Selected reviews


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Jazz Journal offers unrivalled coverage of recorded jazz old and new, with more than 20,000 words of expert comment and discography on recent jazz releases in every issue

Complete list of albums reviewed in JJ March 2018 (see below for excerpts):

ADHD6: ADHD6 (Self released)
Allen, Brandon: The Gene Ammons Project (RTJR 001)
Andersson, Richard: Nor (HHO5)
Anthus: Calidoscòpic (Temps 1616-GE16)
Armstrong, Louis: The University Of Louis Armstrong 1925-1926 (HQ Discs 02)
Armstrong, Louis: Town Hall Concert Plus (RCA LPM 1443, vinyl)
Bahla: Imprints (Bahla Records 246)
Bain, Andrew: Embodied Hope (Whirlwind 4715)
Barnard, Tony/Casey Golden: Inventions (Bondi Shed Productions 3504)
Bentyne, Cheryl: ReArrangements Of Shadows (Artist Share 0157)
Bridgewater, Dee Dee: Memphis… Yes, I'm Ready (Okeh 88985406112)
Brooks, Sylvia: The Arrangement (
Cervini's, Ernesto/Turboprop: Rev (Anzic 0059)
Clark, Sonny: Four Classic Albums (Avid Jazz 1250)
Cohen, Avishai: 1970 (Sony 88985462022)
Curtis, Jason Paul: These Christmas Days (
Danko, Harold: Triple Play (SteepleChase 31839)
Davis, Sammy Jr.: The 1961-62 Marty Paich Sessions (Jackpot 48776)
Dial & Oatts/Rich DeRosa/The WDR Big Band: ReDiscovered Ellington (Zoho 201707)
Dingler, Jeff: In Transit (
Eastwood, Kyle: In Transit (Jazz Village 570146)
Eeg, Sinne: Dreams (Stunt 17112)
Eldridge, Roy/Richie Kamuca: At The Half Note New York City (Sounds Of Yester Year 2079)
Eljazz Big Band: After The Catastrophe (Zaiks/
Ellis, Joy: Life On Land (F-IRE 96)
Fire!: The Hands (Rune Grammofon 2197)
Francel, Mulo: Mocca Swing (ACT 6020)
Gardner, Hilary/Ehud Asherie: The Late Set (Anzic 0060)
Garton, Brad/Dave Soldier: The Brainwave Music Project (Mulatta 038)
Gillespie, Dizzy: The Lost Recordings - Live At Singer Concert Hall (Fondamenta 1704028)
Hall, Edmond/Ralph Sutton: Live At Club Hangover (Sounds Of Yester Year 2076)
Hampel, Gunter: Bounce (Intuition 713325)
Hayes, Elton: He Sings To A Small Guitar (Retrospective 4320)
Honing, Yuri: Goldbrun (Challenge 73446)
Hubbard, Freddie: First Light (CTI 6013, vinyl from purepleasurerecords))
Jones, Hank: Four Classic Albums (Avid Jazz 1253)
Kent, Stacey: I Know I Dream/The Orchestral Sessions (Sony 88985462882)
Kriegel, Volker: Spectrum (MPS 0212413MSW)
Krupa, Gene: Blue Rhythm Fantasy (Sounds Of Yester Year 2078)
Lester, Billy/Trio, The: Italy 2016 (USR US-CD174/S)
Lewis, Gregory: Organ Monk Blue (
London, Julie: The Singles 1955-62 (Fine And Mellow 611)
Lordi, Michelle: Dream A Little Dream (
Malta, Carlos/Thomas Clausen: Dreamland (Stunt 17132)
Matt Bianco: Matt Bianco (Cherry Pop 188)
Micic, Alma: That Old Feeling (Whaling City Sound 099)
Monk, Thelonious: Complete Prestige 10 Inch LP Collection (Craft 00031, vinyl)
Mulelid, Kjetil: Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House (Rune Grammofon 2196)
Myhr, Kim: You/Me (Hubro 2593)
New York All-Star Big Band: The Unheard Artie Shaw (Hep 2104)
Oatts, Dick: Use Your Imagination (SteepleChase 31837)
Økland, Nils: Lysning (Hubro 2598)
Page, Nick: The Isle Of Wight Suite (
Pereira, Sergio: Swingando (
Porter, Gregory: Nat "King" Cole & Me (Decca 55)
Porter, Lewis/Phil Scarff: Three Minutes To Four (Whaling City Sound 100)
Rich, Buddy: The Channel One Set (Lightyear Entertainment)
Rich, Buddy: The Lost Tapes (Lightyear Entertainment)
Rissanen, Aki: Another North (Edition 1101)
Rogers, Shorty/And His Giants: A Rendezvous With (Sounds Of Yester Year 2073)
Rudd, Roswell/Fay Victor/Lafayette Harris/Ken Filiano: Embrace (Rare Noise 085)
Saluki: Saluki (Round2 011, vinyl)
Seal: Standards (Decca 5799479)
Shaw, Ian: Shine Sister Shine (Jazz Village 550005)
Skidmore, Alan: Naima (ITM 920021)
Slagle, Steve: Dedication (Panorama 007)
Smith, Steve/Vital Information NYC Edition: Heart Of The City (BFM 302 062 430 2)
Sosa, Omar/NDR Bigband: es:sensual (Otá 1030)
Squadronaires: Radio Transcriptions For Forces Radio (Sounds Of Yester Year 2075)
Sturiale, Jan: Roadmaps (
Sun, Kevin: Trio (Endectomorph Music 003)
Taylor, John: Decipher (MPS 0212425MSW)
Urheim, Stein: Utopian Tales (Hubro 2585)
Various: Recorded In New Orleans Volume One (High Grade 78 Sound HQ01)
Various: Jazz Loves Disney 2 (Verve, no number)
Wang, Ellen Andrea: Blank Out (Jazzland Recordings 377 919 8)
WM Project: From A Familiar Place (WMD 0-358852-4)
Zigmund, Eliot: Time Was (SteepleChase 33136)

Examples of the 78 album reviews in this issue (see more reviews as printed; subscribe to see 12 months of the print edition of Jazz Journal
, including over 20,000 words of CD review each issue):

Please Baby Won’t You Please Say Yes; The Breeze And I; Ger-ru; You’re Not The Kind; I Sold My Heart To The Junkman; Piece To Keep Away Evil Spirits; Ben; The Black Cat; Lucille; Son Of A Preacher Man (53.46)
Allen (ts); Ross Stanley (p); Arnie Somogyi (b); Matt Home (d). No location or dates listed.

RT Jazz Records 001


Allen is a great admirer of legendary tenor sax master Gene Ammons and designed this set to reflect his admiration for the musician. He has played in the manner of Ammons and put together sets for live gigs to expand his admiration for him.

Ammons was one of the founders of the Chicago style of tenor saxophone playing but Allen feels that he was underrated and in the shadow of contemporaries like Sonny Stitt, Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray. It was Brandon’s intention to transcribe a handful of Ammons songs and play them to “let the influence of the player come out as naturally as possible but still try to be myself”. Does he succeed? Largely yes, I think he does; the sound is big and bluesy, which suggests Ammons, but still gives an impression of Allen as an individual stylist.

Allen glides through music associated with Ammons like Ger-Ru, The Black Cat, Son Of A Preacher Man and that unlikely masterpiece I Sold My Heart To The Junkman. There is a warm glow and a blue streak around the edges of Allen’s playing here that reminds us of the great player he is paying homage to. He has a first-rate rhythm section in support with pianist Ross Stanley offering light and lyrical solos along with his accompanying duties. Somogyi and Home are steady and supportive throughout. Ammons should be remembered and heard and perhaps CDs like this will send enthusiasts back to investigate record gems like Blue Gene and other Ammons recordings.

Derek Ansell

Total Obsession; Sky Blues; Madamoiselle Dreamy; Quiet Dawn; Triple Play; Shallow Waters; Classified Attachment; Ancient And Distant; Stream Of Tears (64.10)
Danko (p); Jay Anderson (b); Jeff Hirshfield (d). New York, December 2016.
SteepleChase 31839

SteepleChase veterans Danko, Anderson and Hirshfield have been intermittent trio sidekicks for more than a quarter of a century, figuring in several previous recorded threesomes, but also serving as the stable rhythm sec- tion on an extensive series of CDs with tenor saxophonist Rich Perry. On this occasion Danko determined to simplify the harmonies of the standard tune forms in order to generate more freedom of musical thought and exchange of ideas. The melodies are left unstated, but the clues to the origins of each piece are to be found in Harold’s titles; get busy tune detectives! “I will let listeners play the game of identifying our sources”, teases the pianist.

The one exception to this exploration of familiar structures is Triple Play, which illustrates perfectly the collaboration and spontaneity achieved by these three closely attuned players. As Danko reveals, this was a totally improvised piece, completely free of theme and form “without a safety net”. That it works so well and creates a defining char- acter shows how musical magic happens when searching minds focus together. It is all part of this sophisticated trio’s journey to “undiscovered regions” which are well worth visiting frequently.
Mark Gardner


Soulful Times; Rush Hour; Movin’; Cinema Parasido (Love Theme); Night Flight; We See; Rockin’ Ronnie’s; Jarreau; Blues In Hoss’ Flat; Boogie Stop Shuffle (54.39)
Eastwood (b); Brandon Allen (ts); Quentin Collins (t, flh); Andrew McCormack (p); Chris Higginbottom (d); Stephano Di Battista (ss, as). April 2017, Studio Sextan La Fonderie, Malakoff, France.
Jazz Village 570146

I was determined to write this review without a single reference to the fact that Kyle is Clint Eastwood’s son (damn!). But you can’t divorce the artist from past. His father’s love of jazz and the opportunity this gave Kyle to meet the likes of Fitzgerald, Vaughan, Getz and Rich was priceless in terms of a musical education. Eastwood has now developed and matured to be a fine jazz musician and bandleader in his own right. I have followed him since his first recording From There To Here (1998) and enjoyed his work enormously. This is Eastwood’s seventh album and he is accompanied by his two longstanding band members – Andrew McCormack and Quentin Collins – as well as new members Brandon Allen and Chris Higginbottom. Saxophonist Stefano Di Batista guests on a number of tracks.

The musicianship is simply magnificent and the interplay seamless, intuitive and intense. Whether it is hard bop, groove, smooth, boogie or swing – this ensemble has it all. There are some contemporary re-interpretations of classics by Monk (We See), Basie (Blues In Hoss’ Flat) and Mingus (Boogie Stop Shuffle) as well as some fine originals. Rockin’ Ronnie’s is a nice tribute to Eastwood’s favourite London venue – Ronnie Scott’s - and Jarreau is an equally fine tribute to the late Al Jarreau. The album title is fitting for a gifted musician and bandleader on a musical journey. Whilst he may not always know where he will end up, he clearly never forgets where his journey started.
Ian Lomax

Svantetic; Two Men And A Wardrobe; Astigmatic; My Ballad; Cherry; Rosemary’s Baby; Kattorna; Ballad For Bernt; Before The Sunrise; After The Catastrophe (58.53)
Milosz Gawryliewicz, Tomasz Gluska, Jakub Marszalek, Marcin Gawdzis (t); Michal Tomaszczyk, Jacek Namyslowski, Darius Plichta, Piotr Wróbel (tb); Maciej Sikala, Henryk Miskiewicz, Szymon Lukowski, Jacek Rodziewicz (reeds); Adam Lemanczyk (p); Mike Stern, Piotr Olszewski (elg); Zbigniew Wrombel (b); Jósef Eliasz (d, leader); Polish Chamber Orchestra of the National Philharmonic, conducted by Eliasz. Warsaw 2017.

Superbly recorded and packaged with appropriate film-like seascape images, here are key compositions by Eliasz’s Polish compatriot, the pianist and composer Krzysztof Komeda (1931- 1969). Conducted by Eliasz, the Polish Chamber Orchestra is used to telling effect, a variety of arrangers and fine soloists ensuring that Komeda’s resonant legacy is refreshed as much as it is respected.

There are potent versions of all three pieces on Komeda’s 1965 album Astigmatic, one of the most important European jazz recordings and a definitive example of Komeda’s ability to conjure complex matters from relatively simple means: Astigmatic (where Stern cuts loose), Kattorna and Svantetic. Further delights include the punchy swing of Before The Sunrise and deliciously grooved, diversely mellow readings of the classic Komeda film pieces.

Eliasz combines with arranger Jan Walczynski to bring some appropriate free-jazz tension to the latter stages of the title track. This noble reading belongs alongside the two versions Komeda cut in 1967 – one of which was titled Po Katastrophie and where the great Zbigniew Namyslowski’s alto sears and soars.

In 1997 Komeda associate Tomasz Stanko recorded his Litania homage on ECM. Since then the Komeda Project has released two albums and Michal Urbaniak has devoted a further album to the master. This generously cast release from Eliasz and his associates continues the good news, and then some.
Michael Tucker


Double Rainbow; Photograph; Les Amours Perdues; Bullet Train; To Say Goodbye; Make It Up; Avec Le Temps; I Know I Dream; La Rua Madureira; Mais Uma Vez; That’s All; The Changing Lights (67.00)
Kent (v); Jim Tomlinson (ts); Graham Harvey (p); John Parricelli (g); Jeremy Brown (b); Joshua Morrison (d) plus orchestra. London, 31 October 2016 and 5 May 2017.
Sony Music 88985462882

These recordings find Stacey Kent in familiar territory, albeit with the added oomph of a full orchestra. She’s clearly a fan of Latin jazz and Jobim in particular, who authored the first two tracks here, and her clear, cool, understated vocal always pairs well with such material. Kazuo Ishiguro as lyricist also features, with a reprise of the title track from Kent’s The Changing Lights (reviewed in JJ November 2013). The album also bears the mark of Kent’s usual multilingual flair with several songs delivered in fluent French and Portuguese.

An orchestral backing can sometimes overpower a vocal, and one might have expected that to be the case here, considering Kent’s concentrated, diminutive style. But such worries would be unfounded: the strings here rise and fall behind Kent’s vocal unobtrusively, lifting it like a dandelion clock to float on a summer breeze, with the spotlight falling in turn upon solos from piano, guitar, sax.

With Kent and her backers, proceedings are always tasteful; always classy. You know you’re in safe hands with a Stacey Kent record, and there is a distinct pleasure in hearing her wistful, delicate vocal go through these tunes with pinpoint precision, but you’re also unlikely to find anything to surprise or delight beyond her total tonal purity.
Sally Evans-Darby


LP1: (1) Little Rootie Tootie; Sweet And Lovely; Bye-Ya; Monk’s Dream; (2) Trinkle Tinkle; These Foolish Things; Bemsha Swing; Reflections (23.22)
LP2: (3) Friday The Thirteenth; Let’s Call This; Think Of One (21.22)
LP3: (4) We See; Smoke Gets In Your Eyes; Locomotive; Hackensack (21.14)
LP4: (5) Work; Nutty; Blue Monk; Just A Gigolo (22.00)
LP5: (6) The Way You Look Tonight; I Want To Be Happy (23.49)
Monk (p) with:
(1) Gary Mapp (b); Art Blakey (d) New Jersey, 15 October 1952.
(2) as (1) but Max Roach (d) replaces Blakey. Beltone Studios, NYC, 18 December 1952.
(3) Sonny Rollins (ts); Julius Watkins (frh); Percy Heath (b); Willie Jones (d). WOR studios, NYC, 13 November 1953.
(4) Ray Copeland (t); Frank Foster (ts); Curly Russell (b); Blakey (d). New Jersey, 11 May 1954.
(5) Heath (b); Blakey (d). New Jersey, 11 May 1954.
(6) Rollins (ts); Tommy Potter (b); Art Taylor (d). New Jersey, 25 October 1954.
Craft 00031

Prestige Records gave Monk his first two-year recording contract and this box set gathers together his output as leader for the company from October 1952 to October in 1954. Here we have the five vinyl LPs exactly as they were first issued and showing us the development of Monk’s music as it happened, in sequence. When 12-inch LPs gradually replaced 10 inch, this music was reissued in a jumbled form, tracks added to other sessions to fill a 10-inch disc. This was repeated throughout the reissue programme at Prestige and all the music was reissued in haphazard fashion.

The first disc gathers together some strong trio performances with Blakey and Roach sharing the drumming and the little known Gary Mapp, moonlighting from the local police station, providing a strong, firm bass line. The second of these two trio sessions were at the Beltone studio where, sadly, the piano was out of tune but only Monk seems to have been aware of this and he mischievously concentrates on highlighting the bad notes! LP2 gives us the results of a Friday the 13th recording date where Monk and Sonny Rollins were late arriving due to a traffic accident in the cab they were sharing. The resulting blues, Friday The Thirteenth, has flowing blues choruses from Monk and Rollins and Julius Watkins sounding just right in a Monk combo on French horn. The exotic-sounding instrument goes well with Monk’s off-centre blue notes. The third LP has another well-chosen quintet with Ray Copeland on trumpet and Frank Foster replacing Rollins. Blakey and Curley Russell thrust this session along in fine fashion and Monk is on top form.

Monk was pretty much on top form on all of these early recordings where, unlike in the 1960s, he worked with only the very best musicians available. The trio sessions on LP4 have some definitive readings of Work, Nutty and Blue Monk with the impeccable support of Percy Heath and Art Blakey. The last disc is the only one where Monk was not fully in control; Rollins appears to be the leader and the session is all standards, not a Monk chart in sight. Even so, with or without the Monk’s approval, there is some first-rate blowing here, notably by Rollins on The Way You Look Tonight and everybody on an extended ballad reading of More Than You Know. Monk was never happy as a sideman though and this session was followed by him playing piano on a 24 December Miles Davis recording. That didn’t go too well either and probably set Monk off looking for a new record company.

These LPs are exact replicas of the original issues, 180 grams in weight and the remastering restores the sound to warm clarity. There is also an informative booklet with essay, personnel, dates and photographs, ironically the latter taken by Francis Wolff of Blue Note! This is an ideal box for all Monk enthusiasts and jazz record collectors everywhere.
Derek Ansell

Nightmare; Everything’s Jumpin’; How Deep Is The Ocean?; Them There Eyes; I’ve Got The World On A String; Leapin’ At The Lincoln; Stairway To The Stars; Never Played Around Much; The Moon Looks Down And Laughs; On The Sunny Side Of The Street; Trav’lin’ All Alone; Royal Garden Blues; Stardust; And The Angels Sing; In The Mood; You Go To My Head; Diga Diga Doo; Begin The Beguine (58.15)
Mark Lopeman, Mark Phaneuf, Matthew Koza, Dan Levinson (reeds); Harvey Tibbs, Jim Fryer, Matt Musselman (tb); Jon-Erik Kellso, Brian Pareschi, Joe Boga (t); Mark Shane (p); Mike Weatherley (b); Molly Ryan (g); Kevin Dorn (d). NYC, 8/9 August 2016.
Hep 2104

Writing in 1985, at the age of 75, Shaw said: “When I see the sales of Madonna today, I consider it a compliment when something doesn’t sell. I would feel degraded if they picked me up”. That remark was typical of Artie Shaw. One of the outstanding jazz figures of his day, Shaw was outspoken, a better talker than listener, and unquestionably a man who knew more about light than bushels. Nonetheless, it is a matter for regret that the recording technology available during the clarinettist’s glory days was limited. For instance, one only has to listen to the reproduction of the cymbals on Shaw’s original discs from the late 1930s to realise that great improvements have been made during the intervening 80 years. Today, these beautifully recorded and immaculate and stylishly played tracks will be welcomed by Shaw aficionados.

As to the label “unheard”, this CD presents a selection made by English-born James Langton (a former member of the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, now living in the USA) from unrecorded arrangements held in the Artie Shaw Collection at the University of Arizona. Dan Levinson takes the role of Shaw, which he performs convincingly. Indeed, much care has been taken to match tone quality and vibrato delivered by the 14 musicians. The results are exceedingly convincing. The trumpet solos of Jon-Erik Kellso deserve special mention.

One must save a minuscule drop of critical ink for booklet-note writer John McDonough. In his prolix booklet essay he writes of the audience excitement surrounding Shaw “feeding on the zeitgeist of the moment”. Zeitgeist translates as “time-spirit” so to write of “zeitgeist of the moment” is tautological. Artie Shaw, a lover of words as well as of music, would surely have rejected such a phrase. Equally, one feels that maestro Shaw would have approved greatly of the efforts of James Langton and the young men and women of today’s New York All-Star Big Band. A highly enjoyable CD.
John Robert Brown


CD1: [Naima] (1) Giant Steps; Naima; Some Other Blues; After The Rain; Transition; Ascension (58.23) CD2: [Live In Berlin] (2) But Not For Me; Say It; Resolution; Impressions; Take The Coltrane (52.13)
(1) Skidmore (ts); Steve Melling (p); Geoff Gascoyne (b); Tony Levin (d). The Fleece, Suffolk, 2010.
(2) Skidmore (ts); Mike Gorman (p); Aidan O’Donnell (b); Ian Palmer (d). Berlin, 2007. Available at
ITM 920021

“Coltrane is always present” says the brief booklet note to this, the latest album by septuagenarian tenor titan Alan Skidmore. Indeed he is, and, as the notes says this imposing guiding light is there whether Skid is playing behind a singer or letting rip on the most capricious of free improvisations.

This double album is a more explicit dedication though, two sets with two different rhythm sections playing themes by and associated with Trane. Of course, this is by no means the first time he’s tipped his hat to JC on record – 1988’s Tribute To Trane was another, earlier thank you – but with this release he illustrates that, 30 years on his love, understanding and dedication is, if anything, even deeper.

It’s hard to put a fag paper between the two bands. The first set, recorded at the Fleece in Suffolk, dives into such deepend Coltrane pieces as Transition and Ascension, which is concentrated down from its sprawling, multi-horn original recording into a boiling, 10-minute lesson in interactive performance. The Berlin concert plays rather like a career resumé of Coltrane, moving from the Giant Steps-reharmonised But Not For Me through to the definitive, screaming shout through Resolution.

In fact, I’d even go so far to say this could be Skid’s best in decades – a beautiful evocation of his musical hero played not only with the spirit and passion so necessary to make Coltrane’s music genuinely come alive but also with the personality, humility and overall mastery of a musician who remains one of the greatest living tenor saxophone voices. In case you’re wondering, the young lady on the cover is Naima – Skid’s granddaughter.
Simon Spillett

Mr P.C.; Rhythm-A-Ning; Eight + Five; Bugalulu; Heart Of The City; City Outskirts East; I Love You; I’m An Old Cowhand (From The Rio Grande); City Outskirts West; Open Dialogue; Charukeski Express; Cherokee (Indian Love Song) (59.55)
Smith (d, konnakol); Baron Browne (b, v); Mark Soskin (p, Rhodes); Vinny Valentino (g); Andy Fusco (as); George Brooks (ts, as, drones). 23-26 March 2016.
BFM Jazz 24372

Anyone expecting the sort of syrupy-sounding fusion the first incarnation of Smith’s Vital Information rolled out in the early 90s should be warned their musical goalposts have now widened. Listening to this lineup and an album that seamlessly stitches originals to standards from Coltrane, Cole Porter, Monk and Johnny Mercer, it’s hard to believe this band first arrived around the time mullets and the GRP-All Stars were still hip.

Dependably dragging the listener through multiple styles, Heart Of The City stresses the incontestable skill and versatility of Smith and this new crew, opening with a punchy Mr P.C. – a perfect platform for Soskin, Valentino and altoist Andy Fusco to respectively plonk, pluck and blow bop-like figures over the drummer’s urgent funk and swing playing. From here Rhythm-A-Ning takes the funk thing further before the record moves through Rhodes-rich bossas (Bugalulu), odd-metered, Indian vocal-featured jams (Eight + Five), some segueing drum solos (City Outskirts East and West) and tracks as sassy and swinging as the title cut and country-cut I’m An Old Cowhand. The record’s live feel also benefits from some explosive interplay between Smith and the band, making it highly recommended, if not vital, for all.
Mark Youll

CD1: Frankie And Johnnie; Pianofluge; (2) Black But Sweet, Oh God!; My Heart-Breakin’ Gal; (3) Haven’t Got A Dollar To Pay Your House Rent Man; I’ve Got Something; (4) Pretty Audrey; To-Wa-Bac-A-Wa; Franklin Street Blues; Red Onion Drag; (5) Mamma Cookie Blues; He’s The Sweetest Black Man In Town; (6) Steppin’ On The Gas; Everybody’s Talkin’ About Sammy; Mobile Stomp; Sing On; (7) Short Dress Gal; Bogalousa Strut; Down By The Riverside; Over In The Gloryland; (8) Astoria Strut; Duet Stomp; Damp Weather; Tip Easy Blues; (5) Mama Cookie Blues (alt) (76.54)
CD2: (9) Panama; Nobody Knows Blues; New Orleans Blues; The Swing; Brown Eyes; Number Two Blues; (10) Sensation; Christine; (11) I Wonder Where My Easy Rider’s Riding Now; The Waffle Man’s Call; (12) Cross -Word Mama You’re Puzzling Me; Sometimes When You’re Alone; (13) Ain’t Love Grand; Alligator Blues; (14) Sadness Will Be Gladness; Cat’s Head; Up The Country Blues; Ringside Stomp; (15) Panama; Dippermouth Blues; (16) Sizzling The Blues; High Society; Git-Wit-It; Ideas; (8) Damp Weather (alt); Tip Easy Blues (alt) (78.20)
(1) Fate Marable’s Society Syncopaters, 16 March 1924. (2) Billy And Mary Mack, 22 January 1925. (3) Genevieve Davis, 5 March 1927. (4) Louis Dumaine’s Jazzola Eight, 7 March 1927. (5) Ann Cook, 7 March 1927. (6) Sam Morgan’s Jazz Band, 14 April 1927. (8) Jones And Collins Astoria Hot Eight, 15 November 1929. (9) Johnny De Troit New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, c. 15 March 1924. (10) Original Crescent City Jazzmen, 17 March 1924. (11) Johnny Bayersdorffer And His Jazzola Novelty Orchestra, 17 March 1924. (12) Papalia And His Orchestra, 23 January 1925. (13) John Hyman’s (aka Wiggs) Bayou Stompers, 10 March 1927. (14) Joe (Wingy) Malone’s Harmony Kings, 11 April 1927. (15) Johnnie Miller’s New Orleans Frolickers, 25 April 1928. (16) Monk Hazel And His Bienville Roof Orchestra, December 1928.
HQ Discs 01

By the early 20s, the biggest names in New Orleans jazz – e.g. Ory, Oliver, Bechet, Morton, Armstrong – had left town. The halcyon days of high jinks and lucrative, vibrant night life were now firmly suppressed after the closure of Storyville. Yet music continued to flourish in the city as it had always done, and to a standard which interested Columbia, who sent its electrically equipped recording van to New Orleans every spring and autumn from 1925 to 1928, recording amongst others The New Orleans Owls and Halfway House Orchestra.

The outstanding veteran recording engineer Dave Bennett has produced this intriguing compilation of rare early recordings made in New Orleans, and remastered with remarkable sound quality, using advanced transfer technology. The eight tracks by Sam Morgan’s band, perhaps best known, epitomise the essence of New Orleans style, with relaxed, ruggedly swinging free ensemble cohesion. The Astoria Hot Eight sounds the most technically accomplished group, with crisply played arrangements and hot, articulate solos from Lee Collins, gifted multi-instrumantalist David Jones (who had helped a young Armstrong with reading his music back in the Fate Marable days), Theodore Parnell (alto) and clarinettist Sidney Arodin (composer of Lazy River). A red-hot Astoria Strut sounds the prototype for the 1944 George Lewis recording entitled Climax Rag. In the Louis Dumaine set Willie Joseph’s spirited clarinet excels in Pretty Audrey. Vocalists Billy and Mary Mack, Genvieve Davis and Ann Cook (both backed by Dumaine’s musicians) contribute classic robust blues. CD2 focuses on the white jazz bands of the day, some (eg Russ Papalia) quite obscure now, but successful enough in their day to be recorded.

Famous-to-be names in the personnels (all given in full though regrettably there is no notes booklet) include Johnny Wiggs, Wingy Manone, Sharkey Bonano, Nappy Lamare and Monk Hazel. There are no masterworks, but it’s all very enjoyable, with some memorable passages. A very welcome and diligently prepared release which sheds much improved light on this section of jazz history.
Hugh Rainey


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