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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Humph and his European Friends

Lake LACD 276



With Jean-François Bonnel
1. Willie the Weeper
2. Chicago Buzz
3. Straight from the Wood
4. Cakewalkin' Babies from Home
5. Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me
6. East Coast Trot
7. Blues Galore

With Bent Persson
8. I'm Going Away Just to Wear You off My Mind
9. Southern Stomps
10. Blue Grass Blues
11. Room Rent Blues
12. Once in a While

With Pierre Atlan
13. Mandy Make up your Mind
14. Buddy's Habit
15. Beale St. Mama
16. Hotter Than That
17. It Makes My Love Come Down
18. Blame It on the Blues

Humphrey Lyttelton - Trumpet, clarinet (tracks 1-4, 6-9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17)
Jean-François Bonnel - Clarinet, soprano sax (tracks 1-7)
John R. T. Davies - Alto sax, baritone sax (tracks 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 11)
Jim Shepherd - Trombone (tracks 1, 3, 7)
Johnny Parker - Piano (tracks 1-7)
Paul Sealey - Banjo (tracks 1-18)
Tiny Winters - Bass (tracks 1-7)
Stan Greig - Drums (tracks 1-7, 13-18)
Bent Persson - Cornet (tracks 8-12)
Mac White - Clarinet (tracks 8-12)
Jens Lindgren - Trombone (tracks 8-12)
Keith Nichols - Piano, trombone (tracks 8-18)
Annie Hawkins - Bass (tracks 8-12)
Kenny Milne - Drums (tracks 8-12)
Wally Fawkes - Clarinet, soprano sax (track 12)
Martin Litton - Piano (track 12)
Pierre Atlan - Clarinet (tracks 13-18)
Graham Read - Tuba (tracks 13-18)


My father used to say that Humphrey Lyttelton's bands worked their way through the history of jazz - moving from revivalism to trad and thence gradually to mainstream and even "modern". By the 1980s, Humph had already reached his mainstream period, so it is surprising to find him here playing very much in trad style on sessions recorded in 1985 and 1987. Lyttelton slides back easily into the trad genre and makes a fine lead trumpeter on all the recordings, which put him with various European jazz musicians.

The first European guest was French clarinettist Jean-François Bonnel. He's a fairly ordinary clarinet player but he sounds remarkably like Sidney Bechet when he takes up the soprano saxophone for Cakewalkin' Babies. Humph switches to clarinet for his own composition, Straight from the Wood - an attractive clarinet duet with Bonnel. Several of the tunes are old trad warhorses, and this is a lively but not outstanding trad session.

The second guest was Swedish cornettist Bent Persson, with a band that included another Swedish jazzman: trombonist Jens Lindgren. The backing band sounds more stodgy than in the previous tracks but perhaps that was a deliberate result of following the classic King Oliver style. Humph's trumpet and Bent's cornet (why does that remind me of Dizzy Gillespie?) sound close to the classic recordings of King Oliver and Louis Armstrong, with a rather dated feel.

Leaving the last till best, the final guest was the virtuosic French clarinettist Pierre Atlan. The presence of tuba as well as banjo threatens to impose a rigid two-beat style, but Atlan's clarinet flows effortlessly over the rhythm, and Humph sounds entirely at ease. The pianists on this and the previous session (Keith Nichols and Martin Litton) deserve special mention for some sparkling solos.

Tony Augarde 

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