Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thatcher/Blount/Vickers - River Stay' Way CD Review by George A. Borgman

Thatcher/Blount/Vickers - River Stay' Way - It is amazing how jazz has spread throughout the world and the Brits are now some of the better performers of the New Orleans style. On this recording Jazz Crusade producer Big Bill Bissonnette has come up with some very fine British musicians who play in a style reminiscent of that heard years ago in New Orleans.
These jazzmen are from three bands: the Ken Colyer Trust, directed by trumpeter Norman Thatcher, banjoist Dave Brennan's Jubilee Jazz Band, and clarinetist Chris Blount's New Orleans Jazz Band. Trombonist Dave Vickers is a member of the Ken Colyer Trust, and he, bassist Mick Kennedy and pianist Barry Grurnmett play in the Jubilee Jazz Band. Drummer Male Murphy works with several bands.

Put these guys together and, as Bissonnette says in the album notes, it's "a real good ensemble band." The front line musicians work very well together with fine backup from the piano, and the rhythm section provides a steady beat that is evident today in only such New Orleans-inspired bands as the New Black Eagle Jazz Band in the United States and Kid Bastien's Happy Pals in Toronto, Canada.
These British musicians play with feeling and dynamics while playing in New Orleans ensemble, which is immediately evident in the initial rendition, "There's Yes! Yes! in Your Eyes," from 1924. This tune was recorded by Paul Whiteman on the Victor label, Al Kahn (Columbia), Guy Lombardo (Decca), Artie Shaw (Columbia), and Eddy Howard (Mercury). And here, as elsewhere on this CD.
Thatcher's trumpet sounds off very well on the melodic lead and the three members of the front line and the piano have outstanding solos. Blount's clarinet, Vickers's trombone and Thatcher are at their best on solos and leads on "River Stay 'Way from My Door."
The ensemble playing is particularly outstanding on the traditional "Lily of the Valley," Joe "King" Oliver's wonderfully bluesy "Snag It," one of the better renditions, and "Daddy's Little Girl."
"Just a Gigolo," from 1930, a Viennese popular song originally titled "Schöner Gigolo," was introduced in the United States by Irene Bordoni. Its first successful recording was by Vincent Lopez and His Orchestra on the Hit of the Week label; a new recording, on a flexible disc, was issued and sold under this label's name each week at newsstands. Other early recordings were by Bing Crosby (Victor) and Harry Richman (Brunswick). Today, at concerts and jazz festivals, Berlin born Marty Grosz does a splendid vocal of this song in English and German, but here there is no vocal, unfortunately; however, the tune is one of the better offerings by the band with fine solos from the trumpet, trombone and piano, and some nice, light press rolls from Murphy.

The band is best on the snappy "Indiana," from 1917, as there are excellent solos and counterpoint from the front line, Brennan takes an interesting banjo solo, and Murphy uses the drum set, to include the snare drum, cowbells and tom-toms. Following "Indiana" is the traditional "Yes Lord I'm Crippled," a perfect selection for the final tune. For those listeners who like the wonderful New Orleans style, this fine CD is tor them. - George Borgman IAJRC Journal

River Stay 'Way From My Door - Barnes, England 27 December 1995.

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