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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove



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FREDDY GARDNER

The Essential Collection

Avid AVC 947

 

 


 
CD1

1. I Only Have Eyes For You - Peter Yorke and His Concert Orchestra
2. Iíve Got A Note - The Six Swingers (Vocalist: Marjorie Stedeford)
3. Canít We Talk It Over?/Sweet Lorraine - Freddy Gardner and His Mess Mates (with Abe Walters at Challenís Multi-Tone piano)
4. Take My Heart - The Four Stars (Vocalist: George Evans)
5. Three Little Words/Youíre Driving Me Crazy - The Royal Navy Blue Mariners directed by George Crow
6. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
7. Is It True What They Say About Dixie? - The Swing Rhythm Boys (Vocalist: Ronnie Hill)
8. The Dipsy Doodle - Freddy Gardner and His Swing Orchestra
9. Valse Vanité - Peter Yorke and His Concert Orchestra
10. Yes Sir! Thatís My Baby/Blue Skies - Freddy Gardner and His Mess Mates (with Abe Walters at Challenís Multi-Tone piano)
11. Coal Black Mammy - Ike Hatch with swing accompaniment (?The Six Swingers)
12. Amapola/Stop, Youíre Breaking My Heart - The Royal Navy Blue Mariners directed by George Crow
13. China Boy
14. I Must Have That Man - Valaida with swing accompaniment
15. They Say - Freddy Gardner and His Swing Orchestra
16. Not A Cloud In The Sky - The Royal Navy Blue Mariners directed by George Crow (Vocalist: Freddy Latham)
17. Sammy Saxophone - George Scott Wood and His Six Swingers (Vocalist: Sam Costa)
18. Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise - The Royal Navy Blue Mariners rhythm section directed by George Crow
19. One Rainy Afternoon - The Four Stars (Vocalist: George Evans)
20. Dancing With Tears In My Eyes/You Canít Stop Me From Dreaming - The Royal Navy Blue Mariners directed by George Crow
21. Thereís A Small Hotel - Benny Carter and His Orchestra
22. I Liked His Little Black Moustache - Binnie Barnes with orchestral accompaniment
23. These Foolish Things - Peter Yorke and His Concert Orchestra
24. I Love You/At Sundown - Freddy Gardner and His Mess Mates (with Abe Walters at Challenís Multi-Tone piano)
25. Iím In The Mood For Love - Peter Yorke and His Concert Orchestra
CD2

1. Body And Soul - Peter Yorke and His Concert Orchestra
2. Some Of These Days - Mario "Harp" Lorenzi and His Rhythmics (Vocalist: Marjorie Stedeford)
3. The Touch Of Your Lips/Just One More Chance - The Royal Navy Blue Mariners directed by George Crow
4. The Japanese Sandman
5. Ainít Misbehaviní - The Four Stars (Vocalist: George Evans)
6. Ainít She Sweet?/Louise - Freddy Gardner and His Mess Mates (with Abe Walters at Challenís Multi-Tone piano)
7. Someday Sweetheart - Freddy Gardner and His Swing Orchestra
8. Avalon - The Ballyhooligans
9. Buffoon - Jack Simpson with orchestral accompaniment
10. Black Coffee - The Six Swingers
11. Roses Of Picardy - Peter Yorke and His Concert Orchestra
12. Itís A Million To One - The Royal Navy Blue Mariners directed by George Crow
13. Dereís Jazz In Dem Dere Horns - George Scott Wood and His Six Swingers (Vocalist: Sam Costa)
14. Baby, Wonít You Please Come Home?
15. Pennies From Heaven - Teddy Foster and His Kings Of Swing (Vocalist: Teddy Foster)
16. Iíll Never Say Never Again Again/Itís De-Lovely - The Royal Navy Blue Mariners directed by George Crow
17. Jeepers Creepers - Freddy Gardner and His Swing Orchestra
18. Your Feetís Too Big - The Four Stars (Vocalist: George Evans)
19. My Blue Heaven/If I Had You - Freddy Gardner and His Mess Mates (with Abe Walters at Challenís Multi-Tone piano)
20. Rambling In C
21. The House Where I Was Born - The Six Swingers (Vocalist: Marjorie Stedeford)
22. Stardust
23. Iíve Got The World On A String/We Just Couldnít Say Goodbye - The Royal Navy Blue Mariners directed by George Crow
24. Flanagan and Allen Memories: Canít We Meet Again?/A Million Tears/Underneath The Arches - Flanagan and Allen with orchestra conducted by George Scott Wood
25. Pardon Me, Pretty Baby/I Cover The Waterfront - Freddy Gardner and His Mess Mates (with Abe Walters at Challenís Multi-Tone piano)
26. Kingís Rhapsody Selection: The Gates Of Paradise/The Mayor Of Perpignan/Some Day My Heart Will Awake - Peter Yorke and His Concert Orchestra

Years before the likes of Dave Sanborn and Kenny G, Freddy Gardner was already producing some of the sweetest sounds on alto saxophone. When I was a teenager, my Sunday lunchtimes were marked by BBC broadcasts of the fairly terrible Billy Cotton Band Show but also by Peter Yorke and his Concert Orchestra, which often featured Freddy Gardner as a soloist.

The very first track of this double album is a reminder of Freddy's smoothly lyrical style which is still captivating today. Accompanied by Peter Yorke's rather soupy strings, Freddy's graceful tone is a lasting joy. I know he looks forbidding in the album cover picture but the music is welcoming.

Freddy Gardner wasn't just a lush, sweet-toned soloist: he was also a jazzman, which is even apparent in his brief improvisation on this opening track. Further evidence of his jazz credentials is provided by many of the other tracks from a variety of bands - mostly small groups. For instance, I've Got a Note is a sort of premonition of the One Note Samba, where Freddy solos jubilantly in the midst of a couple of old-fashioned vocalists. Take My Heart, Ain't Misbehavin' and Avalon show that Freddy was equally adept on the clarinet. He also played tenor and baritone saxes, although he will be best remembered for his alto playing. His lithe tenor can be enjoyed on such tracks as Some of These Days, while his fluent baritone sax is heard on Your Feet's Too Big.

Admittedly some tracks betray their age, even though no recording dates are supplied. We are only told that these tracks date from between 1934 and 1950. Several songs are corny and some of the singers are less than jazzy. A song like Coal Black Mammy would never pass the political correctness police these days!

The number of different bands and artists that Freddy played with indicate how popular he was with his fellow musicians. Benny Carter got Freddy to lead the saxes in some recordings he made in London, and other visiting artists like Valaida and Ike Hatch used Freddy when they recorded in Britain. Sadly, Freddy Gardner died of a cerebral haemorrhage in 1950 at the early age of 39. But he left us some cherishable recordings - particularly those with Peter Yorke, for which he is best remembered - and rightly so. As you can buy this double CD for around £4, it is truly a bargain that you should snap up instantly.

Tony Augarde


 

 

 

 



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