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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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Crotchet

Jazz at the Pawnshop

PROPHONE PRCD 7778

 

 

 

  1. Limehouse Blues
  2. Iím Confessiní
  3. High Life
  4. Jeepís Blues
  5. Lady Be Good
  6. Take Five
  7. Everything Happens to Me
  8. Barbados
  9. Stuffy

Arne Domnerus - Alto & Clarinet
Bengt Hallberg - Piano
Lars Estrand - Vibes
Georg Riedel - Bass
Egil Johansen - Drums
Recorded at Stampen Jazz Club in Stockholm December 6&7 1976.

Strangely the sleeve note concentrates on the capabilities of Recording Engineer Gert Palmcrant and no doubt he was a master craftsman. This CD version, which was released in Sweden in 1996, was digitally re-mastered by Torbjorn Samuelsson, so just who should get the credit for the quality of the sound, which is excellent, is anybodyís guess. I think we should just be glad for it!

I would like to concentrate on the music, which is also excellent. Arne Domnerus has always been a favourite of mine and his playing on both Alto and Clarinet when this was recorded in 1976, shows that he was in fine form. The musical standard of the whole group is very high, the rhythm section swings along effortlessly, Bengt Hallberg is excellent both as soloist and accompanying both Domnerus and the exciting Lars Estrand on vibes. Lars is obviously influenced by Lionel Hampton, but not to the extent of losing his own identity.

Limehouse Blues gets things off to an exciting start, excellent solos all round, a coda that gets a bit out of hand, but it gets everything off to a super start. Iím Confessiní shows the group in more mellow mood, but it is equally successful. High Life is a kind of Calypso piece in which Estrand plays without the motor on his vibes running, making it sound more like a Xylophone, Red Norvo of course often recorded on that instrument.

Jeeps Blues reminds us of Arne Domnerusís liking for Johnny Hodges and it is interesting how his Alto playing sits in between Hodges and Parker, a great place to be! Lars Estrand contributes a fine solo here as he does again on Lady be Good. You canít help being aware of the quality of Georg Reidelís Bass work throughout and if we all had the chance to play with a drummer of Egil Johansenís quality regularly, we would be very happy.

Take Five is taken at a faster tempo than the Brubeck version with Paul Desmond, but no-one sounds uncomfortable with either the 5/4 time or the tempo. Everything Happens to Me is a terrific tune and this is one of the best version of it I have heard, Arneís theme statement is a delight. Barbados is a Parker original and Arne sounds just as comfortable in this role as he was in the Hodges one.

Stuffy comes from the Coleman Hawkins and is a nice easy swinger which seems to bring out the best in everyone, we even get a bit of stride piano from Bengt, but in a great solo, he again shows us just how inventive he could be.

In a Blindfold test, I would have thought this was an American Group, which shows the quality of music being produced by these excellent musicians in Sweden in 1976. My only regret is that I would like to have heard it 29 years ago! I recommend it without reservation.

Don Mather

 



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