's riveting clarinet playing. In the background Chuck gives the band's universal sign for "empty mug".

     The participants of the Memorial March for Bill Batten will soon gather at the CJGRJB Museum to dine and re-enact the beer-fest of their last get-together. The video shot by Zoom Abbott of the attack on the "Hotel Slow-mo" will be shown at that time. Members will be notified personally as soon as we know where they went. A genuine Lester Lanin cap will be burnt in effigy on the brazier.


The Concord Journal Reports

 

Click here for full text

Click here for full text

The Concord Journal gets the word out!

After publication of this article, friends and musicians started calling for details on the concert.

Double Bill

     On August 1, the Concord Junction Golden Redeemer Jazz Band will play its first concert since the 30 th reunion of the group. The Memorial Concert will be held at Concord Park Assisted Living Center, 68 Commonwealth Avenue. The show begins promptly at about 2pm. A New Orleans style procession honoring Bill and the CJGRJB Saints precedes the concert. A highlight will be Scott Philbrick playing Bill’s tuba. The featured act of the concert will be a musical discourse on ragtime music by Professor David Bourne.

Musicians will meet in Concord Junction at 1pm. Call 978-266-9552 and leave your name and phone number for details.

The Concord Junction warms-up the audiance at John Hamcock Hall before the appearance of Turk Murphy's San Francisco Jazz Band. May 25, 1968.

(lft. to rt.)
Bill Batten, Fred Walsh, Stu Baird, John Payne, Sandy, Reg Phillips...Ray Smith on drums is hidden behind the awesome ensemble.

Bill playing with the band at the Carlisle 4th of July Parade,circa 1970. The man withe his back turned is Carol Sleeper, who never missed an outing.
Mother Sloan & The Town Drunk fueling-up at Six Main before the long drive to play at the Blue Tooth Saloon, Sugarbush, Vermont.

(lft. to rt.) Linda Sloneker, Sandy, Bill, Cal Owen & Joe Fay.
Bill and Bif Baker chill out at Six Main Street, "a mythical place".

     Sandy sold Bill Batten his first tuba… at a profit of course, back in the mid ‘60’s. “He had the presence of a tuba player and there was one lying around,” recalls Sandy. “Bill threw himself into his playing with an intensity that made him one of the most popular bassists to rock the Concord Junction Golden Redeemer Jazz Band.”
     Later Bill formed his own band, The Riverside Band, but he was always at the ready to lug his plumbing and great skill to the side of his Fellows in the Concord Junction. He is honored here for his commitment and contribution to Trad Jazz in New England.
     Bill left us while watching the fireworks on the eve of July 4 th from his pond in New Hampshire... surely the way this great American would want to close his final moment.

The band as it made its way down river during the Festival of Boats. Bill with one foot in the river, the other in the boat.

(lft. to rt.) Chick Mayo, Steve Hamliton, Peanut,Sandy, Bif Baker, Dan Comins, and Dick Wiggin.
Bill, wearing Sandy's steamboat cap on the occasion of the Turk Murphy clambake at the Musketaquid Club.

Bill and Rick McWilliams blast a two-tuba welcome upon the arrival of Turk Murphy's San Francisco Jazz Band at Logan airport. Sandy, Turk and Pat Yankee weather the brass-blast with different levels of cacophonous reaction.

photo, Helen Roach

The Concord Junction Golden Redeemer Jazz Band taking on anti freeze as it prepares to play a gig in the dead of winter.

(lft. to rt.) Peanut, Reg, Kim Macone, Chick, Bill, Jim, Sandy, & Eddy Hovagimian. Kris Macone sits on the running board of Jim's "T".

photo, ed Freniere

     Jerry O'Neil looks on as Reg lays-it-down. Sandy and Bill sweeten the mix with reed and brass. This was one of Reggie's last outings before heading to the Big Gig in the Sky. A Saint; that boy!

Unless otherwise noted, all photographs and text are the property of Kali Creation and KROK Recordings © 2004.

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A memoir of when last the keg was "paraded" and Old Yeller made an appearance.

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