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Bebop Spoken There

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Saturday, December 08, 2018

CD Review: Various Artists - Jazz City UK (Volume 1).

(Review by Lance).
Whilst few albums this year (or any other year within recent memory) will match JCUK Volume 2: The Jam Sessions, this compilation runs it close. A choice selection from some of the Big Bear label's back catalogue, it serves its purpose well inasmuch as you will be wanting some, if not all, of the source material.

Thus we have tracks from the following albums: Bruce Adams (One Foot in the Gutter); Bruce Adams/Alan Barnes Quintet (Side-Steppin' & Let's Face the Music); Alan Barnes All Stars (The Marbella Jazz Suite); Lady Sings the Blues (Laughing at Life); King Pleasure & the Biscuit Boys (Live at Last & Hey Puerto Rico); Nomy Rosenberg Trio (Nomy Rosenberg Trio); Tipitina (I Wish I Was in New Orleans & Taking Care of Business) and The Whiskey Brothers (Bottle Up & Go).

The above listing is semi-alphabetical and not in order of merit.

The blistering trumpet of Bruce Adams from, like most of these tracks, the mid 'nineties showcases at him at his best. As an out and out swinger on One Foot in the Gutter and a sensitive balladeer when he begs us to Blame it on my Youth he never falters. Couple him with Alan Barnes and the possibilities are endless. Hollywood Stampede is living proof of the empathy between the two.

Barnes too is in scintillating form whenever he pops up not least on California Fish Fry, inexplicably from his Marbella Suite, a 9-minute rave-up. Alex Garnett (tenor sax) and Mark Nightingale (trombone) join Adams and Simon Gardner on trumpets; John Donaldson on piano; Matt Miles (bass) and Ralph Salmins (drums) to make this literally what it says on the tin - The Alan Barnes All Stars.

Val Wiseman's Lady Sings the Blues consists of Digby Fairweather and what was ostensibly the remnants of the Alex Welsh Band (Williams, Al Gay, Lemon, Douglas, Skeat and Eddie Taylor) behind Wiseman's vocals. Val pops up again with the Biscuit Boys and Since I Fell For You - I never realised this Buddy Johnson song had such an evocative verse!

We move up in time (2009), if not in feeling, for The Nomy Rosenberg Trio and their brand of Djangology. Tipitina visited Birmingham's Hotel du Vin (honest!) in 2011 although their hearts were in a New Orleans honky tonk whilst the Whiskey Brothers took us to the American juke joints of the 1930s and '40s as recently as 2009.

Truly an album for just about everyone.
Lance.

For further details of Jazz City UK and the complete Big Bear Records catalogue visit here.

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