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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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CHRIS BARBER'S JAZZ BAND

There Were Some Changes Made.
1961-65

LAKE LACD 305

 

 

  1. Weary Blues
  2. Come On Coot & Do That Thing
  3. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams
  4. All Of Me
  5. Black & Tan Fantasy
  6. Jazz Lips
  7. Original Charleston Strut
  8. Eh La Bas
  9. Some Of These Days
  10. Crying For The Carolines
  11. Blue Blood Blues
  12. Yellow Dog Blues
  13. I Never Shall Forget
  14. Petite Fleur
  15. Shout `em Aunt Tillie
  16. Georgia Swing 
  17. There'll Be Some Changes Made
  18. Bye And Bye
  19. Jeeps Blues
  20. Sideways
Chris Barber's Jazz Band
rec.1961-65 [68:24]

 

Monty Sunshine left Chris Barber's band at the end of 1960 and his replacement was Ian Wheeler. The newly constituted band recorded the following year, and the results can be heard in this disc which charts the band's course between 1961 and 1965. Their superbly springy swing was unimpeded, of course, by the personnel change and they still generated plenty of heat. The front line harmonising behind solos was as astute as ever.

These twenty tracks enshrine plenty of fine things. Weary Blues gets an up tempo swinging treatment, only to be hobbled by drummer Graham Burbridge's poor cymbal work behind Pat Halcox's solo. I assume it was Barber who chose the Coot Grant number Come On Coot & Do That Thing which had been recorded back in 1925 by Fletcher Henderson's band, which had Louis Armstrong on board. Barber was a canny operator when it came to classic material, and he still is an archivist of distinction in that sense. Talking of Halcox, his showcase work on Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams shows how rich toned he was at the lower end of his register, as well as illustrating how well he had absorbed Louis's influence, and indeed Bunny Berigan's too. I assume he also listened to Ruby Braff.

Wheeler is an asset throughout, driving on alto, and fluid, fluent and soaring on clarinet. The former instrument is his feature on All Of Me where the rawness has a touch of Cap'n John Handy - elsewhere he can sound like Johnny Hodges more than Sidney Bechet. His Ed Hall influenced clarinet work can best be gauged on Eh La Bas though here banjoist Eddie Smith engages in some over-ripe quotations. Incidentally I've always known the tune as Eh La Bas, but the booklet prints El La Bas, which can't be right. Ellingtonia rightly features. Barber and his band were good at slow, deliberate tempi and variations of dynamics, so they give life and vibrancy to the performances That old favourite, Crying For The Carolines, meanwhile gets a truly outstanding arrangement and sounds perfect.

After Sunshine left, his big hit, Petite Fleur, was made over as a trombone feature for the leader.  It works. The personnel details don't reflect the fact that tenorist Tony Coe is on hand to duet with Wheeler on There'll Be Some Changes Made - one of the live tracks here.  Bye And Bye gets the righteous down home New Orleans treatment, naturally, and John Slaughter, excellent electric guitarist, can be heard on one track, in a band move that points firmly to the future.

This fine album will awaken many memories, I'm sure, and stands the test of time very well.

Jonathan Woolf    



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