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SǾREN HOULIND’S COPENHAGEN RAGTIME BAND

COLLEGIATES 1972

After Beat Records ABRCD 05001 2006 15 tracks 66 min

DINAH, WHEN YOUR HAIR HAS TURNED TO SILVER, YOU SHOULDN’T SCORN YOUR WIFE, CLIMAX RAG, GIRL OF MY DREAMS, WHEN THE SWALLOWS COME BACK TO CAPISTRANO, WHO’S SORRY NOW, WRISBERG’S BLUES, HE WILL UNDERSTAND ME, TI-PI-TIN, SHOULD I, CORNET-OLE’S BLUES, I SHALL NOT BE MOVED, COLLEGIATE, JUNE NIGHT

1972 was when I first noticed the start of the big improvement in recording quality and also stereo players. The wonderful increase in dynamic range that we have now had been beyond our perception during the 50s & 60s. In the 70s the shock was hearing the higher sounds (flooding everything with bass is a 90s onwards fad). The result was that when listening to a traditional jazz band you had a better idea of what the rhythm section was up to and the records started to sound nearer to what one heard in a jazz club.

This CD is a re-issue of two albums recorded at Jazzhus Montmarte and Jazzhus Vingarden, in Copenhagen 1972. The band had been together for a couple of years prior and toured Denmark and Germany. The LPs were not released at the time due to problems with their booking manager and the band subsequently broke up, though the sleeve notes indicate that they are all still playing traditional jazz. I think the recordings are very true to the time and just the sound balance and quality alone brought back memories to me.

The bandsmen were youngsters then (!) at a time when most of the UK bands I was listening to were had become very middle aged. The UK bands were, on the whole, getting too comfortable with what they were doing and over slick in their presentation, having played the sound for so long. This band, being made up of youngsters, exhibits the enthusiasm that New Orleans jazz deserves and in fact needs if it is to appeal. Alright, so at times their enthusiasm gets a trifle ahead of their ability and a couple of times the clarinet player even caused me to raise an eyebrow, but I can easily forgive that for the sheer joy they demonstrate. There are other small problems, such as the piano at times being so off mic that you think you are listening to a banjo/drums/bass break rather than a piano break but, but, but, this is a fun CD and well worth the buying. The tracks are either jazz standards fm way back or tunes popular during the late 40s revival. My favourite track? Wrisberg’s Blues dished up as it should be and yet so rarely is.

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