If I Could Be With You
Wild Cat Blues
Down in Jungletown
Shout ‘em Aunt Tillie
Basin St. Blues
Black Bottom Stomp
At the Devil’s Ball
Ole Miss Rag
Jim Fryer (trumpet, trombone, vocals): Jeff
Barnhart (piano, vocals): George Huxley (clarinet,
soprano and alto saxophones); Gordon Whitworth
(trumpet, vocal): Brian Mellor (banjo, guitar,
vocal): Annie Hawkins (bass): Nick Ward (drums)
This is a good, solid, straight-ahead
blowing session from the rather cumbersomely
titled band led by Americans Jim Fryer and
Jeff Barnhart. They were recorded in concert
in Keswick and as usual from this source Lake’s
set-up is vivid and full of detail. The repertoire
is broadly what one would expect from a band
of this type – Morton, Ellington, Dixieland
standards. And the band encompasses well-known
British players who mesh with the visitors
Bassist Annie Hawkins needs
few introductions and she kicks things off
with a fluent solo on Fidgety Feet.
Fryer nails his colours firmly to the Teagarden
mast in If I Could Be With You where
his tribute is uncannily like Big T’s. Barnhart
sings on this one – and as he’s shown before
on this label he has a good line in Walleresque
and other vocal charms. Gordon Whitworth’s
trumpet solo though is fitful and his lip
seems to have been giving him trouble on and
off throughout the date. Fryer reprises the
salute in the Teagarden favourite Basin
St .Blues where Hawkins’s bowed bass behind
Brian Mellor’s guitar is an attractive feature.
Following the Teagarden there’s a tribute
to another virtuoso instrumentalist in the
shape of Sidney Bechet on Wild Cat Blues.
George Huxley really goes to town on this
own abetted by Barnhart’s stomping support.
Similarly I rather like the Ellingtonian sound
world they invoke on the canonic Shout
‘em Aunt Tillie – the arrangement is evocative
without being over-fussy and there’s some
neat Miley-like growling.
The band turns on the Jelly
Roll style in Black Bottom Stomp –
obligatory banjo included – and seem to have
mined some of that fine, vibrant de Paris
brothers energy for the outing on 1919
Rag. I think we can forgive co-leader
Barnhart for his rather hysterical turn on
the final number, where he seems more in danger
of emulating Jerry Lee than Meade Lux Lewis.
Huxley shows him the way in his solo.
Still, as I noted, a good
blowing session from an experienced band.
Nothing outstanding but for me Fryer’s lusty
’bone is the highlight.
A good blowing session from
an experienced band ... see Full Review