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

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Chris Barber 1957-58
Chris Barberís Jazz Band
rec. 1957-58
LAKE LACD 268 [77:19 + 78:35]



Kay Cee Rider
I Love My Baby
When The Saints Go Marching In
The Old Rugged Cross
Bye & Bye
Pound Of Blues
When You And I Were Young Maggie Dear
Just A Closer Walk With Thee
Bourbon Street Parade
Savoy Blues
Lonesome Road
The Sheik Of Araby
Wonít You Come Home Bill Bailey
You Took Advantage Of Me
Sweet Sue
Moonshine Man
You Rascal You
Trombone Cholly
Lawdy Lawdy Blues
Bugle Boy March
Pretty Baby
New Orleans Hula
St. Phillip Street Breakdown
Georgia Grind
Rockiní In Rhythm
My Old Kentucky Home
Rent Party Blues
Careless Love
Strange Things Happen Every Day
Mama Donít Allow


Lake continues its fine work in systematic reclamation of the Barber bandís recordings. 1957 was a lean year in the studios but the surviving recordings happily attest to the brightly swinging, tightly arranged Catholicism of tune selection; not too many bands of the time, for example, sought out the King Oliver-Dave Nelson song Olga.

Of the selection the expected When the Saints lasts an extended six minutes. Monty Sunshine pays obeisance to George Lewis with a gently, reverentially phrased The Old Rugged Cross. But the band always truffled for some jump classics and it turns in a funky workout on Pound Of Blues where trumpeter Pat Halcox is at his fiery best. His work with the mute is finely exemplified on Just A Closer Walk With Thee, its tempo doubling always engaging. Ottilie Pattersonís vocals, as ever, add an authentic burnish. The Birmingham Town Hall concert of January 1958 is included. Hear Sunshineís driving clarinet on Savoy Blues where Barber takes an echt Kid Ory solo. Patterson is exuberant on Lonesome Road the excellence of which is enhanced by the simple but effective arrangement. Wonít You Come Home Bill Bailey is a feature for Sunshine and here Dick Smithís throbbing bass line offers hugely encouraging support. Halcox takes a cadenza in You Took Advantage Of Me richly redolent of Louis. In fact every track offers little felicities of one kind or another. The potential for comedy is not spurned, either, as Patterson demonstrates in that old pleaser, Moonshine Man.

The Dome, Brighton, concert of 1958 reinforces just how pervasively beneficial was the influence of Wilbur de Parisís band on Barber. This plurality of approach represented stylistic plasticity of a welcome kind, when bands were ploughing over-reverential or academic furrows on the British scene. Barberís band meanwhile managed to accommodate the gutsy tailgate of Ory, the floating fragility of George Lewis, the tensile driving trumpet of post-Armstrong derived players and the rhythmic dynamism of de Paris. At its very best the band built up an incontrovertible head of steam. Even now things such as Georgia Grind and Rockiní In Rhythm pack a real punch and make for exciting listening.

  Jonathan Woolf




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