The Storyville Allstars is an occasional band, drawn from two highly experienced Dundee-based jazz groups, who get together a few times a year to play at the beautiful Discovery Point (so named because Captain Scott's ship Discovery is moored there) on the Dundee Waterfront. Their concerts have taken place since 1990 and are always very popular. They are joined by two remarkable singers - Fionna Duncan will be familiar to many of you; she sang with the Clyde Valley Stompers in the 1960s. Perhaps less well-known is Yvonne Robb who sang with the Alyn Ainsworth Orchestra in the '50s. Now aged 82 she sings with feeling and control - a great singer. The band line-up is Dave Fimister cornet; Walt Smith clarinet; Frank Rossiter trombone; Iain Mathieson keyboard; John Whyte guitar; Ron Elder double bass; Harry Morrison drums, and the tunes are:- Undecided, The Birth Of The Blues, Brazil, Just A Little While To Stay Here, Autumn Leaves, Saturday Night Function, Dapper Dan, Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man Of Mine, Wabash Blues, Blueberry Hill, Don't Get Around Much Anymore, Worried Man Blues, Dallas Blues, The Battle Hymn Of The Republic, Harlem Nocturne, Mention My Name In Sheboyga, Blue Turning Grey Over You. (79min).
I am so excited about this CD! It has been a lifelong passion of Dennis's to play the Oliver Creole Band tunes; not to slavishly copy the original recordings - there are plenty of bands trying to do that with varying degrees of success - and I must say I wonder why! What is the point of trying to copy great jazz which was played so brilliantly over 80 years ago? No, Dennis's goal was (and still is!) to recreate the spirit and excitement of that legendary band, who played (acoustically) for maybe 600 dancers at Lincoln Gardens in Chicago. Perhaps the hardest aspect of King Oliver's music to recapture is the amazing two-cornet playing of King Oliver and the young Louis Armstrong. Dennis and Chris Mercer have worked hard for months, getting together in Bristol whenever possible, although they live over 100 miles apart, to rehearse this deceptively complex music. Well, I think they have succeeded - this CD is sensational! Actually it's no secret that Dennis and the rest of the band are pretty pleased as well! The line-up is Dennis Armstrong and Chris Mercer cornets; Phil Wall clarinet; Bon Dwyer trombone; Jon Penn piano; Geoff Over banjo; John Bayne double bass, alto sax, bass sax; Warren Latham drums. The 19 tracks include the 16 remaining 1923 Creole Band titles, which were not recorded for the band's earlier CD, plus three tunes not associated with the Creole Band:- Just Gone, Buddy's Habit, London Cafe Blues, High Society, Swipesey Cakewalk, Canal Street Blues, The Southern Stomps, Sweet Baby Doll, Dippermouth Blues, Bohunkus Blues, Krooked Blues, Tears, Ballin' The Jack, Chimes Blues, Alligator Hop, Snake Rag, Camp Meeting Blues, I Ain't Gonna Tell Nobody, Zulu's Ball. (75min). I feel privileged to have been part of the making of this great CD.
In today's traditional jazz world there is a handful of talented young musicians - Amy Roberts is one of this select group. She first appeared on the club scene in Cornwall (her home county) as a schoolgirl a few years ago. Now (Autumn 2009) aged 21 she is studying music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and at the same time she is making a name for herself on the jazz club and festival scene. This, the first CD by her own band, was recorded at the 2008 Bude Jazz Festival. The band has a sound reminiscent of the American small bands of the 1930s and '40s and on this CD they work well together to play hot inventive jazz and entertain their audience. The band line-up is Steve Graham trumpet; Amy Roberts alto sax (flute on one track); Roger Heeley piano; John Baker banjo; Andy Craddock double bass; Graham Smith drums. The tunes are -Runnin' Wild, I'm Confessin', Isle Of Capri, That Teasin' Rag, A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square (flute), Royal Garden Blues, Singing The Blues, Collegiate, I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Panama. (65min).
Here is something very different from the usual run of traditional jazz bands! How refreshing it is to hear something different and new. As the band name implies this is a trombone-led band which features Kevin Grenfell and Richard Leach who are two of the best, and best-known, trombonists on the British jazz scene. Some time ago Kevin approached Richard with the idea of forming a band based around a trombone duo, and early in 2009 Slide By Slide was born. This CD was recorded at only their second public performance in March 2009 but, from the degree of understanding and rapport between all five band members, you would think they'd been playing together for years! The other members of the band are Ken Jones keyboard, Bill Coleman double bass, Nick Millward drums. The tunes are:- Mean To Me, Spanish Eyes, Indiana, Mood Indigo, C'est Si Bon, Night Train, There Will Never Be Another You, Autumn Affair, Breezing Along With The Breeze, Tea For Two, Stars Fell On Alabama, Days Of Wine And Roses, C'est Magnifique, Makin' Whoopee, Watermelon Man. (70min).
Brian first met Shirley Alexander in New Orleans in 2004; in his opinion she is the nearest you will find today to the sound of the legendary Mahalia Jackson. Brian wanted to bring Shirley to the UK but Hurricane Katrina in 2005 disrupted their plans and it was 2008 before Shirley made the trip to Britain. She appeared with Brian's Algiers Stompers at the 2008 Keswick Jazz Festival and, the day after the Festival ended we recorded this CD in the Methodist Church in Keswick in front of a small audience of friends. The band line-up is almost the regular one:- Peter Wright trumpet; Brian Carrick clarinet; Chas Hudson trombone; Gabrielle Gad piano; Bill Salmond banjo; Bill Cole double bass; John Baker drums. The tunes are:- Highway To Heaven, His Eye Is On The Sparrow, Jesus On The Mainline, Your Cheating Heart, New Orleans Hula, Joshua Fit De Battle Of Jericho, Come To Jesus, Old Time Religion, Hanauma Bay, Falling In Love Again, Kid Thomas - Got What People Like, Just A Closer Walk With Thee, Glory Glory, Get Right Church, He's Got The Whole World In His Hands, When The Saints Go Marching In. (71min).
I recorded this amazing session by John's band at the 2009 Keswick Festival and here, on two CDs, you have every tune from that session. Sometimes when I sit down with a band-leader to listen to a recording and select the tunes for a CD it is difficult to know what to leave out because there are so many worthy tracks. On this occasion however we agreed that every single track was far too good to be dropped and so here, for the first time on P.E.K. Sound, is a double album. To complete your enjoyment there is an eight-page booklet with excellent notes by John and plenty of colour photos. The band line-up is John Shillito trumpet & vocals; John Wurr clarinet alto and baritone saxes; Bobby Fox trombone; John Whitlock guitar & banjo; Bob Jarvis bass; Derek Maugham drums. The tunes are, on Disc 1 - Friday Night In New Orleans, Joe Louis Stomp, Sentimental Journey, Clarinet Marmalade, Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird, Saturday Night Function, Choo Choo Ch' Boogie, Nobody Knows The Trouble I See, You've Gotta See Baby Tonight, Drop Me Off In New Orleans. On Disc 2 - Poor Butterfly, Dans Les Rues d'Antibes, Helter Skelter, I Laughed At Love, A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening, Is It True What They Say About Dixie, Buona Sera, He'll Understand And Say Well Done, Laissez Les Bontemps Rouler, Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans, Mardi Gras In New Orleans.(1hr 45min). (Double CD - price £15.35)