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

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Old and New World Jazz Vibists 1937- 1955
Sagajazz 531 092-9



1. Honeysuckle Rose - Fats Waller and His Rhythm
2. A Wee Bit Of Swing - Timme Rosenkrantz and His Barrelhouse Barons
3. Flying Home - Lionel Hampton and The Spirits Of Rhythm
4. The Flat Foot Floogie - Slim and Slam
5. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me / I Can't Give You Anything But Love - Adrian Rollini Trio
6. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me - Red Norvo Trio
7. Japanese Sandman - Svend Asmussen and His Orchestra
8. Honeysuckle Rose - Ake Fagerlunds Orkester
9. Ich Hab'eine Schwache Fur Blonde Frau'n - Benny De Weille Quartett
10. Tutti Frutti - String Swing
11. La Vipère du Trottoir - Jean Ferret et Son Sixtette
12. Honeysuckle Rose - Harry Parry's Radio Rhythm Club Sextet
13. Don't Mention It - Flavio Ambrosetti Sextet
14. After You'Ve Gone - Jack Conner and His Orchestra
15. 'S Wonderful - Ernst Hollerhagen Quintet
16. Boogie Misterioso - Mary Lou Williams' Girl Stars
17. Honeysuckle Rose - Benny Goodman Sextet
18. Fugology - Hubert Rostaing et Son Sextette
19. Smokey Hollow Jump - The Be-Bop Boys
20. Hallelujah! - Thore Jederbys Orkester
21. Hallelujah! - Jack Diéval Quartet
22. I Remember You - Geo Daly Trio
23. Les Copeos - Christian Chevallier et Son Quartette
24. T and S - Terry Gibbs and His Orchestra

As a drummer, I often yearned to be a legitimate musician - playing an instrument with real notes. So I bought a vibraphone which I tried to learn, but it sat in the loft for years until I finally recognised my limitations and sold it! Yet I still love the instrument - for its resonant sound and the various ways it has been used by such masters as Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson, Gary Burton, Joe Locke and Stefon Harris.

Lionel Hampton is on this compilation of music by a variety of vibraphonists, as is Milt Jackson - the latter appearing with "The Be-Bop Boys" who also included Dizzy Gillespie masquerading as "Izzy Goldberg".

In some ways it is a strange compilation, including some unlikely choices and many vibes players who are virtually unknown. The tracks are not arranged chronologically (which would have been useful in charting the instrument's development). Lionel Hampton is represented by a 1940 small-group recording of his signature tune Flying Home but the collection could usefully have started with Lionel's 1930 record of Memories of You with Louis Armstrong - ostensibly the first time that jazz was recorded on the vibes.

The opening track is Fats Waller's oft-recorded Honeysuckle Rose, with a brief vibes solo from drummer "Slick" Jones, who was not exactly a virtuoso on the vibraphone. A Wee Bit of Swing has a more skilful vibes solo from trombonist Tyree Glenn. Both Slim Gaillard and Adrian Rollini were multi-instrumentalists, and tracks 4 and 5 include  good vibes solos from each of them.

I Can't Believe That You're in Love With Me from 1950 is by the marvellous trio that Red Norvo led with guitarist Tal Farlow and bassist Charlie Mingus. Norvo was one of the few musicians who played the vibraphone without using the vibrato effect created by the  spinning fans between each note and the resonating tubes beneath. We jump back to 1940 for Danish violinist Svend Asmussen's Japanese Sandman, with Kjeid Bonfils on jaunty vibes.

Pierre Lafargue, who selected the tracks for this compilation, seems to have a fixation with Honeysuckle Rose, which appears four times on the album. The vibes player with the Ake Fagerlunds Orkester from Stockholm only plays half a chorus of the song, but British vibist Roy Marsh is heard to better advantage on Harry Parry's interpretation of the tune. A young pianist called George Shearing was on this 1941 session. Johnny White plays vibes on the 1948 Benny Goodman Sextet version.

Another tune which occurs more than once is Hallelujah!, although the two versions are very different. Thore Jederbys Orkester gives it a bebop slant, while the Jack Diéval Quartet avoids stating the familiar theme and goes straight into a variation.

Despite its oddities, this CD offers an absorbing insight into various vibists, the different methods they have used and the sounds they created. There are quite a few unfamiliar names (many of them European) among better-known vibraphonists like Hazy Osterwald (playing with the very Goodmanish Ernst Hollerhagen Quintet); French percussionist "Fats" Sadi (with Christian Chevallier); and Terry Gibbs, who rounds off the album with an invigorating concert performance from 1952.

Tony Augarde





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