MIKE DANIELS AND HIS DELTA JAZZMEN
Lake Records LACD118, 1999, 14 tracks, 63 min
Thick Lip Stomp, Skid-Dat-De-Dat, Lousiana, Saratoga Swing, Tank Town Bump, Manhattan, Big Boy, Kansas City Stomp, Got No Blues, Little Lawrence, Wa Wa Wa, Keyhole Blues, Thou Swell, Oh Baby
A digression: Micky Smith was one of five. His father and mine had been mates at school and, until emigration separated them, they remained friends. We often holidayed together; Mick, although about 3 years older than me made himself my mate. My parents believed it was because, by tagging along with me, he got more attention than he did when he was with his own tribe. I didn't care, as I liked him. Later, both being Rockers, we used to sometimes ride together. He bought himself an old Norton International and took me out on it. Near the end of the ride we went round Garratt Green and took the 90 degree bend at the end at a ridiculous pace that had sparks flying from footrest and frame. When we got back to my place, and after I had changed my underpants, Micky confessed that it was so long since he had taken the old road by the Springfield Ho farm that he had forgotten that the bend went at right angles. Enough digression; Micky Smith was a jazz fanatic. Even as a schoolboy he had a good collection of records. My father, also into jazz at the time, had one of those new fangled stereos. The result was Mick got a chance to play his music rather than queue up after his siblings, and dad got to hear a wider selection of jazz. I remember one evening when dad and Mick, both sitting on kitchen chairs exactly central between the speakers as the new stereo hand book prescribed, were listening to a band that sounded rather different from the usual ones. I was told it was Mike Daniels, and that he played in a style that was hard to define. Later that week Mike Daniels played at a local jazz club; dad took Mick with him. Fifteen year old Mick later told me that he enjoyed the two half of beer my old man bought him almost as much as the jazz!
I later tried to get recordings by the band (I never got to see them live), but failed, having only a reel-to-reel copy of Micky Smith's, 'Mike on Mike', album that, for some reason, deteriorated till it was useless. Reading the sleeve notes of this CD, it would appear that the band only released two albums, one of which is this CD, a re-issue of a Stomp Off record, and even then, that record was recorded at re-unions in 1988/89.
The lack of material is very regrettable, as Mike Daniels and his Delta Jazzmen are superb. My father said that their style was hard to define, and he was right. Chameleon like, the band slides from early New Orleans, to West Coast to Chicago to, well all sorts. The only attempt at definition I will attempt is to say that Daniels' punchy trumpet is oft like Louis Armstrong when he was playing with his Hot Five and Hot Seven.
If you have never heard Mike Daniels play, get this CD. If you have never heard of Mike Daniels, get this CD. I have waited for years to get hold of some material by this band, and it has been worth the wait!BACK TO TOP OF PAGE