Jazz Crusade JCCD-3079, 11 tracks 68min 2002

I'm With You Where You Are, My Little Girl, Ces't Si Bon, After The Ball, Laughing Samba, I Get The Blues When It Rains, Girl Of My Dreams, Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet, When My Dreamboat Comes Home, Three Little Word, J-P's Boogie

'After ze balls is hofer' drummer Marie Dandrieux croons and don't you just love that accent? It sounds like something from "'ello, 'ello"! My late mother would have loved this CD. Although it is traditional jazz all right it is played in strict tempo and the title 'Time to Dance' is meant. Mum would have grabbed the old man and had him dancing round our lounge, knocking ornaments off the shelves and laughing her head off with exuberance. We so often forget that jazz should be danced to as well as listened too. It is joyful music and so we shouldn't just tap our feet we should use them to step out. Lovely stuff on this CD with a fair mix of usual and unusual tunes. It would have been so easy for the band to slip into dance band mode and forgotten the jazz, but they here shew their abilities and offer you a bargain: dance music that is also, and at no extra charge, jazz! Ces't Si Bon



Jazz Crusade JCCD-3081, 10 tracks 66min 2002

Old Spinning Wheel, The Bells Of St Mary's, Tuxedo Junction, Shake It Break It, Blues For Jimmy, Bugle Boy March, *Chimes Blues, Exactly Like You, Pagan Love Song, Big Bill's Short Number*

This CD completes the tracks set down in 'Time to Dance' by Sweet Mary Cat and their North American Friends. Tracks 7-10* are from session that Big Bill Bissonnette recorded live in Lyon in 1993.

Mary's American Friends include two naturalised Canadians, Reide Kaiser on piano and Colin Bray on bass, an American domiciled Frenchman, the renowned Jacques Gauthe on reeds in addition to two Americans, Emil Mark on banjo and BBB himself, playing trombone for the first time since a triple bypass heart operation!

As with the earlier Dance album the music for the first six tracks is strict tempo and quite laid back without getting schmaltzy. In fact I think that it is rather 'clubby', it has that feel, all that is missing is the hanging cigarette smoke and the smell of spilt beer. Have you ever been to one of those clubs where you feel relaxed enough to go on the dance floor without worrying if you are going to make a fool of yourself because people are there just to enjoy themselves? Well this is it.

The remaining tracks are the Cats at home without Marie, who was pregnant at the time. The music is more jazz as you expect it. BBB rates Sweet Mary cat as France's best traditional jazz band. After hearing 'Chimes Blues' and a well wrung out 'Pagan Love Song' I can understand why.

Many would think that this CD is a 'parts basket' effort, using up tracks that couldn't be fitted in elsewhere. To me it is a CD well worth having in order to listen to first class jazzers playing in two different, but very closely related styles on the one album.

Sweet Mary Cat, are yet another example of how well traditional jazz extends across international boundaries. Gud on yah BBB for putting them down on CD (I almost said vinyl!).