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



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GARVIN BUSHELL & FRIENDS

One Steady Roll

Delmark DE 250

 

 


1. Sweet Chorus
2. Memories of You
3. Blues for the Twentieth Century, Part 1
4. Blues for the Twentieth Century, Part 2
5. I Never Knew
6. Willow Tree
7. I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
8. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)
9. My Daddy Rocks Me (With One Steady Roll)
10. I Want to be Happy
11. Si Tu Vois Ma Mère (I Remember When)

Garvin Bushell - Clarinet, bassoon
Richard Hadlock - Soprano sax
Ray Skjellbred - Piano
Stu Wilson - Bass
John Markham - Drums
Leon Oakley - Cornet (tracks 5, 9, 10)
Barbara Lashley - Vocals (tracks 2, 6, 8)
Alan G. Hall - Arrangements (tracks 1, 6, 8, 11)

History is embedded in this album - not just because it is a 1982 recording dug out of the archives but because it features clarinetist Garvin Bushell, a man who seems to have lived through much of jazz history. Garvin was born in 1902 and died in 1991. He played not only with the bands of Fletcher Heperson, Cab Calloway and Chick Webb; he also performed with such musicians as John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy and Gil Evans. As part of the quartet called the Louisiana Sugar Babes (with James P. Johnson, Fats Waller and Jabbo Smith), he played some of the first recorded jazz bassoon in 1928. His instruments also happened to include the alto sax, flute and oboe.

On this CD, he can be heard soloing on bassoon in I'm Getting Sentimental Over You and I Want to be Happy - not bad for an 81-year old! The session was actually set up and led by soprano saxist Richard Hadlock, who had been a clarinet pupil of Bushell's. His soprano and Bushell's clarinet blend mellifluously, conjuring up echoes of Sidney Bechet playing with Mezz Mezzrow.

Hadlock is actually featured at least as much as Bushell, and they are backed by a workmanlike band in which pianist Ray Skjellbred and cornettist Leon Oakley are outstanding. Barbara Lashley adds vocals to three tracks, but her singing is rather mannered and I would have preferred an entirely instrumental album. All the same, this is an engaging opportunity to hear a man who is almost legendary in jazz history. No wonder he called his autobiography Jazz from the Beginning.


Tony Augarde



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