This CD was recorded live in November 2011 and was almost ready for release when we heard the awful news that Norman had died suddenly on April 17th from a heart attack while on holiday with Sarah. Eleanor and I first saw Norman at the very first Bude Jazz Festival in 1988 and then in |September '88 we saw his band for the first time. Subsequently we would drive regularly to see Norman's band at Aston Cross near Tewkesbury. He and Chris Blount played together quite frequently around 1988 and '89 and they were for Eleanor and me some of the happiest jazz times of our life. I find it hard to believe I'll never hear his lovely distinctive cornet tones live again. So for me and many of us, this CD is very special. It was originally planned as a feature for John Scantlebury whose clarinet and sax playing is simply superb - echoes of George Lewis and John Handy. Following Norman's tragic death everyone involved in the recording agreed that the release of the CD should go ahead and John Scantlebury suggested it should be dedicated to Norman who was on particularly good form on the evening of November 20th when the recording took place. The band line-up is Norman Thatcher cornet and tenor sax; Tom Whittingham trombone; John Scantlebury clarinet, alto and tenor saxes; Dave Soby piano; Sarah Thatcher banjo & guitar; Peter Berry double bass; Pete Winterhart drums. John Minnion replaces Norman Thatcher on two tracks. The tunes are:- The Old Spinning Wheel, Any Time, Just A Little While To Stay Here, Ciribiribin, See See Rider, In Spain They Say Si Si, Sweet Fields, He Touched Me, Girl Of My Dreams, Careless Love Blues, Saint Philip St Breakdown, Bluebells Goodbye, Lead Me Saviour, Ice Cream. (70mins).
I always enjoy The Forest N.O.J.B. and this session at the 2011 Keswick Jazz Festival was no exception. The band has played regularly since its formation in 1984 but has rarely ventured far from its base in Lancashire. Therefore many of you won't have had the pleasure of hearing them live. The line-up on this CD is Arthur Stead trumpet, John Brunton clarinet & tenor sax, Jack Moore trombone, Tom Culbert piano, Ron Payton banjo, Peter Vickers double bass and Dave Stanley drums. The tunes are:- Buddy's Habit, Why Should I Cry Over You, Over The Waves, Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor, San Jacinto Stomp, Just Forget, Canal St Blues, No Letter Today, Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams, You Broke Your Promise, You Were Only Fooling, Chicken. (75mins)
I was delighted when Laurie Chescoe asked me to record his Reunion Band at the Keswick Festival in May and then again at Risley Park in July. The band was formed only a couple of years ago but still has five original members of Laurie Chescoe's Good Time Jazz which played so successfully during the 1990s and broke up in 2002 due to the untimely deaths of two key members, Ian Hunter-Randall and Dave Jones. The band is led by Laurie Chescoe (drums) whose career spans 60 years. He has played with many of the great bands from the '60s - Monty Sunshine, Dick Charlesworth, Bruce Turner, Bob Wallis, George Webb, Alex Welsh - the list goes on and on! There's no space here to list the history of all the band members but between them they've played with just about every top traditional band for the last 50 years. You can find out much more by looking online. The other band members are Allan Bradley trumpet; Duncan Hemstock reeds; Dave Hewett trombone; Colin Bray piano; Jim Douglas banjo and guitar; Pete Skivington or Vic Pitt bass. Laurie's Good Time Jazz recorded many times during the '90s but this is the Reunion Band's first CD and the tunes are:- Royal Garden Blues, Oh! Marie, Apex Blues, Let A Smile Be Your Umbrella, Ice Cream, I Thank You Mister Moon, Exactly Like You, Shim Me Sha Wabble, Basin St Blues, Cherokee, Sleepy Time Gal, If You Were The Only Girl In The World, After You've Gone, Isn't This A Lovely Day, Hindustan, Just A Little While To Stay Here (78min)
The WirrOrleans Jazz Band's name originated from three of the band coming from the Wirral Peninsular, the remainder being from the Merseyside/Lancashire area. A seven-piece band, it was originally formed in 1978 by the late Al McDowell.
Whilst being firmly rooted in the Dixieland genre we do like to play a mix of jazz styles ranging from Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton and Sydney Bechet to Duke Ellington, hoping to suit all tastes.
The session on this CD took place at the Skiddaw Hotel and, when our regular banjo player was seriously delayed enroute to the session, Wilson Hepplestone, who happened to be in the audience and had never played with the band before, offered his services. We are grateful for his banjo playing during the whole of the first set; he fitted in well and can be heard on four tracks.
Another 'new boy' on that day, our bass player Derek Vaux, who had never played with us prior to the Keswick Jazz Festival, performed as though he had been with us for many years; his playing comes over very well on the recording as you will hear.
Phil Lucas, our charismatic young trumpeter did his usual instant, on-stage arranging so keeping the rhythm section on their toes and ensuring the drummer watched him throughout!
Our own banjo player was able to join us for the second and third sets of the session, his performance being well received by an appreciative audience.
It was good to play at the Skiddaw again, always a good atmosphere and with the audience really close to us as we prefer.
Our thanks go to Peter Kings for recording the whole session and for his expertise in producing this CD. We hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed the playing.
John Blackman March 2013
Now here is something very different from most of my catalogue! When Phil says "We do music" that's exactly what he means. Phil plays mostly with jazz bands but the other musicians on this CD come from various backgrounds - folk, rock, and jazz. Phil leads the band on electric guitar and is accompanied by Vo Fletcher - folk singer, songwriter and one of the Midlands finest acoustic guitarists; Dayne Cranenburg bass guitarist of amazing technique and melodic invention, and Martin Emeny a superb swinging drummer. For this live recording session they were joined by some wonderful guests - from the world of folk music (traditional and progressive!) Ric Sanders from Fairport Convention on fiddle; Trevor Emeny on tenor sax; Sheila Fawkes vocals; and Tony Philpott harmonica and vocals. The selection of tunes is about as wide-ranging as could be:- Don't Blame Me; Out Of Nowhere; Let's Fall In Love; San Francisco Bay; St Louis Blues; Long Legged Woman; I'm In The Mood For Love; Diddy Wah Diddy; Lullaby Of Birdland; Pennies From Heaven; Misty; Route Sixty-Six; I'm Getting Sentimental Over You; Too Close For Comfort; Manha Da Carnaval; Help Me. (70min)
It's been three years since I released the first CD by this excellent New Orleans-style band. In those three years the band has progressed in leaps and bounds helped in no small measure by the fact that they have maintained an unchanged personnel. Their relaxed approach should be a model for many bands who equate excitement with fast and furious! There are no break-neck tempos here, but plenty of exuberance and feeling, and the choice of tunes is spot-on; some old favourites and some lesser known tunes. The line-up is - Mike Scroxton trumpet; Alan Cresswell clarinet; Roy Stokes trombone; Kevin Scott banjo; Mike Broad double bass; Pete Jackman drums and the tunes are:- One Sweet Letter From You; Sweet Sue- Just You; Fair And Square In Love; Give Me Your Telephone Number; I Thank You Mister Moon; Burgundy Street Blues; Louisian-I-Ay; Yearning; Red Wing; Tin Roof Blues; Lord Lord Lord; SweetFields; Darkness On The Delta; Canal Street Blues; Milenburg Joys; We'll Meet Again. The playing time is a remarkable 79mins!
The footballing theme, which started with the band's first CD in 2002 (PKCD-226), continues with their latest recording which took place in the jazz marquee at the 2012 Keswick Festival. I was very uneasy about recording in a marquee; the possibilities for disruption by stormy weather, low flying aircraft etc were a real worry. But opportunities to record this band are very few and far between so I couldn't turn this one down. In the event there were no problems and a packed audience enjoyed some superb, exciting, freewheeling jazz from two of our finest traditional reed players. John and George are more than ably supported by a top class rhythm section - Jon Penn piano, Geoff Over banjo and guitar, John Fellows double bass and Graham Smith drums. By the way, has anybody noticed that Graham appears on quite a lot of my recent CDs? He really is a very busy drummer! The tunes on this CD are:- Ice Cream, Egyptian Fantasy, Everybody Loves My Baby, Just A Closer Walk With Thee, Coffee Grinder, Indian Summer, The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise, If I Had You, Kansas City Stomps, The Mooche, The Curse Of An Aching Heart, Chinatown My Chinatown. (68min)