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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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HUMPHREY LYTTELTON

Humph and his European Friends

Lake LACD 276

[75:31]

 

 

  1. Willie The Weeper
  2. Chicago Buzz
  3. Straight From The Wood
  4. Cakewalkin' Babies From Home
  5. Blues My Naughtie Sweetie Gives To me
  6. East Coast Trot
  7. Blues Galore
  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
  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 and clarinet) with Jean-François Bonnel (clarinet, soprano sax): John R T Davies (alto): Jim Shepherd (trombone): Johnny Parker (piano): Paul Sealey (banjo): Tiny Winters (bass): Stan Greig (drums); Bent Persson (cornet): Mac White (clarinet): John R T Davies (alto): Jens Lindgren (trombone): Keith Nichols (piano): Paul Sealey (banjo): Annie Hawkins (bass): Kenny Milne (drums): Wally Fawkes (clarinet and soprano sax): Martin Litton (piano): Pierre Altan (clarinet): Graham read (tuba): Stan Greig (drums)
Recorded 1985 and 1987


Humph took jaunts ‘back to his roots’ throughout the latter stages of his performing career; he even went back to the Bolden band for some archaeological-musicolgical Time Team spade work. I enjoyed it very much. In this latest Lake disc he joined a diverse group of confreres but it knuckles down to three: Pierre Atlan, Bent Persson and Jean-François Bonnel.

Recorded in 1985 and ’87, it was back to the 1920s throughout. With Bonnel it’s Chicago style, with the clarinettist’s Creole tone weaving warmly about the front line, or – where it sits out – just Humph. Chicago Buzz is an antiquarian’s delight with its tight breaks and fine ensemble virtues and corporate sense of identity – easily established one would have thought since Humph had ex band mates Johnny Parker and Stan Grieg on board. Interestingly and perhaps very surprisingly the bass player was Tiny Winters who went back right back, with Nat Gonella, to the glory days of the British Dance Bands and after hours jazz clubs. Humph joins Bonnel on a two clarinet front line during the session, and Bonnel’s soprano playing and Parker’s stomping solo on Cakewalkin' Babies From Home is pure pleasure. Clearly with John R T Davies’s alto in the front line, and Humph missing on Blues My Naughtie Sweetie Gives To Me, the Noone/Poston Apex Club days are being evoked.

Humph’s meeting with fellow brass player, cornetist Bent Persson, was fruitful. Annie Hawkins was the slapping bass player and Keith Nichols was the pianist. Once again Paul Sealey was the banjo player. Clarinettists Wally Fawkes and Mac White joined in, though separately. Don’t be deceived by a personnel typo – it’s the Persson band not the earlier one on Southern Stomps. And throughout the delineation of the Oliver-Armstrong evoked front line brass parts is studiously maintained. Which is not to say it’s at all studied: on the contrary this is often masterfully conceived playing. Note in particular the stop time trumpet chorus on Once in a While.

The final band featured Pierre Atlan. Nichols and Grieg and Sealey were in place. Graham Read played tuba which gives the session a heavier feel. Atlan was more influenced by Albert Nicholas than Noone or Dodds and his playing is articulate, full of typical Crescent City trills, and assured tone. He stretches out on Beale St Mama but this session doesn’t really take off, as the others did.

Here then is a slice of Humph in nostalgic mood, with three bands of varying personnel, getting back to basics in a commanding and uncompromised way.

Jonathan Woolf

 

See an additional review by Tony Augarde...

 



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