Interview & review – The Cope Street Parade Vol 1

The Cope Street Parade – Volume One (Yum Yum Tree)
The Cope Street Parade

Review by Lucian McGuiness

Cope Street Parade, Volume OneThe Cope Street Parade seem to manage effortlessly what many modern jazz musicians find elusive – a steady assuredness without clinging to archetypes or pretence. It is undeniably swing music being made, but bandleader and reed-man Justin Fermino’s songwriting is too personal to be pretence, Some of the elements border on the farcical yet their heartfelt and impeccable performance carry them easily. When I asked Fermino why romance featured so prominently in his song texts, he answered, ‘I guess I’m at the pointy end of love. I would like to think that I’m romantic’. Without being too parochial, brand Australia is present here too. The 4-man group swing, wail in an unadulterated authentic jazz fashion, but there’s something in the easy vocal drawl, humour and energy in the playing, and the casual Botany Bay references that smell like home.

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There’s multi-generational line-up of guest musicians canvassing fine Australian voices in swing, including Eamon McNealis, Dan Barnett, Judy Bailey and Bob Henderson. Then a big band appears unannounced. ‘Just had one up my sleeve,’ said Fermino. ‘It was quite a stressful week. 40 tunes in 5 days and about 20 musos on the album….[but] Sydney’s a small town and I was just wanting to make something nice.’

40 numbers? Volume One is the down-payment on a 4-disc set recorded in 2012 that The Cope Street Parade are drip-feeding in bi-annual intervals over the coming years. Each release features a member of the quartet, guitarist Ben Panucci will feature on Volume Two. Volume One was released November 2013 on Yum Yum Tree through MGM.


Playing on Cope Street Parade Volume One:

Justin Fermino  – saxophone, clarinet, vocals
Aaron Flower  – guitars
Grant Arthur – trombone, dobro and sousaphone
Ben Panucci – guitar, banjo, vocals

and guests including:Judy Bailey (piano)
Bob Henderson (trumpet)
Fin Ryan (drums)
Peter Farrer (alto sax)
Eamon McNelis (trumpet)


(April 2012) ‘St James Infirmary’ – Cope Street Parade with Christa & Dick Hughes


Read John Clare’s review of this album

Cope Street Parade on the web

Yum Yum Tree records