THE YORKSHIRE JAZZ BAND, ERIC BATTY'S JAZZ ACES, DIZZIE BURTON'S JAZZ ACES
WAR OF THE ROSES
Lake Records LACD 109/110, 12 + 18 tracks, 53 min + 74 min
Both these CDs are made up from albums put out by the Esquire label, those by, Dizzy Burton, being the whole recorded output by the band.
Big Chief Battle Axe, Struttin' With Some Barbecue, Savoy Blues, Ragtime Tuba, Chimes Blues, C'est Magnifique, Monmatre, Friendless Blues, Maple Leaf Rag, She's Crying For Me, Memphis Blues, Ain't She Sweet.
I have some other recordings by The Yorkshire Jazz Band from a much later period. I well remember a long drive back to my home village of Kihi kihi from NZ's capital Wellington. My wife and I had gone there for a jazz festival in the middle of winter. Our trip down had been via a torturous back country route seeking the few roads that weren't closed by snow. Whilst at the festival I bought tapes, including some by the aforementioned band. On the way back the car's heater failed and it was only the warmth of The Yorkshire Jazz Bands playing that enabled us to get home.
The tracks on this CD are from 1955/56 and have an entirely different line up and style to the later recordings. I think I prefer the earlier line up with its tuba driven rhythm section. In fact the tuba needs special mention as it is played by a Bob Barclay in a very subtle and dextrous manner; reinforcing rather than dominating as brass basses so often do. Interestingly, I wrote the above before checking the sleeve notes to see the tuba player's name. Blow me down if the writer of the sleeve notes for the re-issue of the material in 1987, John Wilson, didn't also let his delight at Bob's playing dominate his jottings too!
My only complaint about the CD is that, although the recordings have been cleaned up and rebalanced and are free of crackles and extraneous noises, they have a 'flatness' typical of so many recordings from the late 40s and early 50s. Paul Adams has worked his magic on the tracks, but some things are beyond even that master. Never mind, just imagine that you are back in the 50s listening to jazz on the old AM radio.
Sing On, Keeping Cool With Lemonade, Last Mile Of The Way, Saratoga Swing, The Whispering Pines Of Nevada, Madame Beccasine, The Way I Feel This Morning, Cindy Oh Cindy, College Rag, East Coast Trot, Marching Through Georgia, Deep Bayou Blues, Sarie Marais, One Sweet Letter From You.
Palma, Blue Aces, 333 Bourbon Street, The Curse Of An Aching Heart.
I have never seen or heard Eric Batty live, but my old jazz and speedway mate, Bob Andrews (ex-Captain of Cradley Heath and New Zealand, and Wold Champion Best Pairs for NZ with Ivan Mauger despite his being a Cockney), has. For years he kept on at me, telling me I hadn't lived unless I heard Eric and his lads and lass (the banjo player) in full flight. Well, one day he trapped me in his lounge, tied me to a chair and made me listen to a battered LP by the maestro. The tracks were 7-14 of this CD. Bob was not the band's only admirer. The sleeve notes say that when a single was sent to the renowned New Orleans' clarinettist, George Lewis, he said; "May I keep the record? I like it a lot." Well George, so do I. Not just the music, but also Paul Adams' sterling effort in producing such sharp and clear sounds from the original vinyl and shellac records. His work certainly makes listening to this lovely band easier than when I was subjected to Bob's compulsory education via his battered heirloom LP!
The band play an exciting and enthusiastic New Orleans jazz that sounds as fresh today as it did the day it was recorded. Yes Bob, you were right, as always; this band is memorable.
The final four tracks are what happened to the band after Eric retired and trumpeter Dizzy Burton took over the leadership, changing the style from strict New Orleans, to the 'freer' Chicago jazz. The Batty tracks were laid down in 1956 & 57. The Burton tracks in 1959. In those two years all the personnel, except Burton had changed. I wonder what that tells us? The music is very good, but for those who knew the Jazz Aces under Eric, it must have disappointed.
BACK TO TOP OF PAGE