Doolally: From the town of Deolali, the location of an army base and sanatorium where soldiers leaving India in the late 19th century were sent before leaving for home. Those that became mentally deranged after contracting a fever, or Tap in Urdu, were said to have gone Doolally Tap.

Doolally Tap continue to wow audiences everywhere with their uniquely energetic brand of vintage jazz. Originally hatched by ace trombonist David Lalljee and early-jazz nerd/sousaphone player Tom Briers in a dark corner of south-east London, the band’s spiritual home is 1920s New Orleans. Drawing inspiration from Crescent City musicians like King Oliver, Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet, as well as the “second line” bands that they came out of, Doolally Tap’s music evokes the true spirit and energy of the prohibition era.

The band are hugely popular on the London vintage and swing dance circuit, performing at venues like The Nightjar, Wilton’s Music Hall, Blues Kitchen and The Ditch, winning over audiences everywhere with their infectious, toe-tapping rhythms and irrepressible live show.

Doolally Tap have also added their own particular kind of raucous style to more opulent and sophisticated venues like Hampton Court Palace and Queen’s House, Greenwich and those more usually associated with classical music like Chelsea’s Cadogan Hall. It is even possible to see the band make a cameo appearance in the short movie Melvin, filmed at the world-famous Pinewood Studios.

The band features a classic vintage New Orleans line-up of trombone, trumpet, clarinet, banjo and sousaphone, as well as the velvety crooning of trombonist David Lalljee and the brilliantly gnarled vocals of banjoist Nick Singer, whose love affair with this music stretches back sixty years.

Made up of some of the finest musicians in London, members of the band have played with Madness, Jimmy Somerville, Death in Vegas, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Ken Colyer, Mike Daniels, Martine McCutcheon, Paul Weller, The Divine Comedy, DJ Yoda and Kym Mazelle.

Everyone should go a bit doolally sometimes!
Photo by Pat Lunch