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



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The Lake Records All-Star Jazz Band – The Rosehill Concert
Gordon Whitworth (trumpet and vocal) Ian Bateman (trombone), John Hallam (clarinet and tenor saxophone), Jeff Barnhart (piano and vocal), Roy Cansdale (bass), Keith Stephen (guitar and banjo), Paul Adams (drums), special guest Duke Heitger (trumpet)
rec. Rosehill theatre, Moresby, Cumbria, May 2008 
LAKE LACD270
[49:30 + 59:56]

 

 



Washington & Lee Swing
Wolverine Blues
Our Monday Date
Hear Me Talkin’ To Ya
That’s My Home
Cottontail
Riverside Blues
High Society
There’ll Be Some Changes Made
Perdido Street Blues
Mr. Sandman
Texas Moaner Blues
Christopher Columbus
I Surrender Dear
Cakewalkin’ Babies From Home
Royal Garden Blues
Panama.

 

The Lake Records All-Star Jazz Band was born in 1991 as its drummer Paul Adams – eminence grise of Lake, one of the premier League saviours of the British mainstream and traditional markets – relates in his wry booklet notes. The twenty-fifth anniversary of the label gave him what he calls the perfect excuse to release a concert by the band at the Rosehill Theatre, Moresby, in Cumbria given in May 2008.

Plenty of players have appeared in the band over the years – the trumpet or cornet chair alone has been occupied by variously Pat Halcox, Sonny Morris and Alan Elsdon among many – so standards are high. This time there was a special guest, Ohio-born trumpeter Duke Heitger, who’s now strongly active in New Orleans and indeed internationally.

Upholding Lake’s ‘two-for-the-price-of-one’ we have the whole concert on two CDs, very well recorded (Adams is a recording engineer and producer). The repertoire is broadly Standard-Classic, the routines nicely worked out. There are a number of highlights from this easy swinging set so let me draw your attention to just a few. Firstly there’s the tailgate trombone of Ian Bateman, who sounds totally inside Washington and Lee Swing where American pianist Jeff Barnhart proves adept at supple and subtle support, and Barnhart’s duo colleague John Hallam offers mellifluous clarinet. This sets a fine start on the proceedings. Barnhart is known for his stomping, striding James P. Johnson-Fats Waller playing and evidence is forthcoming on Wolverine Blues where Hallam positively cooks and Bateman is not far behind with his buzzy tone. It takes time for trumpeter Gordon Whitworth to get into his stride. Riverside Blues gets a more explicitly blusier colouration than is usual and that’s good to hear – the two trumpet front line obviously replicates the Oliver-Armstrong one and does so with good ensemble.

Perdido Street Blues is a fairly straight rendition of the famous recording of it. Hallam shines, and there’s some down-home trombone and an enticing (it’s true) banjo solo from the virtuosic Keith Stephen. Heitger unleashes his stealthy Buck Clayton-like best on Christopher Columbus whilst Barnhart broadens the stylistic range with an intro reminiscent of Teddy Wilson on I Surrender Dear where his duet with Hallam reminds one a little of the duets Alex Welsh and Fred Hunt used to play. Royal Garden Blues is a real swinger and there’s a very Armstrong-doffing encore to end things on a high.

A most enjoyable concert then, and full of sprightly pleasure.
 

Jonathan Woolf
 

 

 

 



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