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



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JOE DANIELS JAZZ GROUP

Dixie Band Stomp

Living Era CD AJA 5652

 

 

 



As a young drummer, I was a keen fan of some records I inherited that Joe Daniels made in the series he called "Drumnasticks" (although, not realising it was a pun on gymnastics. I erroneosuly pronounced it "drum-nerr-sticks" instead of "drum-nass-ticks"!). I liked these records because they put the drummer centre-stage. Unfortunately, this collection consists of recordings made between 1951 and 1955 - after the era of "Drumnasticks", when Joe had moved on from his band the Hot Shots and now led the Joe Daniels Jazz Group. So Joe doesn't play many drum solos on this album.

Nevertheless, at various times his new band included several musicians well-known today, such as Tony Coe, Vic Ash, Dave Shepherd and the late Don Lusher. Thus the standard of the music is reasonably high, even though the repertoire comprises such hackneyed Dixieland numbers as Doctor Jazz, Jazz Me Blues and Bugle Call Rag. Wolverine Blues, recorded at a Festival Hall concert in 1951, shows how Joe could please an audience with lively, well-arranged versions of old tunes. After all, Joe was a great showman who had paid his dues by playing on many transatlantic cruises and with various bands (including Harry Roy for six years).

His star seemed to wane as the Trad Boom arrived and the spotlight was taken by Barber, Ball and Bilk, although he continued leading bands into the 1970s. This album is a fine reminder of a band that is in danger of being forgotten. The music is not particularly subtle nor profound but the ensembles are well drilled and many of the solos worth hearing. Now, please can Living Era assemble a compilation of earlier recordings by Joe Daniels' Hot Shots?


Tony Augarde

Not many pre-War bandleaders revived their careers after hostilities ended but Joe Daniels was one. His Hot Shots had been a popular working outfit but his canny awareness of musical trends and his characterful drumming ensured that his later outfit was to prove equally successful. They played Dixieland - and so largely stood apart from the major schisms between Bop and Revivalist purists in Britain, though clearly the modified Chicago influence was there, not least in the trumpet playing of stalwart Alan Wickham, an underrated player on the local scene.

Trombonists included Harry Brown, much improved since his earlier days with Humph, and Geoff Sowden. Paul Simpson was an effective clarinet player but Dave Shepherd was a real advance for the band. Later on the young Tony Coe joined alongside Don Lusher and the band took on another face. By November 1953 Vic Ash was recording with the band. These last names attest to the technically high standards evinced - Coe, Lusher and Ash would be in anyone's book as eloquent technicians and soloists.
Some of the earlier tracks are slightly corny. The O.D.J.B. tribute - Livery Stable Blues, or Barnyard Blues to give its original O.D.J.B. title - comes from a Royal Festival Hall concert and shows Daniels's drumming, exuberant though it may have been, as rather thick and too heavily textured for comfort. Later on though things improve. Sowden shows his Jack Teagarden allegiances with a lusty solo in Five Point Blues. Meanwhile his replacement Don Lusher extols the buzzy tone of Scotsman George Chisholm on Morton's Honey Babe and does so charismatically. Stylistically the group embraced jump band riffs - The Dixie Band Stomp - and they strove to create intros that were piquant and entertaining, a feature of the band from 1953 onwards.

By the end of that year Vic Ash was showing awareness of modern developments - Buddy de Franco principally - though he was not to lose his love of Goodman's playing. By the final incarnation here in January 1955 with a new outfit (bar Wickham) the band was playing straight-ahead Chicago style and very adeptly.

Enjoyable stuff then and some intriguing glimpses of the young Ash, Lusher, Coe and co. Daniels is the marshalling supremo, Krupa-inspired and sometimes too heavy (but not too often). Good transfers and fine notes from Digby Fairweather, a classy man to be writing for you.

Jonathan Woolf

 

1. At a Georgia Camp Meeting
2. Washington and Lee Swing
3. Barnyard Blues
4. Wolverine Blues
5. Corrine, Corrina
6. Wang Wang Blues
7. Doctor Jazz
8. Five Point Blues
9. The Dixie Band Stomp
10. Weary Blues
11. That Da Da Strain
12. Runnin' Wild
13. Riverboat Shuffle
14. I Got Rhythm
15. Sobbin' Blues
16. Honey Babe
17. Black and Blue
18. Royal Garden Blues
19. I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate
20. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
21. Jazz Me Blues
22. Susie
23. Spain
24. Bugle Call Rag
25. I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None o' this Jelly Roll
26. Crazy Rhythm
27. Marie
28. Rosetta

Joe Daniels – Drums
Alan Wickham - Trumpet (tracks 1-25, 27, 28)
Harry Brown - Trombone (tracks 1, 2, 17, 18)
Geoff Sowden - Trombone (tracks 3-12)
Paul Simpson - Clarinet (tracks 1-4)
Norman Long - Piano (tracks 1-8, 17, 18)
Nevil Skrimshire - Guitar (tracks 1-16, 19-22)
George Peacey - Bass (tracks 1-4)
Dave Shepherd - Clarinet (tracks 5-12, 19-22)
George Davis - Bass (tracks 5-16, 23-25)
Don Lusher - Trombone (tracks 13-16, 19-25)
Tony Coe - Clarinet (tracks 13-16)
Stan Foster - Piano (tracks 13-16)
Bernie Stanton - Clarinet (tracks 17, 18)
Johnny Oxley - Bass (tracks 17-22)
Vic Ash - Clarinet, alto sax (tracks 23-26)
Stan Butcher - Piano (tracks 23-26)
Laddy Busby - Trombone (track 26)
Tony Barr - Bass (track 26)
Orm Stewart - Trombone (tracks 27, 28)
Don Francis - Clarinet (tracks 27, 28)
Ray Webb - Tenor sax (tracks 27, 28)

 

 



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