Jazz Crusade JCCD-3089 2003, 9 tracks, 74 min

Down In Honky Tonk Town, Down By The Riverside, Honeysuckle Rose, When You’re Smiling, Bogalusa Strut, I’m Your Hot Dog Man, It’s A Long Way To Tipperary, Bye Bye Blackbird, Kid Thomas Woogie


Jazz Crusade JCCD-3090 2003, 8 tracks, 74 min

Running Wild, Lord Lord Lord, The Second Line, Uptown Bumps, Shake It & Break It, Big Butter & Egg Man, St Phillip’s Street Breakdown, Home To Bed Blues

I first came across Darryl when he was one of Tuba Fats’ Chosen Few who made that essential recording for Jazz Crusade xxx in 2002. To me Darryl stood out amongst the players in that band and such a unique talent deserved more exposure and sure enough he is now getting it.

These two CDs are recordings of a Classic Jazz Society club session in Toronto, Canada. Although on the Tuba Fats CD you get a chance to hear Darryl, these CDs give him more space to both express himself and to feature. When it comes to alto sax playing, this young man is no honey smooth Ian Wheeler, nor is he a Cap’n John Hardy clone, he is Darryl Adams. The sounds that this man squeezes from his horn are remarkable, and, no, I am not talking about the sort of honks, squawks and blips that modernist make (we traditionalist often get fooled into thinking that they are tuning up, only to later find that that was the performance!). This man Darryl is a revelation. Whilst Darryl features on the CDs, they are not just ‘Darryl & his backing group’. For, although he gets ample time to stand up front on his own, Darryl is only one of a class band that swings. Standing with him in the front line is Brit Brian Carrick playing the battered metal clarinet that once belonged to George Lewis. Then there is Fred Vigorito, a cornet player after my own heart. On trombone, English born Canadian, Brian Towers, a man whose tone has the flavour of a man who smokes 40 cigarettes a day. The backline is as solid as a rock and consists of Big Bill Bissonnette himself on drums, Emil Mark on banjo, Roberta Hunt on piano and another English Canadian, Colin Bray, on bass (where would the traditional jazz world be with out ex-pat Brits?)

As with all live recordings it isn’t perfect. Think of it in drinking terms. Don’t tell me that you would rather have bland chemical enhanced, pasteurised, over gassed keg beers than real ale? Ok, so you have to put up with the odd bit of lees in the glass or at times a slight cloudiness with real ale, but the flavour is so superior. And so it is with jazz bands. Live performances may have slight flaws but the feeling of the music as the band feed off each other and the audience, cannot be beaten.

Given the complexity of a four man front line there has to be an occasion when toes get trodden on and it happens on the first track of the first CD, ‘Down in Honky Tonk Town’ , where Darryl plays almost the same notes as Fred whilst the rest of the front line are off swinging and underlining. It is almost as if Darryl has forgotten he is in a jazz band as opposed to Street Brass Band. After that it all falls into place. Now, as ‘Down in Honky Tonk Town’ is the first track, the clash could be part of the ‘shake down’ phase, but, as we all know, the tracks on a CD aren’t always put down in the sequence they were played, so who knows. It catches your attention, but it isn’t ‘fingernails down a blackboard’ stuff. To hear how well they can fit in together just take the last track of the second CD, ‘Home to Bed Blues’.

These are two CDs that I can highly recommend to any jazz lover and I look forward to Darryl’s next recordings being released, especially if he gets together with class players such as those who join him on these albums.