I was inspired by Buster Keaton's two-reel movie "The Playhouse" (1921) to make this short promo movie. You can rest assured that my live show does not involve any clones! My live band features Jo Fooks (sax) Neil Casey (piano) Pete Ringrose (bass) myself (drums)
"This show is not just a surprise, it’s a real treat...
This audience loved it – I defy anyone not to."
CHRIS HOWES / THE BROOK THEATRE, CHATHAM
"from the beginning there were cheers and whooping in response to the playing and films. A great evening."
DEIRDRE CARTWRIGHT / LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL
"Buster Plays Buster was simply one of those nights that will be remembered long after the last note was played. I don’t think anyone present could have anticipated being entertained with music of such quality and sensitivity that, at times, had the power to bring tears to the eyes... What a great evening of top class entertainment"
JAN STANYON / EYNSFORD VILLAGE HALL
"Funny. Breathtaking. Delightful."
DEAN CLOUGH / HALIFAX FESTIVAL
"'Buster Plays Buster was a magical evening. Buster Birch's score was meticulously crafted to fit with the film... A number of people commented on how much they had enjoyed the evening, including those who would not normally come to a jazz concert."
THE WATERMILL JAZZ CLUB / DORKING
Since its debut in March 2011 Buster plays Buster has been delighting audiences with its magic and charm. One for all the family, young and old, jazz enthusiasts and otherwise have all thoroughly enjoyed this well produced show. A first class jazz quartet featuring musicians of the highest calibre performing live to a screening of a Buster Keaton classic silent movie. The music is specifically arranged for the group, scored out and sync'd to the movie, but also features plenty of improvised solos from these great jazz musicians, which creates a cohesive work merging the two art forms in to a unique experience for the audience.
BUSTER plays BUSTER show 1 featuring Sherlock Jr
This classic Buster Keaton silent movie from 1924 is one of the most sophisticated produced during his golden era and features a film within a film. With the use of pioneering camera special effects Keaton uses dream sequences to fully explore the potential of the new medium of film and lets his imagination run free as he gives us a lesson in what is technically possible. It also features many of his great stunts and acrobatics as well as a fantastic chase scene at the climax of the movie.
Buster Birch has created a wonderful new jazz score for this movie made up of classic jazz standards, which have been specifically arranged and scored to perfectly fit each scene. His first class quartet, featuring some of London's finest jazz musicians, play with superb skill and are given plenty of opportunity to show off their highly accomplished improvisational abilities.
Running time 50 mins
The first half of this concert will feature "Tribute To The Greats”, a unique presentation created by Buster Birch paying tribute to several of the great jazz legends, briefly outlining their major achievements and contributions to the development of jazz. Many people have commented on how informative and enjoyable this part of the show is. This will be accompanied by the quartet playing a mix of jazz repertoire in the style of each artist.
Running time 45-60 mins
BUSTER plays BUSTER show 2 featuring Steamboat Bill Jr
This epic Buster Keaton silent movie from 1928 was the last feature length film Keaton ever made (wrote, directed and starred in) with complete artist freedom and marks the end of his golden era. It features the hapless young Buster trying to win the approval of his long lost father, the rough and tough steamboat captain Bill Sr, who loses his business and liberty. A violent storm and hurricane are the back drop for Buster’s chance to redeem himself with daring deeds of rescue and provide the opportunity for some of Keaton’s most famous scenes. Knowing it is his last roll of the dice Keaton throws everything in to this movie. He builds an entire town only to destroy it and performs several death defying stunts, including a 2 tonne house facade falling on him which he only survives by standing in the space of an open window.
Following on from the success of his first “Buster plays Buster” show Buster Birch has created a brand new jazz score for this movie with a set of completely different jazz standards which again have been specifically arranged and scored to perfectly fit each scene. His first class quartet, featuring some of London's finest jazz musicians, play with superb skill and are given plenty of opportunity to show off their highly accomplished improvisational abilities.
Running time 70 mins
The first half of this concert features “The Life of Buster Keaton”, a unique presentation telling the story of Keaton’s amazing 67 year career which straddled all three major forms of entertainment in the 20th century; vaudeville, movies (silent and sound) and television. It also charts the extreme highs and lows of his personal life. How he went from child prodigy to Hollywood superstar, to loosing everything and his long road back from alcoholism, to finally becoming recognised as the legend and genius he was. The presentation is accompanied by the quartet playing a specifically arranged score of jazz standards.
Running time 47 mins
The score to Sherlock Jr features the following tunes
The Frim Fram Sauce (Joe Ricardel)
Killer Joe (Benny Golson)
Sidewinder (Lee Morgan)
Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered (Rogers and Hart)
Manteca (Dizzy Gillespie)
How Insensitive (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
The Jive Samba (Nat Adderley)
Come Rain Or Come Shine (Harold Arlen)
Juju (Wayne Shorter)
Let's Face The Music And Dance (Irving Berlin)
Caravan (Juan Tizol)
Salt Peanuts (Dizzy Gillespie and Kenny Clarke)
The Eternal Triangle (Sonny Stitt)
My One And Only Love (Guy Wood)
The score to Steamboat Bill Jr features the following tunes
Old Man River (Jerome Kern)
Cheek To Cheek (Irving Berlin)
My Little Suede Shoes (Charlie Parker)
If I Only Had A Brain (Harold Arlen)
Blue Daniel (Frank Rosolino)
Funghi Mama (Blue Mitchell)
Evidence (Thelonious Monk)
Just A Gigolo (Leonello Casucci)
Anthropology (Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie)
So Danco Samba (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
Comes Love (Sam H Stept)
Nica's Dream (Horace Silver)
What'll I Do (Irving Berlin)
Armando's Rhumba (Chick Corea)
Easy Living (Leo Robin & Ralph Rainger)
Dark Eyes/Ochi Chyornye (Adalgiso Ferraris)
Oleo (Sonny Rollins)
Cape Verdean Blues (Horace Silver)
Boogie Stop Shuffle (Charles Mingus)
Ran Kan Kan (Tito Puente)
Fox Hunt (JJ Johnson)
The Tribute To The Greats score features the following tunes
Thelonious Monk - "In Walked Bud" from the album "Genius of Modern Music" 1947
Miles Davis - "Milestones" from the album "Milestones" 1958
Herbie Hancock - "Driftin" from the album "Takin Off" 1962
Charlie Parker - "Donna Lee" 1947
Duke Ellington - "Come Sunday" from the "Black Brown and Beige Suite" 1958
Louis Armstrong - "Heebie Jeebies" 1926
John Coltrane - "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes" from the album "Coltrane's Sound" 1964
Bill Evans - "Peri's Scope" from the album "Portrait In Jazz" 1959
Charles Mingus - "Better Get Hit In Your Soul" from the album "Ah Um" 1959
The Life Of Buster Keaton score features the following tunes
The Jitterbug Waltz (Fats Waller)
Hello Young Lovers (Richard Rogers)
When You're Smiling (Shay, Fisher and Goodwin)
Can't Help Loving That Man (Jerome Kern)
Sing Sing Sing (Louis Prima)
Recardo Bossa Nova (Djalma Ferreira)
Django (John Lewis)
Meditation (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
La Vie En Rose (Edith Piaf)