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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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Barney Bigard

Barney’s Bounce

24 original mono recordings 1929 – 1947

Living Era - CD AJA 5507

 

 

       

      1

      Barney’s Bounce

      13

      Charlie The Chulo

      2

      Saturday Night Function

      14

      Lament For Javanette

      3

      Smilin’ The Blues Away

      15

      A Lull At Dawn

      4

      Turtle Twist

      16

      Tea For Two

      5

      Mood Indigo

      17

      Step Steps Up

      6

      Clarinet Lament (Barney’s Concerto)

      18

      Step Steps Down

      7

      I Know That You Know

      19

      Crawfish Blues

      8

      Barney Goin’ Easy

      20

      Limehouse Blues

      9

      Early Mornin’

      21

      Rose Room

      10

      Honey Hush (Solid Old Man)

      22

      Coquette

      11

      Harlem Air Shaft

      23

      Tiger Rag

      12

      Across The Track Blues

      24

      C Jam Blues

       

      Barney Bigard joined Duke Ellington in 1937 on tenor saxophone and clarinet. It was his brilliant clarinet work that Ellington admired with its ‘woody tone’ and Bigard’s creative ideas – often adopted by Ellington in his arrangements. "Mood Indigo," attributed to both men, shows the success of the partnership, as does "Saturday Night Function."

      During his time with Ellington, Bigard formed ‘a popular band within the band’ under the title Barney Bigard and his Jazzopators. All three tracks by this group employ Ellington side-men, with the exception of pianist Billy Strayhorn whose arrangements with, and for, Ellington form a vital part of the band’s overall history. One of the most appealing tracks is "I Know That You Know" which features another ‘splinter’ group recorded in 1939 and led by cornetist Rex Stewart together with his Feetwarmers amongst whom were Barney Bigard and Django Reinhardt.

      Vic Bellerby in his accompanying notes quotes Rex Stewart on Bigard’s musicianship ……"His tone ranges from a keen wail in the upper register down to a sombre, rich, dark-hued tone. Bigard is an artist of tremendous facility. He is a virile, creative instrumentalist. To an acute listener, clarinet by Bigard creates a broad expanse of melodic excitement, a departure that soars fresh and warm from his soul." What more can be said?

      Between 1942 and 1947 Bigard recorded with both Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. Work from that period prompted impresario Joe Glaser to get involved with the formation of Louis Armstrong and his All Stars. Following the great success of the New York Town Hall concerts the All Stars remained together for a few years. Sadly the only track from that era here is C Jam Blues. Barney’s Bounce provides a reasonable cross-section of Bigard’s music during an eighteen-year period and is sure to find a welcome market.

      Jack Ashby



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