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Thursday, November 08, 2018

CD Review: Jazz City UK Volume 2: The Jam Sessions

(Review by Lance).
Newcastle seems to have more jam sessions going on than Kansas City did in the 1930s! There appears to be a jam on every corner which is great for young musicians dipping their feet into the water but isn't so good for gigging pro/semi-pro musicians. Most of the jams are free so that some punters tend to shy away from gigs with a ticket price (+ booking fee). You could of course charge for the jams but then the fickle fans would, maybe, spend their dosh on a band they know rather than be on the ground floor of burgeoning talent.

However, that's a digression, as I've just been listening to a jam that I'd have mortgaged the house for - such is the standard of the music.
Recorded in Birmingham in 1984 and 1987 this is probably as close as we'll ever get to matching the legendary Buck Clayton Jam Sessions and possibly better than many of the JATP concerts recorded by Norman Granz.
Strong words I know but, look at the musicians involved and you'll see where I'm coming from.

Carolina Diner, by Humph, is the only original but, as originals go, is there anything finer? Humph, Williams, King, Morrissey, Barnes (J), Lemon, Taylor, Green and Ganley all diss that suggestion with solos that both the audience and myself applauded enthusiastically. Them at the Grand Hotel, me within the confines of Chez Lance where even the passing Metro Rapid Transit couldn't distract me from my metaphorical applause.

If I Could Be With You: A duo track by Humph and Brian Lemon. Ruby Braff and Ellis Larkins ride again!

Cherokee: Martin Taylor flies solo. Even at this, relatively early stage of his career he was the one they all had to beat. Few, if any, ever did. The magnificent way he incorporates bass lines makes me wonder if, contrary to the notes, Dave Green was also playing or does Martin have three hands?

Frankie & Johnny: From the 1984 sessions at The Arena in Cannon Hill Park, Humph informs us that the original title was Frankie & Albert! Morrissey blows earthy tenor, Humph, tightly muted trumpet, super cool guitar from Douglas. Crimmons and Shepherd are up there with them.

Crazy Rhythm: A swinger with an unusual twist - for the final two choruses, Fairweather, Williams, Colville and Turner edge the previous frontline into the wings - a ploy favoured by Eddie Condon!

Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me; The four horns from the previous track remain on board, driven along by Pyne, Douglas, Weston and Richardson.

The Hucklebuck and Honeysuckle Rose have just about everyone who was there in 1984 blowing their socks off, however, in between, there was some Jumping at the Woodside.

I always remember Woodside, not from the various Basie versions, but from a Sunday lunchtime jam at The Tally Ho in Kentish Town which was later recaptured on record. The 'one more time' ending that brought the house down then (1963) is used here, on Honeysuckle Rose.
Tremendous! Unmissable! Is Volume One still available? The hunt (hint) is on.
Lance. 
Available on Big Bear Records BEARCD 57.
Humphrey Lyttleton, Digby Fairweather (trumpets); Roy Williams, Roy Crimmons (trombone); Bruce Turner, Pete King (altos); Dick Morrissey (tenor); Dave Shepherd, Randy Colville (clarinets); Brian Lemon, Mick Pyne (piano); Dave Green, Harvey Weston (bass); Martin Taylor, Jim Douglas (guitar); Johnny Richardson, Allan Ganley (drums).

1 comment :

Lance said...

In the notes, the late Benny Green who hosted the 1987 evening said, "There is no more deserving sub-section of the world of art than the jazz musician. He is taken for granted, neglected and underrated. He is passed by when the goodies of what is laughingly called our civilised world are handed out, he doesn't get his picture in the paper and doesn't become famous."
That was in 1987, is it very different in 2018?

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