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


THE WORLD’S GREATEST JAZZ BAND

At Manchester’s Free Trade Hall, England 1971

Arbors Jazz ARCD 19343

 

 


CD1

1. Yank Introduces The WGJB
2. Panama
3. Dogtown Blues
4. Ain't Misbehavin'
5. Black And Blue
6. Alligator Crawl
7. I Got Rhythm
8. Limehouse Blues
9. Big Noise From Winnetka
10. What's New?
11. South Rampart Street Parade
CD2

1. Bourbon Street Parade
2. The Girl On The Beach
3. Just One Of Those Things
4. Summertime
5. Viper's Drag
6. At Sundown
7. Carolina In The Morning
8. In A Sentimental Mood
9. Wolverine Blues
10. Muskrat Ramble
11. Up-Up And Away / My Inspiration
Yank Lawson - Trumpet
Billy Butterfield - Trumpet, flugelhorn
Bob Wilber - Clarinet, soprano sax
Bud Freeman - Tenor sax
Vic Dickenson, Ed Hubble - Trombones
Ralph Sutton - Piano
Bob Haggart - Bass
Gus Johnson Jr. - Drums

Recorded on the WGJB’s first British tour, this double album captures a fine band at the top of its powers. Admittedly the band’s title was rather immodest but the musicians were all seasoned veterans who had learned their trade with such ensembles as the Bob Crosby Band and musicians like Count Basie, Eddie Condon and Benny Goodman. They epitomised the mainstream style of jazz.

With such first-rate musicians, there is plenty of variety on the album. Bud Freeman’s sinuous tenor contrasts with the soprano sax of Bob Wilber, while Yank Lawson and Billy Butterfield contribute contrasting but complementary styles of trumpet: Yank the more outspoken, Billy more mellow. Vic Dickenson’s trombone is typically eccentric, while Ralph Sutton shows himself the ideal accompanist as well as a striding soloist. Haggart and Johnson maintain the momentum throughout.

Some of the tunes are fairly hackneyed but they are interspersed with rarer items like Bob Haggart’s pleasing composition The Girl on the Beach and the recent pop hit Up, Up and Away. The live recording sometimes sounds slightly fuzzy but it makes up in presence what it lacks in clarity.


Tony Augarde

 



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