Humphrey Lyttelton has probably done more for
jazz in the UK than any other single person has. He has led his
band since 1948 and through its ranks has passed many of the finest
jazz musicians that the UK has ever produced. This record is of
his recordings from the period 1948 to 1952, at that time he was
very much the leading figure in the UK traditional New Orleans
Jazz revival. Even at that time however, he liked to experiment
with different instrumental combinations and made records in combination
with Afro-Caribbean musicians and also with members of Graeme
Bellís Australian Jazz Band.
I have to confess, that although I was a big
fan at the time of this era of jazz, like Humph himself, I have
moved on and I much prefer his later mainstream bands with sidemen
of the calibre of Danny Moss, Roy Williams, Tony Coe and Kathy
Stobart. For the many people who have stayed true to the New Orleans
sound this CD will be very welcome. It contains two tracks with
the legendary Sidney Bechet for a start, as well as a fine collection
of New Orleans standards with a few Lyttelton originals thrown
in for good measure. All are played with the great enthusiasm
that is typical of everything Humph does; he is 82 and going strong.
I wish him well and hope that we can enjoy his playing and his
sparkling whit and personality for many years to come.