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Bebop Spoken There

Val Wilmer: "The festival [New York Musicians Festival], an impressive exercise in African-American self-reliance, had come about after the promoter George Wein had moved his annual Newport Jazz Festival to New York the previous year [1972], and paid scant attention to the avant garde." - (Wire June 2020)

Dave Rempis:Ten years from now, I can see musicians streaming concerts in real time and charging a minimal amount for people to watch.” - (DownBeat September 2013)

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Jazz Today - Operation Jam Session

Continuing into my alphabetical delve amongst my 10" LPs, we move on to B and Kenny Baker and another piece of treasured vinyl.
I was doing National Service (ask your grandad) in the RAF when I first heard it. I can't remember if I bought it, swapped it, or stole it from its original owner but It grabbed me on first hearing. I think I may have done some kind of deal with Dave Yeldham from Sheffield. If you're out there Dave, refresh my memory!

Operation Jam Session, from 1955 has Baker - the Kenny Baker, trumpet virtuoso, - leading the ballad medley to end all ballad medleys.
Jimmy Skidmore's On the Alamo reminds those of us old enough to remember just what a lyrical tenor player he was. Cedric West takes over for What's New? and again, few guitarists on either side of the Atlantic could match this. Keith Christie blows a Dickensian take on Makin' Whoopee before Dill Jones comes in with How Long Has This Been Going on? Harry Klein - the number one British baritone player before Ross and Surman came along - plays Sweet and Lovely and he does just that!
All great stuff but the feeling is that this is just the build-up - the cheerleaders warming up the crowd. Sure enough, right on cue, we have the arrival of the Guvner - Kenny Baker! The trumpet maestro lets it all hang out - swing era trumpet playing at it's best - no wonder the Harry James estate in America asked him to front a tribute band to Mr. Grable which he declined although if Betty had still been around, who knows!
The flipside (God how dated is my terminology!) has 3 alto saxes in the mix - Bruce Turner, Joe Harriott and Bertie King and I doubt if you could have found 3 better alto players to do the session at that moment in time.
To quote Count Basie when asked his definition of swing "Four beats to the bar and no cheating!"
There was no cheating here.
Lance.

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