THE IAN WHEELER/ SAMMY RIMINGTON BAND
REED ALL ABOUT IT
LAKE LACD104 1998, 13 tracks 54 minutes
Decaltur Strut, My Darling, Hymn to Freedom, Something's Gonna Give Me Away, Once In A While, Was I To Blame, J, The Shoe Shine Boy, Save Your Sorrows, Sweet Lorraine, S'wonderful, Hymn To George, My Sin.
Take two of Britain's best reeds men, add some interesting tunes, season with excellent backing players, stir and let simmer for 54 minutes. The resultant tasty meal is taken from albums previously released on the Hefty Jazz label . This CD features 9 tracks featuring both reeds men on them, two of Ian Wheeler with a backing group, and two of Sammy Rimington and a backing group.
Both Ian and Sammy have distinctive and unique styles. By bringing them together there was a grave risk of them either clashing, or competing against each other. Instead, I'm delighted to say, they complement each other. There are two tracks that stay with me as I write this review. "Something's Gonna Give Me Away", has both men on alto sax with Wheeler providing a thrush like underlay, whilst Rimmington sores like a skylark above him. The other track is, "Once In A While", which has Wheeler on soprano, and Rimington on clarinet. But the CD is more than just a two track demonstration or exhibition. The whole is an enjoyable experience as these two renowned reeds men weave a magic web of harmonic sound in the jazz idiom.
REED MY LIPS - THE RETURN OF THE MOULDY FIVE
JAZZ CRUSADE JCCD3045, 1999, 18 tracks, 72 min
The Best Things In life Are Free, Magic Is The Moonlight, I Want You, Where The Blue Of The Night, The Old Spinning Wheel, Beautiful Ohio, River Stay 'Way From My Door, Roses Of Picardy, Forgive Me, Mouldy Five Blues, Rock Of Ages, red Sails In The Sunset, Smiles, On The Road To Home Sweet Home, Where The River Shannon Flows, When The Swallows Come Back, Should I?, One Sweet Letter From You.
I first saw Sammy Rimington in 1962 playing with Ken Colyer's Jazzmen. He was a skinny kid in an evening suit about four sizes too big for him, but boy could he play. The cover of the CD shews that, he has acquired a bit of weight and an additional chin as well as experience in the meantime! After leaving Ken's band he went Stateside to join Big Bill Bissonette's Easy Rider's Jazz band. To amuse themselves when the Rider's weren't playing and, so the notes tell, to pull birds, five members formed the Mouldy Five, a clarinet and rhythm section band to play at a local small jazz club. Big Bill says that: 'this little band was the hardest working band I ever gigged with. It never gave up.
Almost 40 years later, Big Bill pulled the Mouldy Five back together to drive them hard yet again and record this CD. Work hard they certainly do, and work well too. Sammy weaves his wonderful web of clear charming clarinet over some pretty, potent, and sometime powerful tunes. The band sits easily alongside the small outfits run by George Lewis and Johnny Dodds, as indeed does Sammy Rimington himself.
A very tasty CD, why not take a bite?
SAMMY RIMINGTON, BIG BILL BISSONNETTE
Jazz Crusade 2006 JCCD 3117 64 min 9 tracks
Bogalusa Strut, Darkness On The Delta, Lord Lord Lord, After You’ve Gone, Should I, Rose Room, Just A Little While To Stay Here, Somebody Stole My Gal, The Work Is Waiting For The Sunrise
Jazz Crusade 2006 JCCD 3118 64 min 8 tracks
St Louis Blues, When My Dreamboat Comes Home, Ice Cream, Papa Joe’s Davenport Blues, In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree, I’m Alone Because I Love You, C-Jam Honeysuckle Rose
These two CDs are from a live concert recorded on 09 September 1993 at the Jaegersborg Hotel. The front line consists of Big Bill on trombone, Sammy and Leif Madsen, both playing clarinet and alto-sax, Papa Joe Errington on trumpet, and the back line has Peter Nisson on drums, Hendrik Stiigvad banjo/guitar and Holden Fogh on bass.
B3 and Sammy are so well known that they need no introduction, but I must say that B3 is at his peak on this recording. Joe Errington soon afterwards joined Papa Bue’s Viking Jazz Band and I saw him with them in 1995 when it was he who held the band together as Bue seemed to spend more time tippling than playing. B3 says Errington plays with shades of Armstrong and tinges of Beiderbecke. To me he plays in a similar vein to fellow Englishman Pat Halcox. Of the others Leif Madsen provides a sympathetic foil to Rimington and part of the enjoyment is listening to see who is playing what on the each of the tunes. The rhythm section is very competent, the only thing though is that the bass is rather over amplified (this is more noticeable on a personal player than on a main sound system).
I suppose the big thing for me was that from the first bars of Bogalusa Strut, with Rimington bringing the tune in, all I wanted to do was play alongside the band. This infection was bad enough when I did it in my head, but I was found to be annoying my fellow bus passengers by humming or whistling out loud. God help me, but when the wife was out shopping on a Saturday morning, I could even be caught using my replica 14thC hunting horn as a 2nd trombone. It really does make you want to join in and, at least in your head or with something more versatile than modified cow’s horn, you can pick a different instrument to be each time you play them! Honestly; with tunes that are as familiar as this and the way the music is presented, it is the ideal vehicle for any would be jazz player to learn the music by jamming alongside the band. This music really moves you and it would have to be a real jazz hater who didn’t get caught up in the sound and want join in.
The tunes, as I have said, are mostly standards and even the lesser known ‘In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree’ and ‘Rose Room’ I have by others. Of interest; ‘Ice Cream’ features both reedsmen on clarinet, as per Dutch Swing College, ‘Papa Joe’s Davenport Blues’ is a trumpet solo and on the stomping version of ‘In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree’, B3 treats us to some unique lyrics. The style of the band is club New Orleans, except on ‘C-Jam Blues’ which, as goes with the tune, is quite main stream.
I loved these CDs, but my family and the people on the bus aren’t so keen, or was it just my contribution to the music they didn’t appreciate?
ENCORE: BIG BILL & SAMMY – A VESPERS CHURCH SERVICE IN DENMARK
BIG BILL BISSONNETTE & SAMMY RIMMINGTON
WITH PETER NISSEN’S NEW ORLEANS JAZZ BAND
Jazz Crusade JCCD-3127 2007, 13 tracks 76 min
Lord Lord Lord, What A Friend We Have In Jesus, Old Time Religion*, Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen*, Lead Me Saviour, His Eye Is On The Sparrow, This Little Light Of Mine*, Walking With The King, Old Fashion Love, Tipi-Tin, Summertime, The Man I Love*, Yes Sir That’s My Baby*
I enjoyed the previous Peter Nissen CD & I was delighted to find another CD of his on Jazz Crusade’s label. The fact that it also featured Big Bill Bissonnette & Sammy Rimington made it into a must have. The frontline, however, is more conventional than that on the CD with Tuba Fats, with just Leif Madsen and Sammy Rimington on reeds. Joining them and Nissen’s solid backline, is Joe Errington on trumpet and B3, of course, on trombone.
The two reedsmen do an excellent job together, so there is interweaving rather than clashing and tangling. Sometimes they are both on either clarinet or alto sax, sometimes one on each. Two tracks where their harmony shew up very clearly are ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’ and ‘Old fashioned Love’.
B3 I always enjoy listening to as he can easily move from raucous to silky smooth in the slide of a trombone. ‘Papa’ Joe Errington on first hearing caused my right eyebrow to rise at times, though he also made me chuckle with delight elsewhere. However, the more I play the CD, the more I appreciate his playing, especially his mute work.
The tracks are from a 1993 tour of Denmark and recorded at Roskilde (a place I know & love). The first 8 tracks are from a church service & are all standard jazz gospel numbers. The remaining 5 tracks are from the following concert. Despite my love of gospel songs I must admit it is the latter that caught my ear as the rendition of ‘Summertime’ must be just how the composer intended it to be. B3 takes the intro and the rest follow on in the same lazy, hazy, almost dreamy tone & if that ain’t summertime, then you must live in the Antartic! The next track, ‘The Man I Love’ is just as wonderful with Lise Borgwardt shewing on this, and her other tracks (*), what a fine jazz singer she is. This lady has the type of voice that is best suited to traditional jazz in all its shapes & forms: full, well rounded, emotive and carefully inflected.
I am sure my wife wonders why I keep getting more & more jazz CDs, especially as I often complain how little I get to play them at present, but how can one resist when there are albums like this one just waiting to be got? The truth is, I would have had this CD for ‘just the ‘Summertime’ track alone.
I have just gone to merge & upload my files and find that I have two other CDs with this line up from the same tour: 'Sammy & Big Bill in Denmark', JCCD 3117/18.
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