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



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BARRETT DEEMS

Deemus

Delmark DD 492

 

 


1. Deed I Do
2. New Orleans
3. Shine
4. After You've Gone
5. Seven Come Eleven
6. Six Appeal
7. I Love Paris
8. Get Happy

Barrett Deems - Drums
Chuck Hedges - Clarinet
Don DeMichael - Vibes
Steve Behr - Piano
Bob Roberts - Lead guitar
John Defauw - Rhythm guitar
Wilson McKindra - Bass

 

"You take some skins, jazz begins..." Thus Bing Crosby famously introduced Louis Armstrong's All Stars in the film High Society. The skins were beaten by Barrett Deems, a drummer who made his name with the All Stars in the mid-fifties, although he had already played for Joe Venuti, Red Norvo, Charlie Barnet and Muggsy Spanier. This reissued album from 1978 was his first recording as a bandleader, although he keeps a fairly low profile, mostly content to push the rhythm along.

In fact the real star of this album is clarinettist Chuck Hedges, who made his name in Chicago in the early fifties. Like Barrett Deems, Chuck played for Muggsy Spanier and he also toured with Wild Bill Davison, although he is less well known than he should be. He plays some beautiful solos on this CD. For instance, sample his calm theme statement and solo in New Orleans, where vibist Don DeMichael, guitarist Bob Roberts and pianist Steve Behr all make fine solo contributions.

Here and elsewhere on the album, Barrett Deems is not particularly prominent, although he trades eights with the front-line musicians on the ultra-fast Shine (whose speed makes the vibist sound uncomfortable) and gets a solo in After You've Gone, which starts intriguingly with a tentative Chuck Hedges accompanied only by drums.

The presence of clarinet and vibes makes for an understandable resemblance on some tracks to Benny Goodman groups, as in Seven Come Eleven and Six Appeal. I Love Paris and Get Happy are features for pianist Steve Behr and they sound rather disorganised. But perhaps these are the two previously unissued tracks added to the CD.

This is not a notably special album but it's a palatable, swinging session. Jazz begins...

Tony Augarde



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