Butch Thompson and jazz men fill the house

Butch Thompson and the jazzmen fill the house at a recent performance at the Mendota VFW hall on August 14th, 2013. (MPR photo/Dan Olson)

I wanted to get a nice closeup of Butch Thompson and his musical friend and mentor Charlie DeVore — so that means that what this photo taken at the Mendota VFW hall doesn’t capture, is the fact that the place was packed. It was beyond standing room, there were folks out the door.

The event earlier this month was a tribute to traditional New Orleans style jazz of the kind played by Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong. My Minnesota Sounds and Voices profile of Butch, which explains his devotion to the music, will be broadcast on All Things Considered today.

Here’s another photo of Butch on clarinet, with Charlie on cornet and other members of the Hall Brothers band including Stan Hall at the piano. This photo is courtesy of Butch who still has a healthy head of hair and offers a view of haircuts of the past — in this case the early 1960s.

Photo courtesy Butch Thompson.

Butch is happy to report that interest in traditional New Orleans style jazz is strong, especially among audiences in Europe where he tours regularly. And as you can tell from my reference to the performance earlier this month at the VFW club, audiences turn out big time here in the Twin Cities, where Butch sometimes jams with the Southside Aces.