Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A Salute to High School Jazz Band

Lyle Mays (Reis)Some of you might not know this, but I’m a bit of a music junkie. That’s right. In addition to my addiction to movies, I love me some songs, too. And not just listening to songs–playing them. I’m no expert on any of these, but I’ve tried my hand at piano, guitar, bass, accordion, saxophone (tenor and bari), bassoon and oboe, with a very brief stint on trumpet. I’ve played piano since I was about 5 (I can sight read easy stuff, but I get all fumbly if it gets more complex than about three fingers at a time), played oboe for 3 or 4 years, bassoon for 8, sax for 6, guitar for 3 or so. Currently I’m probably best at sax, with guitar and piano tied for second.


Back in my high school days, I was in a plethora of bands. Marching band, symphonic band, orchestra, Dixie band–good times, that. I never got into chorus, and I wanted to do jazz band, but drama conflicted with it, so that never worked out, alas. I’ve recently gotten my tenor out again and started playing, and it’s brought a lot of memories back. Dixie band was a monster–there were probably around 20 of us, maybe more. Three tenors, two tubas, a bevy of clarinets, trumpets, trombones, drums. Most of our shows were to nursing homes, where we’d descend en masse. The people there loved it, and if it got too loud, they just turned down their hearing aids. I miss that. Forget high school reunions. We should have a Dixie reunion. Dan–Tammy–Wade–JillLisa? You out there? You reading? Dixie reunion. We’ll tour all the nursing homes. We’ll record Youtube videos for the ages. It’ll be the feel good story of the century.

This is all just a long way of introducing you to a song that’s been in my head since high school. Jazz band played it–and it was fantastic. I’ve been wanting to hear it since, and my good pal Dan Nosheny (who was Snooky way before Snooki–I ought to ask him what his feelings are about Jersey Shore, come to think of it), tracked down a recording of it. The song’s by Lyle Mays, and to the best of my knowledge, it hasn’t been recorded professionally. (If someone knows of a copy that’s actually purchasable, please let me know!)

Of course, our high school jazz band’s production was much cooler, since instead of a piccolo/bass duet at the end, we had a piccolo/tuba duet. But this is a close approximation to the ditty I remember so fondly. So enjoy, people. Have a happy Tuesday.

Bands – 3 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight– Lyle Mays

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UPDATE: Looks like they took that link down. Here’s a YouTube link for now:

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