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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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A Break in the Lakes





  1. Royal Garden Blues
  2. Dr Jazz
  3. Beale St. Blues
  4. A Bientôt
  5. If I Had A Talking Picture Of You
  6. Double Check Stomp
  7. That Da Da Strain
  8. Together
  9. Shine
  10. Four Or Five Times
  11. Who Walks In When I Walk Out
  12. Blue And Broken Hearted
  13. Dans Les Rues D'Antibes
  14. Water From An Ancient Well

Jim Fryer (trombone, vocals)
Jeff Barnhart (piano, vocals)
George Huxley (clarinet, soprano and alto saxophones)
Gordon Whitworth (trumpet)
Brian Mellor (banjo, guitar, vocal)
Annie Hawkins (bass)
Nick Ward (drums)
rec. May 2009 at Carnegie Theatre and Arts Centre, Workington, Cumbria and May 2000, The Theatre By The lake, Keswick (Water From An Ancient Well)

It’s good to see that Lake has recorded another set by the band led by those two fine Americans, Jim Fryer and Jeff Barnhart. Once again Cumbria was the locale and a familiar group was assembled to mesh tightly together and run through a tried and tested repertoire.

One can always rely on a good swing from this group, an element established from the start with Royal Garden Blues which features solid all-round soloing. We get a pretty faithful arrangement of Dr Jazz, with Annie Hawkins’s staunch bass work to the fore and Barnhart’s vocal straddling the Jelly-Roll and Fats divide rather nicely. Tempo variation is always a good thing to bring to the mix, and the Beale Street Blues certainly qualifies, being taken at a jaunty up-tempo and graced by a nonchalant trombone solo, a good soprano sax entree and a Walleresque piano solo.

A Bientôt is a close cousin of Petite Fleur, a clarinet feature here flecked with a soupcon of Gallic tristesse. Barnhart’s piano solo here is a little reminiscent of the quasi-classical things that Fred Hunt used to do with Alex Welsh, and it’s equally attractive. I like the varied routines the band comes up with – the passage for trombone over piano, for instance, in That Da Da Strian and the way textures are resourcefully used, so that even standards don’t pall. Gordon Whitworth’s trumpet solo on this number really bites by the way.

Whitworth also takes a nice muted solo on Shine – though the Them There Eyes quote was not a good idea because it seems to infect the band (though it was probably a planned routine). Four or Five Times is taken at a relaxed tempo and the trio that ends the line-up consists of less well known songs. Whitworth plays from the Wild Bill Davison trumpet hymn sheet on Blue and Broken Hearted. The last song is a jaunty Bechet swinger. There’s also a bonus track recorded back in 2000, which sits at a tangent really from the programme. Fryer and Barnhart are alone here and they’ve supped from the well of Dollar Brand or Abdullah Ibrahim on this lovely song.

A most enjoyable set then, as ever splendidly recorded.

Jonathan Woolf

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