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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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CY LAURIE

A Jazz Club Session

Lake LACD 284

 

 


1. Snake Rag
2. Old Fashioned Love
3. Forty and Tight
4. Up a Lazy River
5. Chinatown
6. Cakewalkin' Babies from Home
7. Sweet Georgia Brown
8. Ace in the Hole
9. Blue Blood Blues
10. Weary Blues
11. Jungle Blues
12. Alligator Hop
13. Wild Man Blues
14. King of the Zulus

Tracks 1-10
Cy Laurie - Clarinet
Dennis Field - Trumpet, vocals
Terry Pitts - Trombone
Hugh Rainey - Banjo
Peter Corrigan - Bass
Phil Franklin - Drums
Tracks 11-14
Cy Laurie - Clarinet
Colin Smith - Trumpet
Terry Pitts - Trombone
Ron Weatherburn - Piano
Wayne Chandler - Banjo
Stan Leader - Bass
Ernie O'Malley - Drums

 

This is the second volume of a compilation taken from recordings made at the Dancing Slipper club in Nottingham by resident sound engineer Allan Gilmour. The first volume was Lake Records' best-selling album by Cy Laurie, so enthusiasts will probably snap this up as well. Being taped at a club session means that the recordings have their faults, like the glitch which the sleeve-note acknowledges in the vocal on Ace in the Hole, where the volume seems to vary as well.

Nevertheless, the recordings capture the atmosphere of a jazz club. Cy Laurie, who died in 2002, formed his septet in 1951: well before the "Trad Boom" of the late fifties. He promoted his brand of revivalist jazz by running his own jazz clubs in London but then mysteriously went off to India in 1960 to study with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The recordings on this disc largely date from around 1968, after he had returned and re-formed his own band. His clarinet style emulated Johnny Dodds and he was a devotee of what was considered the authentic style of New Orleans rather than the newer "trad" sound.

However, this band sounds very like many other trad bands, and the repertoire includes such tried-and-trusted tunes as Snake Rag and Cakewalkin' Babies from Home. Laurie was not actually the strongest musician in his band - indeed, Sandy Brown described him as "inept but desperately sincere", although his playing here captures well the Johnny Dodds mood. Forty and Tight is a feature for Laurie with the rhythm section which displays his enthusiasm and his wide vibrato but also his sometimes dodgy intonation.

The stars of this album are actually trombonist Terry Pitts and trumpeter Dennis Field (although the latter's sub-Armstrong vocals are only of the passable nature of so many trad singers). Terry's trombone solo on Up a Lazy River flows as beautifully as a placid stream, and Dennis plays memorably on such tracks as Up a Lazy River and Blue Blood Blues. Banjoist Hugh Rainey contributes some worthwhile solos, notably on Sweet Georgia Brown.

The last four tracks date from ten years earlier and they were made for the Parlophone label. The recorded sound seems colder and more clinical than the warm ambience of the 1968 tracks. The repertoire is less adventurous, staying within the boundaries of the Morton, Oliver and Armstrong ambit, and the band is closer to revivalism than trad - concentrating on ensembles rather than solos. So trad fans may not like these four items as much as the others, although purists in the Ken Colyer mould will probably prefer them.

Tony Augarde



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