COLIN KINGWELL'S JAZZ BANDITS
ALWAYS FOR PLEASURE
LAKE LACD59 1996 12 tracks 63 min
Fair & Square In Love; Beautiful Ohi; Vieux Carre Blues; When We Danced At The Mardi Gras; All I Do Is Dream Of you; In The Sweet Bye & Bye; Did You Mean It; Beg Your Pardon; Original Dixieland One-Step; You're Fooling' Someone; Where Could I Go But To The Lord; I'll Never Say Never Again.
From the first opening notes of the CD Colin Kingwell's Jazz bandits highjack your ears and attention and won't let go until the last bar closes. I was very impressed, especially as I didn't really know what to expect. Ok, so all the true blue jazz fans from the 50s know who he is, but I came to jazz via the Trad boom, and classic stylists such as Colin were beyond my ken, hey I didn't even catch up with the Guv'nor till I had been buying jazz records for five years!
What attracted me originally to this album was the fact that the tracks contained many rarely played numbers. Also I saw my favourite jazz drummer Malc Murphy's name, and I knew he wouldn't play with any old band. Old band? Well, some of the members are getting on a bit. Even Malc isn't the daring young man he was when I first saw him in the mid 60s. However, like a decent whisky, they are well rounded, smooth, mellow and yet have a decent bite! Trumpeter Dave Clennell gives a strong lead, Colin Kingwell underlines with his 'singing' trombone, and reeds man Rod Chambers gives outstanding performances on both clarinet and alto sax. The backline is equally as good with Doug Kennedy on banjo and Terry Knight on bass, and of course Malc Murphy listed as playing drums, but it sounds more like drums, traps and effects to me. I am sure Malc's signature tune should be "Oh, Didn't He Ramble". The style is New Orleans with a few more solo breaks than some N.O. bands use. The upbeat numbers are very good and move well and soon get your feet taping, but it is the down tempo numbers such as "Vieux Carre Blues", and "Where Could I Go To But To The Lord" that the band excels and had me reaching for the 'Repeat' button as they seemed to give the individual band members more opportunity to explore the musical nuances and display their talents more fully. This is one hot CD and a welcome addition to the renowned Lake catalogue.
COLIN KINSWELL'S JAZZ BANDITS
SPREADING A LITTLE HAPPINESS
LAKE LACD103 1998, 14 tracks 66 minutes
Bright Star, Nothing So Blue But The Sky, Heart Of My Heart, It's A Long Way To Tipperary, If I Didn't Care, Linger A While, Absolutely Positively, Look What You Missed, New Orleans, Who's It, How Can You Leave Me, Take A Ferry Boat To New Orleans, Louisiana Fairytale, Smooth Sailing.
The title says it all. This band, with its wonderful unique New Orleans style jazz, and its willingness to bring in and play little heard numbers, does indeed "Spread A Little Happiness" to this jazz reviewer.
Too many traditional jazz CDs today contain a mix of the same one hundred top jazz standards with only one or two unusual or rare numbers added. One of the great joys of listening to Colin and his Jazz Bandits is the wide range of tunes they play, few of which are from the normal jazz repertoire either standard or obscure. The band is, as usual, first-class, playing New Orleans style jazz in a laid back and relaxed manner that is a pleasure to listen to.
This band is one of only a small number playing in the New Orleans style that is acceptable to New Orleans affectionardos, and yet is easily accepted by folk to whom traditional jazz is an unknown pleasure. I trust that Lake will continue to give Colin Kingswell and his boys opportunities to record beautiful music as on this CD and therefore able to always be "Spreading A Little Happiness".
COLIN KINGWELL'S JAZZ BANDITS
SMILE DARN YOU SMILE
LAKE LACD140 2000 16 tracks 71 min
Smile Darn You Smile, Waiting For The Train To Come In, Bouncing Round, June In January, Is It True What They Say About Dixie, Seems Like Old Times, Donna Clara, Cherry, Meet Me Somewhere In My Dreams, When I Come To The End Of My Journey, If I Had You, Our Monday Date, Back O' Town Blues, Buddy's Habit, Moonlight Bay, Sweet Fields.
If you were to find yourself slipping into a dream world whilst listening to this it is not because the album is boring, but rather because the Bandits are playing smooth relaxed jazz. From track one you want to forget the world around you, close your eyes, tap your feet and, yes, smile darn you, smile.
Colin and the boys really are a pleasant band and on their CDs always manage to bring together well know tunes and obscure ones and do it in a mix that is as balanced as the band itself.
If you haven't got a CD by this band then you should have. Start with this one and I am sure you will be chasing Lake Records for their earlier issues.
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