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THE BEST OF BRITISH TRADITIONAL JAZZ 1960-61

Phillips 818 651-2 1984, 19 tracks, 59 min.

St. George's Rag, Lazy River, Stevedore Stomp/ Tuxedo Rag, Creole Love Call, 1919 Rag/ Oh Monah, Wild Man Blues/ Dardanella, Montmatre, Hindustan/ Creole Jazz, Perdido Street Blues, Papa Dip/ South, Mable's Dream, Sweet Sue.

A selection of reissued tracks from before that time when all young musicians thought that you needed electricity make an instrument work. This marks the time that Traditional Jazz was sliding into Trad and the tracks were deliberately kept short to fit on a 45 should the desire be there. Having said that; this is still good stuff, some tracks are excellent. One thing I have not managed to work out though is how Nat Gonella and his Jazz Band get to be on a Traditional Jazz album, in fact I haven't even reviewed their contribution.

Chris Barber's Jazz Band contributes the first four tracks. Despite it being non-purist to say so; Ian Wheeler's alto sax playing on "Stevedore Stomp" is excellent and the highlight of the track. I must mention the track "Phil's Late" as it points the way Chris Barber was heading. It is very mainstream but is saved by Pat Halcox's spirited playing on muted trumpet. Monty Sunshine's band plays two good tracks, one of which is noticeable for having a tuba on the bass, I saw Monty play many times from 1961-69 yet never once saw a tuba used. The third track is Monty playing with himself, on clarinets. Alex Welsh's three tracks are competent, but not memorable. Acker Bilk's three tracks include a typical 60's clarinet solo on "Creole Jazz", a very good "Papa Dip", and what I feel is the definitive version of "Perdido Street Blues". It is not Just Acker's clear clarinet, Colin Smith's excellent trumpet, or Johnny Mortimer's tailgate trombone, its the overall ensemble, really tasty. Then there's the Guv'nor playing with his usual class. The best of his tracks has to be "Mable's Dream". However you must listen to the banjo by Johnny Bastable on "Sweet Sue" which is made the more noticeable by the excellent use of the stereo effect. One thing mars Ken's tracks, too much bass. This is probably why he made few studio recordings during this period.This album is an excellent pot puri, provided you use the skip button on Nat Gonella !


NEW ORLEANS SAMPLER

Jazz Crusade JCCD 3051, 18 tracks 72min

The Sheikh Of Araby, Bye & Bye, Sweet Mama, They All Asked For You, Red Wing, Smile Darn You Smile, My Gal Sal, Joe Avery's Piece, Tishomingo Blues, Down Home Rag, Ice Cream, Nearer My God To Thee, Do What Ory Say, I Know That You Know, Southern Blues, Smiles, Chicago Rhythm, You Rascal You

New Orleans is the home of traditional jazz, right? Well, not anymore, according to a cyber friend of mine who lives there. The locals neglect the jazz for Rhythm and Blues and Cajun music. So, at least it is safe to say that the good old US of A is the home of traditional jazz, right? In fact the centre of interest for traditional jazz has shifted to Europe; Britain and Scandinavia in particular. This compendium CD of music from the Jazz Crusade confirms the importance of Europe to the survival of traditional jazz. Of the 18 bands playing, four are European and a further six have British band members.

Only one of the tracks is dated, though case notes from some other Jazz Crusade CDs I have from which the albums tracks come, are dated from the late 90s. Despite the lack of dating, I will put my head on the line (and Big Bill Bissonnette the label owner will be steaming up his train if I have it wrong) and say that the later the track, the more likely the band is to be European or at least feature European bands-men. Which is a sad thing. One of the reasons for me wanting this CD, is that I am an English born Kiwi, and my jazz collection shows this with British and Australian bands dominating (though my cyber mate Bengt in Sweden is helping to increase the Norse content). So, I need more contemporary American traditional jazz, as opposed to adding to my collection of classic jazz recordings. I have managed to get some West Coast CDs (reviewed elsewhere on this page), but whither New Orleans? The resultant acquisition of this CD only partly solves my dilemma due to the European content of so many of the bands. One thing that is quite noticeable is that the American bands have 'developed' the style, whilst the European ones have 'retained' yet 'refined' the style. For this reason alone you should buy this CD, to see the difference between them. Featuring jazzmen like; Kid Thomas, Kid Sheik, Milton Batiste, Sammy Rimington, Ken Colyer, Capt. John Handy, Punch Miller, Wilbur De Paris, Geoff Cole, Brian Carrick, Johnny Parker, Pat Hawes, Tony Pyke and Big Bill himself you know that this CD contains much good jazz too, so get onto Big Bill and order a copy!


A GOLDEN HOUR OF TRAD JAZZ

KNIGHT RECORDS KGH CD 103 1990 20 tracks 61 min

Marching Through Georgia, American Patrol, Tishomingo Blues, Whistling Rufus, Sur Le Pont D'Avignon, Delia Gone, One Sweet Letter From You, Dinah, Travelling Blues, Petite Fleur, Easter Parade, My Buckets Got A Hole In It, Careless Love, Perfect Rag, Savoy Blues, Yellow Dog Blues, Willie The Weeper, Mood Time Swing, Wild Cat Blues, Lord Let Me In The Lifeboat.

This is the same compilation released in the early 60's by Pye as "Jazz Britannia Vols 1 & 2" with the tracks by Mickey Ashman omitted ( a crying shame that as I thought them to be excellent). The tracks are from the late 50's and very early 60's and feature a whose who of British Trad. My main reason for buying is that my old Pye LPs are getting very worn (after playing this CD I found that they were even more worn than I had thought). Although this album is cheap in price it is not cheap in quality. All the bands were probably at their peak, and still more New Orleans than Trad. This "re-issue" lets you hear just how good they were. Acker Bilk was still strict New Orleans. and such is the quality and balance of the band that it was little wonder that he made such an impact on the jazz scene of the time: today it would have been regarded as the second coming by most jazz fans. Kenny Ball and his band, though playing a more structured style, were still a jazzband and not the cabaret show they are now. Chris Barber still towed the line and had Monty Sunshine on clarinet, who features on two of the tracks. Another of Chris Barber tracks has my beloved Ottilie Patterson on vocal (How did you guess that this was the track on the LPs that was most worn out ?). I have in the past been very critical of Terry Lightfoot for his overt commercialism, the tracks on this selection show the gold beneath the dross. Even Bob Wallis, who can at times be raucous and excessively hurried, is on his best behaviour. One of his tracks is a fine piano solo, and, although I ought to know who is playing, the pianists name escapes me. The final band featured are the Clyde Valley Stompers, and although they have only the one track it is very well presented.

All in all I think that this CD is well worth buying, not because it is cheap, not because of nostalgia, but because of the excellent jazz it contains.


THE BRITISH TRADITIONAL JAZZ COLLECTION VOL. 1

PHILLIPS 830 787-2 1989 20 tracks 68 min.

Chattanooga Stomp/ Big Bill/ King Porter Stomp/ Lonesome/ Cheek to Cheek/ Ma Curly Headed Baby/ Blues at Dawn/ A Couple of Swells/ Tandy/ Dave's Departure/ Maple Leaf Rag/ King Kong/ Soleil Perdu/ Snake Rag/ Chimes Blues/ That's my Weakness Now/ Night Ferry/ Cubana Chant/ Wimoweh/ High Society

I remember as a kid when the only time the family could afford a box of chocolates was at Christmas. Everyone wanted the hard centres, chewy centres came second place, and the soft centres last, with no-one wanting the strawberry cream. That's what I was reminded of when I bought this CD and the second Volume. Before I start commenting on the "selection", I would like to say that the quality of the recordings comes as a revelation compared to how they sounded on the original records. The tracks date from 1957 to 62, some never before released.

Let's start with the hard centres; and the first out of the box is a swinging "Chattanooga Stomps" from Acker Bilk. Next, can I tempt you with what must be the prized brazil of the selection, Mike Daniels' with, "King Porter Stomp" (complete with sousaphone) and "Soleil Perdu" ? Then there is Ken Colyer's "Cheek to Cheek" and "Chimes Blues", beautiful and fluid these two, hang like golden syrup from the spoon. The band is the Duncan/Wheeler line up. They both reappear in the Sims-Wheeler vintage Jazz Band, with "Snake Rag" being a hard centre, but "Ma Curly Headed Baby" the aero of the selection. Ian is also in a disappointing Chris Barber band.

Now for the chewies. Surprisingly I have to include Humph Lyttleton's " Blues at Dawn" where, despite all else, Humph's muted trumpet and Tony Coe's clarinet leave a beautiful after taste. The numbers from Alex Welsh, Alan Elsdon and Terry Lightfoote fit into this class being competent, though somewhat light weight, trad. However Terry almost broke a tooth with a quality performance on the previously unreleased "Dave's Departure". This number starts with the front line playing in harmony, but soon becomes a collage of excellent blues solo breaks.

Lastly the soft centres. Chris Barber's tracks are not up to the usual good standard of the time. As this is supposed to be a trad album I must include the tunes by Al Fairweather and Sandy Brown's All-stars with the softies. Even the writer of the cover notes comments that they shouldn't really be on the album. Mind I must admit their "Maple Leaf Rag" is quite nice, perhaps the creme-de-menthe track. And the strawberry cream ? Humph's small and sticky "That's my Weakness Now".

The last track is a crunchy "High Society" from Acker Bilk. This is a previously unreleased track from the film "It's Trad Dad", and I suppose that sums it all up.


THE BRITISH TRADITIONAL JAZZ COLLECTION VOL. 2

PHILLIPS 830 788-2 1989 20 tracks 68 min

Stomp,Stomp, Stomp/ Jacqueline/ When I Leave the World Behind/ Memphis March/ Creole Love Call/ Senora/ Carolina Moon/ Tell it to the Marines/ Riverside Blues/ Papa Dip/

Sobbin' and Cryin'/ Grandpa's Spells/ Weeping Willow Blues/ Montmartre/ Oh, You Beautiful Doll/ Out of the Gassion/ Revival/ Solitariness/ King Kong/ Somebody Stole My Gal/

More of the same with tracks from 1960-1962. The more I hear of the Sims-Wheeler Vintage Jazzband playing music such as that on "Stomp Stomp Stomp" and "Weeping Willow Blues" the more I regret the lack of material on issue. I'll say the same for Mickey Ashman (if anyone out there can help me with material from either of these bands give me a yell). Acker Bilk's tracks are still in strict New Orleans style and he presents two beautiful numbers in "Creole Love Call" and "Grandpa's Spells" which have Jonny Mortimer on trombone in particularly fine form. Terry Lightfoot took me by surprise with a good rendition of "Riverside Blues". Ken Colyer's tracks are alternative versions of those issued on the Phillips CD "Ken Colyer-The Govenor". The fact that both "Papa Dip" and "Somebody Stole My Gal" on this CD are over a minute longer proves, if nothing else, that Ken never played a tune twice exactly the same. So, what now ? Buy the CDs, get a box of chocolates, sit back, and enjoy. Every time you get a selection you know that there is bound to be something you don't like, but picking them over, surely, is half the fun !


MORE OF "BEST OF DIXIELAND"

Compact Jazz, 1989, Philips 838 347-2 18 tracks 71 min.

China Boy, Gloryland, Solitariness, Shimme-sha-wabble, The Albatross, Ballin' the Jack, Yama Yama Man, The Sunshine of your Blues, Blues my Naughty Sweetie gave to Me, Oh didn't he Ramble, Ole Miss Rag, St. Louis Blues, Riverboat Shuffle, Come back Sweet Papa, Lead me Saviour, Ida, Big Bill Blues, The World is Waiting for the Sunrise,

I often buy a compilation album, such as this, to expand my knowledge and tastes. This CD has tracks recorded from 1950-68 from 10 American bands and 8 British. Whilst all the British bands were familiar to me some of the American weren't. To claim that this album is "Best of" is a misnomer; much of it is very mediocre, in fact I would not be surprised to hear that most of the tracks were salvaged from the studios reject bin !

I have never been a fan of Red Allen so the blandness of his tracks came as no surprise, but I know for certain that both George Lewis and Eddie Condon are capable of much better efforts than the lack lustre tracks on this CD. I would go so far to say that anyone hearing their bands for the first time by playing this CD would wonder as to why they are listed amongst the great jazzmen. The rest of the American contingent is no better though Ken Davern & his Salty Dogs play a very spirited "Gloryland" and the Original Tuxedo Jass Band really makes "The World is Waiting for the Sunshine" move along even if the track suffers from an annoying echo. Whilst mitigating my comments I must say that, despite getting a bit out of balance, Lu Watter's Yerba Buena Jazz Band's "Blues my Naughty Sweetie ..." must be listened to, if only for their pure enthusiasm.

The British bands acquit themselves better, but the tracks are slick, if professional, and very "Trad". Even the Guv'nor's "St. Louis Blues" is not up to his usual standard. Ken's Jazzmen, with the Stewart/Rimington line up, move along well enough but lack the normal sparkle; perhaps the ale was flat that day. Acker Bilk plays an interesting, though not brilliant, "Ole Miss Rag" with Per Hansen on second trumpet, and The Sims-Wheeler Vintage Jazz Band play a very sweet "Ida". An underrated band this that broke up before it reached its true potential.

The best track is Chris Barber's "Solitariness". A beautifully crafted number, full of memorable phrases. The worst track is "Lead me Saviour" by Dejan's Olympia Brass Band. Bands of this type, I believe, often lead the funeral parades in New Orleans. If they all sounded like this I bet the mourners regarded the deceased as the lucky one ! Is this album worth buying ? Perhaps, if only for "Solitariness".


RARE CUTS - WELL DONE

GEORGE LEWIS*, BUNK JOHNSON & SISTER ERNESTINE WASHINGTON#, RICHARD M JONES JASS WIZARDS%, BILLIE & DEDE PIERCE~

JAZZ CRUSADE JCCD 3059 2001 19 tracks 71 min

At A Georgia Camp Meeting*, Chimes Blues*, The Lord Will Make A Way Somehow#, Where Could I go But To The Lord#, Does Jesus Care (1) #, Does Jesus Care (2) #, God's Amazing Grace#, 29th & Dearborn (1)%, 29th & Dearborn (2)%, New Orleans Hop Scop Blues (1)%, New Orleans Hop Scop Blues (2)%, Jazzin' Babies Blues%, Canal Street Blues%, Swanee River~, Sallee Dame~, Every Woman's Blues~, Eh! La Bas~, Carless Love~, Honky Tonk Town~

 This CD is made up of musically and historically important recordings that are not all available elsewhere. The George Lewis tracks are from 1952, the Bunk and Sister Ernestine are from 1946, the jazz Wizards from 1944 and the Pierces from 1967. With such a widespread timeframe the quality of the recordings vary considerable with some of the earlier tracks being of better quality than the later ones!

This is an important CD to me if only for the Bunk Johnson tracks, of which I have a dearth. It was also important to me to have George Lewis' 'Chimes Blues'. It is generally recognised that George was a great influence on the British revivalist of the late 40's, 50's and early 60s. I have many versions of 'Chimes Blues' from early 50s Ken Colyer and Chris Barber versions to a 90s version by New Zealand's own Vintage Jazz Band. It is nice to see how they all compare.

There is some very interesting pieces here, and I must agree with Jazz Crusade's Big Bill Bissonnette that the Jazz Wizard session is just lovely jazz and that they are a fantastically competent jazz band with baby Dodds being truly amazing. Now if only I can find some more of their material………


RARE CUTS - WELL DONE

GEORGE LEWIS*, BUNK JOHNSON & SISTER ERNESTINE WASHINGTON#, RICHARD M JONES JASS WIZARDS%, BILLIE & DEDE PIERCE~

JAZZ CRUSADE JCCD 3059 2001 19 tracks 71 min

At A Georgia Camp Meeting*, Chimes Blues*, The Lord Will Make A Way Somehow#, Where Could I go But To The Lord#, Does Jesus Care (1) #, Does Jesus Care (2) #, God's Amazing Grace#, 29th & Dearborn (1)%, 29th & Dearborn (2)%, New Orleans Hop Scop Blues (1)%, New Orleans Hop Scop Blues (2)%, Jazzin' Babies Blues%, Canal Street Blues%, Swanee River~, Sallee Dame~, Every Woman's Blues~, Eh! La Bas~, Carless Love~, Honky Tonk Town~

 This CD is made up of musically and historically important recordings that are not all available elsewhere. The George Lewis tracks are from 1952, the Bunk and Sister Ernestine are from 1946, the jazz Wizards from 1944 and the Pierces from 1967. With such a widespread timeframe the quality of the recordings vary considerable with some of the earlier tracks being of better quality than the later ones!

This is an important CD to me if only for the Bunk Johnson tracks, of which I have a dearth. It was also important to me to have George Lewis' 'Chimes Blues'. It is generally recognised that George was a great influence on the British revivalist of the late 40's, 50's and early 60s. I have many versions of 'Chimes Blues' from early 50s Ken Colyer and Chris Barber versions to a 90s version by New Zealand's own Vintage Jazz Band. It is nice to see how they all compare.

There is some very interesting pieces here, and I must agree with Jazz Crusade's Big Bill Bissonnette that the Jazz Wizard session is just lovely jazz and that they are a fantastically competent jazz band with baby Dodds being truly amazing. Now if only I can find some more of their material………


RARE CUTS – WELL DONE- VOL11 SLIP HORN

Kid Ory*, Preston Jackson!, De Priest Wheeler~

Jazz Crusade JCCD 3119 2007, 72 min

*Ball The Jack, Bucket’s Got A Hole In It, Wang Wang Blues, I’m With You Where You Are, Down In Jungle Town, Shine, Tuxedo Junction, After You’ve Gone, I’ve Found A New Baby, !Trombone Man, Harmony Blues, Houston Bound, It’s Tight Jim #1, It’s Tight Jim #2, Yearning For Mandalay, ~Everybody Stomp, Riverboat Shuffle, Down & Out Blues, Original Two-Time Man, Snag ‘Em Blues

 

Where does Big Bill Bissonnette keep finding these gems? I mean; the Depriest Wheeler Missourians’ tracks are labelled ‘lost’ and are not on any of the compilations of the band’s music that have been issued.

The first 9 tracks are by Kid Ory’s band, and are ex-radio tracks from the early 50s. The sound is sharp and the music good, but they all suffer in varying degrees from surface scuffing, and this is one of those things that sound filters cannot strip out without destroying the sound quality completely – I know; I’ve tried.

The two tracks most affected by the scuffing are ‘Bucket’s Got a Hole In It’ and ’Tuxedo Junction’. This is a shame as they are both excellent interpretations and give good examples not just of Ory’s tailgate trombone but also the talents of Teddy Bruckner on trumpet and Joe Darensbourg on clarinet. 3 tracks feature another clarinettist, Pud Brown, but he is nowhere near as good as Darensbourg and, to my mind, on the too fast ‘Shine’ he does at times come unstuck. So; does the sound quality and an iffy clarinettist on 3 tracks ruin Ory’s contribution to this CD? No. These are rare radio tracks and Kid Ory has to have been New Orleans’ most influential trombonist, certainly in Europe, and to hear him live and in full flow with Teddy Buckner and Joe Darensbourg in the front line is a treat you wont want to miss. Besides; haven’t you got some old LPs from way back that aren’t the best, soundwise, but you still play because you love the jazz? Some tracks may be a bit muzzy in parts, but not disastrously so.

Now, Preston Jackson: pass. He is a new one for me and no doubt the historians out there, especially the Americans, will be shaking their heads, but sorry, beyond my ken.

The tracks are from July 1926. The early date means that the sound is a mite flat, but there are few extraneous sounds. The only real problem comes when there are vocals as it is not always easy to hear the lyrics.

Big Bill’s comments on trombonist Preston Jackson are interesting, for he says that he is so smooth he originally thought the man was playing a valve trombone rather than a slide one. I was quite taken by the 5 tracks the band play in this CD and particularly noted the sympathetic way Elzadie Robinson played the violin. Usually when we think jazz violin we think 'Club de Paris', but this is not the case here where the instrument is almost clarinet in its style and thus fits in well with a traditional jazz sound. My favourite track was ‘Harmony Blues’. I have this by the short lived Australian band, Jazz on Tap and the arrangement is very similar. There are two versions of ‘It’s Tight Jim’; I prefer #1, but it was fun listening time & again to make up my mind and the final decision was purely subjective, though possibly influenced by the interesting tenor sax break.

Now, step back in time even further to 1925 and the Missourians with Depriest Wheeler on trombone. Big Bill says that they are his favourite band of all time. I can’t say the same, but I have always admired them. My biggest regret, and possibly Bill’s too, is that after Cab Calloway took them over and ensconced them in the Cotton Club, they stopped issuing instrumental recordings. I may not have many CD’s by the band but I have always been a fan of the Temperance Seven and the Missourians are, I am sure, where that great jazzman and vintage jazz record collector, John RT Davies found the sound they wanted to imitate. Personally I think this CD is worth its money for these 4 tracks alone. From the strutting ‘Everybody Stomps’ to the high stepping ‘Snag ‘em Blues’ the Missourians play hot jazz at its finest and ’Down & Out Blues’ really blew me away. I was listening to this on the bus the other morning with my eyes closed. When I opened them again I half expected to see gangsters riding the running boards of cars, Thompson machine guns in hand!

Brilliant CD Bill; got any more like this?


RARE CUTS – WELL DONE 312: NEW ORLEANS OBSCURITIES

Papa Celestin(1947)*, Johnny Dodds(1927)+, Jelly Roll Morton(1940)~, Sidney Bechet (1945)#, Jimmie Noone(1940)^, New Orleans Rhythm Kings (1934)

Jazz Crusade JCCD-3123, 2007, 24 tracks 66min

 

MARYLAND MY MARYLAND*, MY JOSEPHINE*, MARIE LE VEAU*, EH LA BAS*, 19TH STREET BLUES+, LOVELESS LOVE+, OH DADDY+, WINDIN’ BOY BLUES~, KING PORTER STOMP~, GOT IT & GONE#, SISTER KATE#, PANAMA#, THEN YOU’RE DRUNK^, MOODY MELODY^, I’M GOING HOM^E, THEY GOT MY NUMBER NOW^, BLUIN’ THE BLUES, SAN ANTONIO SHOUT, JAZZ ME BLUES, TIN ROOF BLUES, ORIGINAL DIXIE JASS BAND ONE STEP, OSTRICH WALK, SENSATION, PANAMA

 

In his notes Jazz Crusade’s owner, Big Bill Bissonnette, says that, given the fact that jazz happens, rather than is written down note for note, means that the music only lives because of recordings. That is very true, and indeed the whole British-North Europe traditional jazz scene that exploded after the Second World War only came about because of recordings from the 20s & 30s made by American bands of the Classic era. Indeed, to this day one can discern a difference in approach to the music when listening to recordings emanating from America compared to those from countries bordering the North Sea that I am sure results from this.

The 24 tracks on this CD come from, as the titles says, obscure recordings by some well know jazz musicians. B3 concedes that the recording values vary, but on the whole they are fine, with the Johnny Dodds’ tracks being exceptionally clear, given their age.

Papa Celestine kicks the fun off. Never anything but interesting and rather ‘rough cut’, Celestine always entertains, and these tracks are no exception. ‘Maryland my Maryland’ was the first real jazz tune I picked up on. I was a member of a Boy’s Brigade bugle & drum band and the strident trumpet call connected straight away as it just so suited to a bugle.

Johnny Dodds was always one of my favourite clarinettists. I have many tracks of his and am pleased to have some new ones in my collection, especially the surprisingly up-beat ‘Loveless Love’ (Careless Love). I must admit though, I think ‘Oh Daddy’ is in too high a key.

The notes say that the two Jelly Roll Morton tracks are the last know recordings he made and come from a radio programme. B3 seems amused at Morton’s acquired titles of ‘Dr Ferdinand’ and ‘Professor’, all the while retaining his sexually implicit nickname of ‘Jelly Roll’. Myself, I am amused but the deadpan voice of the announcer; so typical of the period. ‘Windin’ Boy Blues’ is better known in Europe and the Colonies as ‘Whining Boy Blues’, with suitably derogatory lyrics and minus the sudden up-beat bars Morton throws in a couple of times. Morton was a genius, and these tracks do nothing to dispel that impression.

Sidney Bechet is one of those jazz musicians who can be rather lack lustre in an ensemble, but really shine as a soloist. Here his talent is ‘framed’ by the greats Joe Sullivan on piano, Pops Foster on string bass and George Wetting on drums. Of interest is the first track, ‘Got it & Gone’ as Bechet is on clarinet, as opposed to his more familiar soprano sax.

You certainly are aware of the change of artist when the silky smooth clarinet of Jimmie Noone brings in ‘Then You’re Drunk’, the first of four tunes featuring the 60+ cigarettes a day voice of Ed Thompson. Hearing that track the words ‘been there, done that, got the T shirt’ crossed my mind.

The tracks by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings are solid and competent rather than brilliant. Having said that, after turning the album off I found myself still mentally playing alongside them on ‘Original Dixie Jass Band One Step’. The old Dixie One Step is one of those tunes so very easy to make bland, but the NORK keep it sounding fresh and innovative.

Overall a very interesting and worthwhile CD.


THE ALBERTS*, BONZO DOG DOO DAH BAND+, TEMPERANCE SEVEN#

BY JINGO: IT’S BRITISH RUBBISH

HUX Records 1999, 26 tracks

Morse Code Melody*, Sahara#, Ali Baba’s Camel+, Everybody Loves My Baby#, On Her Doorstep Last Night+, Hard Hearted Hannah#, Sleepy Valley*, Jazz Delicious Hot Disgusting Cold+, Vo-De-Do-De-O Blues#, I’m Going To Bring A Watermelon To My Girl Tonight+, You Gotta Go ‘Oow’*, You’re Driving Me Crazy#, Dr Jazz+, Pasadena#, By A Waterfall+, Kaiser Drag#, My Brother Makes The Noises For The Talkies+, Ukulele Lady#, Blaze Away*, Running Wild#, Jollity Farm+, Thanks For The Melody#, Laughing Blues+, That Certain Party#, Hunting Tigers In India+, Goodbye Dolly Gray*

I saw this second-hand and had to have it. Most British jazz fans will have heard of the Temperance Seven, but the Alberts are not well known and the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band are better known for their later non-jazz work, such as ‘Urban Spaceman’.

It is a funny CD with the humour running from the po-faced Temperance Seven to the manic Alberts with the Bonzos sitting in between the extremes.

The Temp 7 play 20-30s jazz flavoured dance music, often with amusing lyrics. They are totally professional in their music and they have a polish that was not matched until the Pasadena Roof Orchestra came along. Apart from ‘Thanks For The Melody’, the Temp 7 tracks on this CD can also be found on Lake’s ‘Pasadena & the Lost Cylinders’.

The Alberts are musical mayhem. I once saw them live and found them very good but, without the visuals, the ‘music’ can grate (though a fellow jazz collector who knew them said that they were in fact good musicians when the mood took them). The Bonzos were something of a local band to me as they too lived in Earlsfield Road, Wandsworth and often could be seen in the local corner shop (in those days one could get by with a rudimentary knowledge of Yorkshire Tyke dialect rather than today’s Urdu or Hindi). I had first heard them playing ‘My Brother Makes The Noises For The Talkies’ and later also managed to get a copy of ‘Button Up Your Overcoat’ (not on this CD). At the time I worked part-time at Wimbledon Stadium and one of my fellow workmates had been to Art College with some of the Bonzos (he also knew Pink Floyd). He used to tip me off when the band was to play on Saturday Club. That way I could make sure I was around the office at the times they were due to play. My one regret was, being at work, I never got to record these live sessions and thus do not have a copy of their classic, but un-recorded, ‘Micky Mouse’s Wedding’. The Bonzos can be very musically classy, as on ‘Laughing Blues’, or shambolic, as on ‘Jazz Delicious Hot Disgusting Cold’. Either way, they were always amusing, if not always rug bitingly funny.

Why do I have an interest in ‘novelty’ songs from the 20s & 30s? Blame my father. When I was a young lad he gave me his old 78 collection to play with (though not his treasured Harry Roy ones). I acquired a taste for the bizarre and learnt to sympathise with singers who dolefully told me ‘She was only a fisherman’s daughter, but she lost her plaice poor sole’. As a result of my background I enjoyed the CD, but many would say that it is rubbish. Rubbish? Of course its rubbish! But, at least it is British rubbish!


Hans Knudsen’s Jumpband, New Orleans Delight, Ricardo’s Jazzmen, Louisiana Jazzband, Paul Harrison, Ronald Andresen Special edition Band, Peruna Jazzmen, Vestre Jazzværk, Claus Forchhammer’s Orkester, Jazz Five, HotJazz Syndicate, Leonardo Pedersen’s Jazzkapel

LONG JOHN JAZZKLUB’S 10-Års JUBILÆUMS CD 1995-2005

longjohncd1 2004 54 min 13 tracks

Let Me Go Home Whiskey, Go To New Orleans, My Baby Just Cares For Me, Lonesome Road, That’s A Plenty, I Wish I Knew How It Feels To Be Free, Take Your Black Bottom Dance Outside, Someday You’ll Be Sorry, I Must Have That Man, Buena Sera, Hello Dolly, St Louis Blues, Caledonia

 

There have been those who have told me I am a traditional jazz fanatic. I am not; I’m a jazz lover. To be a fanatic one is focused only on the object of your fanaticism. I have a broad taste in music from English unaccompanied folk to rock and roll, from drum & bugle band to Mozart, from … well you get the idea. My only exclusions are Rap (shouldn’t it be spelt with a silent ‘C’?) with its Hip Hop and other variants and then there is Bee Bop (as I once asked: ‘When are they going to stop tuning their instruments and actually start playing?’). It is just that traditional jazz is my first preference. Then of course there is an awful lot of variety within even that genre. My preference in traditional jazz is New Orleans, but I do like all the other forms to varying degrees. This CD from Long John Jazzklub in Copenhagen has a wide mix of bands and styles. There is everything from Rhythm and Blues (Hans Knudsen’s Jumpband) to strict New Orleans (New Orleans Delight). From Bilk flavoured mainstream (Jazz Five) to 20s Charleston (Peruna Jazzmen) with some bigger band jazz thrown in (Leonardo Pedersen’s Jazzkapel) and other shades of traditional jazz along the way.

My wife and I have only managed to visit Copenhagen once and our 3 days there were filled with pleasure. Amongst our outings was one to the Jazzhus at Tivoli Gardens. Now if we had known of Long John’s place we would have given that a visit too.

One of the great things about compendium CDs is that you get a chance to get to know new bands. All bar one of the tracks come from CDs issued by other companies. Now, to be honest, some of what is on the CD is starting to edge away from my taste in jazz, so I know what CDs I won’t be buying (although I confess that if any of the bands here were in town I would still be queuing up to buy a ticket to see them). I also know which bands I want to know more about and what CDs I will be looking out for.

You will have to excuse me as I have to go now and put ‘Peruna Jazzmen’ into my Web search engine.


 BEST OF FEMØ 2004

Vad Lyd VLCD 0501 2005 15 tracks 76 min

*YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE, FLOAT ME DOWN THE RIVER, !BLUE LIGHT OF DAY, HARD RUBBISH NIGHT, +FIDGETY FEET, =ONCE IN A WHILE, HUN MISTED DEN I NAT PA D’ANGELTERRE, #GILLES BOOGIE, GEORGIA CABIN, ^FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE, ICE CREAM, <TIGER RAG, >EH LA BAS, ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN, ~YOU NEVER CAN TELL

What an unusual mixture these live recordings from the Femø Jazz festival are! Some, such as New Orleans Delight, Vestre Jazzwerk and Secondline Jazzband are familiar with me, but the rest I have not come across before. How to review this CD? I think it best to it one band at a time.

New Orleans Delight* are one of my favourite bands. On these two excellent tracks they have Norbert Susemihl guesting on trumpet and ’You Are My Sunshine’ features that wonderful Australian singer, Lee Gunness (if you like what you hear then buy Music Mecca CD4091-2 reviewed under New Orleans Delight). A top class band giving you two top class tracks in New Orleans style jazz.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with Australian band, The Band Who Know Too Much! As seeing that they had an accordion I wondered if they might be a Cajun zideco outfit, but on hearing them they are more in the line of the ‘good time bands’ that were popular in New Zealand in the late 70's and early 80's. The audience was very enthusiastic, but I wonder if they really understood ‘Hard Rubbish Night’ which tells the tale of ‘scroungers’ in the Melbourne suburb of Kew. I laughed when I heard it as I had seen similar antics in Auckland with Westies doing the rounds of the more affluent suburb of Waitakere trying to beat the official rubbish collectors to the ‘treasures’ that had been put out for collection.

Doohackedoodles Jazzband+ have a strange name, but a rather nice sound and I enjoyed listening to their version of ‘Fidgety Feet’; nothing outstanding, just a nice clean interpretation of a La Rocca classic.

Vestre Jazz = always makes me think of the British band, Alan Elsdon’s Jazzmen from the mid 60s; a band for which I hold some affection. Having said that, the illusion was dispersed this time round when Jack Lauwersen sang ‘Hun Misted Den I Nat D’Angelterre’ in Danish!

The first tune by Jean Baptiste & Olivier Franc All Stars# reminded me of some of the old style Rock ‘n Roll of the early 50s when its roots in jazz, blues and boogie woogie were more apparent and the Country & Western element hadn’t tamed it. Their second tune, ‘Georgia Cabin’ is entirely different and appropriately enough for a Sydney Bechet number features a soprano sax. I did glance at the list of band members and saw Daniel Bechet there, but he is on drums. The tune also features electric guitar, but in any band claiming any connection to traditional jazz I have problems with such as the electric guitar is so dominant an instrument it has to be considered front line and to my ear and mind that is not right.

Second Line Jazzband^ is another Scandinavian band I am familiar with. It is one of the few bands featuring a tenor sax in a three man front line that I feel sounds really good and nicely balanced. Their version of ‘Ice Cream’ with the front line starting off unaccompanied makes for a fun interpretation that stays with you.

I’m not sure just what to make of Spar to +1 +1<. The concept of three clarinets playing ‘Tiger Rag’ is interesting and different, but it can get a bit much and I certainly wouldn’t want to listen to a whole CD with that line up.

‘Eh La Bas’ by Neander’s Jazzband made me wonder just how many cigarettes a day singer Per Neander smoked to get such a voice as his; dark mahogany describes it best I think. The band’s ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ was straight from the sound of the Rock Show Bands that were an underlying element of British Rock ‘n Roll from the mid 50s to the mid 60s. I instantly found myself comparing it to the version of the tune I have by Pat Wayne & the Beachcombers. It is a genre I love and I have to confess to owning several tracks by Lord Rockingham’s XI plus the full issue of Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers to name the better known. Indeed the nearest sound to that of Neander’s is The Rebel Rousers in their final years when they boosted the brass in their front line. This is the sort of stuff that you need at weddings to get everyone up on the floor jiving and twisting.

Continuing the jiving theme is the final track, ‘You Never Can Tell’ by Jazz Five~; real party stuff

Quite a mixed bag this CD with something for everyone who enjoys a rollicking time, but perhaps not one for the New Orleans purest.

Available from Jørgen Vad vadlyd@vadlyd.dk The CD cost 100 Danish kroner + p&p.


BEST OF FEMØ 2008

Vad Lyd VLCD 0901 2009 15 tracks 78min

*Buona Sera, *Reet Petite, +Honeysuckle Rose, <We Shall Walk Through The Streets Of The City, <True, #Variety Stomp, #Imagination, ^Undecided, =Kansas City Blues, !Moten Swing, {I’ll Be Working For My Lord, {Give Some Loving, -Big Boss, @Some Of These Days, @Spinning Round & Round

This CD is another unusual and eclectic mixture of live recordings from the Femø Jazz Festival.

I think the easiest way to review this CD is to take it band by band.

Jazz Five*: The first track ‘Buona Sera' continues the Acker Bilk repertoire of the 2004 CD; it even has a similar piano intro! The style on both tracks though is rather early rock ‘n roll; just think of the wailing sax on early Presley or the pounding piano boogie woogie of Jerry Lee Lewis. Great music to jive to.

Bourbon Street Jazzband+: a nice piece of mainstream jazz.

New Orleans Delight<: What can I say that I haven’t said before? Great jazz! This time they have as guest on trumpet & vocals Preservation Hall regular, American & Wendell Brunious. Wendell and the NOD go very well together, like whiskey & soda, or, being an Amercian, should that be Bourbon & soda?

Les Rois du Fox Trot: another French band that is causing me to rethink French jazz. Fox Trot play 20’s-30s dance band jazz in the style of The Temperance Seven & Pasadena Roof Orchestra. I was very impressed. Catch them on www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gYcXxH-efM or www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulcuIhL_ToM and see what I mean.

Paul Harrioson (sic) Band^: hard to place this band’s style of jazz; mainstream or swing? Very nice with a good vocal by Camilla Ernen-Lyngholm.

Oriental Jazzband=: the main feature of this track is the excellent vocal by Kristel de Haak. The band provide sympathetic backing and some classy solos.

Stockholm Swing!: is just that; swing. A good sax solo and a long solo by an electric guitar. I can’t say that electric jazz guitars are my thing really but, none the less, it was very pleasant to listen to.

Brian Carrick’s Algiers Stompers{: like NOD, this is another New Orleans style band and one that I can listen to all day. This effort was especially welcome as this is the first recording I have got of ‘I’ll Be Somewhere Working For My Lord’.

Jean Baptiste & Oliver Franc All Stars-: club jazz in the style I heard so much of in the mid 50s; very pleasant and un-challenging

The Band Time Forgot@: now this band is challenging! What can one make of these mad Ozzies with their crazy jazz accordion and raucous singing? They sound as if they and their audience were having a lot of fun.

So: who will but the album? Well those at Femø 2008 for a start,; probably those who wanted to be at Femø 2008, plus anyone else out there that enjoys listening to a swinging CD of jazz bands playing in a wide range of styles.

Available from Jørgen Vad vadlyd@vadlyd.dk


NEW ORLEANS REBORN

VARIOUS

Jazz Crusade JCCD 7000 A/B 2006, A 17 tracks 75 min, B 17 tracks 73 min

A: They All Asked For You, The Darktown Strutters Ball, After You’ve Gone, Canal Street Blues, Tiger Rag, Ice Cream, Mighty Lak A Rose, The Buckets Got A Hole In It, Bill Bailey, St Louis Blues, Tell Me Your Dreams, Short Dressed Gal Of New Orleans, I’m Where You Are, Lil Liza Jane, Weary Blues, Dippermouth Blues, When The Saints Go Marching In

B: Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Down By The Riverside, The Old Rugged Cross, Over In The Gloryland, Lord Lord Lord, Amazing Grace, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Nearer My God To Thee, Walking With The King, Just A Closer Walk With Thee, At The Cross, Lead Me Saviour, Riverside Blues, I’ve Got News For You, Black Cat Moan, St Phillips Street Breakdown, Aunt Hager’s Children Blues

 

I was struck by two phenomena about Hurricane Katrina when it hit America in 2005; firstly that so many in the world rather than rush to offer aid, assumed that the USA would be able to take care of itself; secondly that most people seemed more concerned at the loss of New Orleans’ heritage than its people.

The world owes New Orleans much for the great musical traditions the city has created and nursed yet, without the people, would this have happened? Surely New Orleans’ musical heritage results from its people, not its buildings or infrastructure? And of all its rich music for me, and most others, it is New Orleans jazz that epitomises the city, and that will never die.

Jazz Crusade has issued this double CD as a celebration of New Orleans’ traditional jazz and as a tribute to the musicians who live in the city and lost homes and possessions in Katrina.

The tunes are from other albums released by Jazz Crusade. The styles cover the many shades of traditional jazz with musicians not only from New Orleans, but from all over the States, Canada, England, Wales, Denmark, Norway, Australia, France and maybe others places as well. Like New Orleans itself the music is sometimes smooth, sometimes raucous, sometimes a bit rough, so often rather melancholy, but always moving. If you need a sampler of traditional jazz, especially something that is more American than Euro-centric, then this is the one for you. Be stunned by the beauty of Greg Stafford and Michael White on "The Old Rugged Cross’. Be haunted by Big Bill Bissonnette & his Easy Riders on ‘Black Cat Moan’. Jump for Jesus with Kid Sheik and Brother Cornbread on ‘Down by the Riverside’. March in step with Milton Batiste & Kid Adam Oliver’s La Vida Jazz Band on ‘When the Saints go Marching In’. ‘St Phillip Street Breakdown’? Does this collection have a version for you!

These CDs are as vibrant as New Orleans itself and, yes; ‘The South Will Rise Again’, or at least New Orleans will.

 

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