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A Jazz Club session with Alex Welsh and his Band

LAKE LACD 258 [73:49]

 

 


 

Beale St Blues
Memphis Blues
Up A Lazy River
Stan’s Dance
Serenade In Blue
Soft Winds
On The Sunny Side Of The Street
Lester Leaps In
On The Alamo
Exactly Like You
My Blue Heaven; Fidgety Feet
Alex Welsh and his Band Alex Welsh (tpt), Roy Crimmins (tbn), Al Gay (reeds), Bert Murray (pno), Tony Pitt (gtr), Bill Reid (bass) Lennie Hastings (dms)
rec. Dancing Slipper, Nottingham, 1963

Any new Welsh Band material is good news in my book and this proves to be no exception. The material derives from the vast collection of material recorded by Alan Gilmour at that famed locale, the hard-to-find Dancing Slipper in Nottingham. It was taped in 1963 and features an unusual, little known line up of the band given that the pianist is Bert Murray, who recorded seldom with the group. Fred Hunt was temporarily absent.

The Welsh-Crimmins front line was augmented by Al Gay, who proves a versatile, articulate reedsman from the outset, with a good clarinet solo on Beale Street Blues. Crimmins follows with a typically suave statement with Lennie Hastings driving the band in exemplary fashion - and I’ve always agreed with sleeve note writer Ralph Laing that the Welsh band rhythm section was just about the best in the business in its field. I didn’t detect any Hastings "oo-yahs" however.

Gay’s influences included Hawkins on tenor and he pays oblique tonal homage on Memphis Blues where Welsh shows some Buck Clayton inspired work. The leader sings, Armstrong-style, on Up A lazy River where Crimmins ventures some wa-wa ‘bone and by Stan’s Dance the band is cooking nicely – note Murray’s good solo here. Gay stretches out on Soft Winds, swinging with verve strongly aided by that crisp, tight and propulsive rhythm section; a good arrangement sees a trombone-and-percussion passage. Gay takes the soprano saxophone honours on On The Sunny Side Of The Street ensuring variety in the front line whilst Welsh takes amongst his best solos on Fidgety Feet where Hastings lays down an insistent beat.

Good arrangements, one or two surprising song selections and a rare band line-up are the principal features of this latest outing from Lake. It’s a good live session, enjoyable and entertaining.

Jonathan Woolf

 



 

 

 

 



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