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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Hughie Aitchison Story on Record. Tracks 1 and 1a

My favourite tipple, at the Jazz Café, is a bottle of Geordie Jazz. It's also the ideal brew to indulge in whilst listening to this brand of Geordie Jazz as it was when young men of the 1950s were stretching their musical legs. Hughie Aitchison and his longtime sidekick Ronnie McLean were two such preachers of Jazz Revivalism working with, and often against,  the beboppers. Both sides oblivious to the threat of Rock 'n' Roll.
This compilation by Hughie's son Colin has so many memories that I can only treat them track by track and, as such, totally unable to do it in one go so just pick up on my day to day ramblings of what is a historic document.
The opening track - Keep Your Feet Still Geordie Hinnie - tells us that this track by Stan Wilde's Wilde Cats couldn't have been recorded anywhere else but in the northeast - Durham Jazz Club to be precise although, where Durham Jazz Club held forth on June 25, 1950, remains a mystery.
The recording is as good as can be expected with Hughie's driving, Spanier type lead, McLean's trombone - not as smooth as in later years when Kid Ory gave way to Jack Teagarden and Stan Martin reminding us that he discovered Benny Goodman before Pee Wee Russell (in later years he successfully managed  to merge the two seemingly disparate styles. Alan Brown, later to form the Panama Jazzmen (or was it before?) kept the rhythm section afloat and, on drums, Gordon Prudham!
I knew Prudham from the years he spent working with Ronnie Callaghan at various CIU clubs but hadn't realised he'd been a part of the trad scene but, the adage holds true, if you can play you can play whatever the gig demands. As a matter of non-musical interest, Gordon Prudham made Marshall Walker seem like a stand-up comedian! Marshall will return later.
Nick Downing replaced McLean for At the Jazz Band Ball and, I must confess, Downing is an unfamiliar name to me but he did the business here - was he a student sitting in? Questions to be answered!

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