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

Classic Jazz Orchestra

Celebrating Satchmo




  1. Blues My Naughtie Sweetie Gives To Me
  2. Cornet Chop Suey
  3. When It's Sleepy Time Down South
  4. Atlanta Blues
  5. Song Of The Islands
  6. Wild Man Blues
  7. Down In Honky Tonk Town
  8. Ev'ntide
  9. Sweethearts On Parade
  10. I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues
  11. Among My Souvenirs
  12. Coal Cart Blues
  13. Mahogany Hall Stomp
  14. What A Wonderful World

Duke Heitger (trumpet) with Ken Mathieson's Classic Jazz Orchestra
rec. May 2008 [61:18]


Lake has recorded both Heitger and the Ken Mathieson's Classic Jazz Orchestra before. Here they've given life to 2008 tracks, previously unissued, that showcased the Toledo-born trumpeter essaying an Armstrong-focused programme. The results are enjoyable, crisp and very well played. The style I'd mark as Chicagoan - Wild Bill Davison would have fitted in here very nicely.

Armstrong never recorded Blues My Naughtie Sweetie Gives To Me but this Condon-style arrangement works well. Cornet Chop Suey was a locus classicus of Armstrong's early style, a daring and virtuosic break number that must have had contemporaries frazzled by his tone, technique and conception. The arrangement here has smoothed out its angularity and allows Heitger free reign. There's a nice piano interlude by Paul Kirby in When It's Sleepy Time Down South but otherwise it's Duke again, and he also sings, in the Armstrong ethos. The Heitger stop chorus on Atlanta Blues is well executed, though I could have done without the scat vocal on Song Of The Islands.

The band offers some engaging support. There's a good clarinet solo from Dick Lee on Wild Man Blues where he evokes rather more Jimmie Noone than Johnny Dodds. There's also an excellent baritone outing by Martin Foster on Sweethearts On Parade. There's a small band, quartet at work on Among my Souvenirs and elsewhere homage to the Armstrong-Bechet summit meeting in 1940 in a subtle recreation of their sound by arranger and leader Matthieson, who is that rara avis, a self-effacing drummer.

It's in fact Mathieson (and his band) who furnish the fabric for Heitger to exercise his versatility and shine. This is a nice set, in which Heitger evokes Armstrong's tone but doesn't slavishly attempt to replicate it or his playing too much - a forlorn task in any case. It's more a case of something having deeply enriched the bloodstream.

Jonathan Woolf

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