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



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WILL BRADLEY
and HIS OCTET

I'll Remember

SOUNDS OF YESTER YEAR DSOY885

 

 

1. Wherever You Are
2. Belita
3. Cotton Plaid
4. Las Muchachas
5. What A Happy Day
6. While Ages Roll
7. Busy Gettin' Dizzy
8. When There'S Only Me
9. Fuel For The Fiery Furnace
10. What A Wonderful Time `Twill Be
11. Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction
12. Cotton
13. Heaven This Is Heaven
14. Woogie-Wiggle-Boogie
15. The Easy Way
16. Melody From Mars
17. I've Waited For You
18. Never Leave Me
19. Glory Land
20. I Like The Old Time Way
21. Here On A Hill
22. Sad Spring
23. I'll Remember
24. Flat Top Special
25. He Knows The Way
26. I'Ve Made It Right
27. Stompin' With Selma

Will Bradley and his Octet; Billy Butterfield (trumpet); Will Bradley (trombone); Paul Ricci (alto sax, clarinet): Sal Amato (tenor sax); Stan Freeman (piano): Tony Mottola (guitar); Chubby Jackson (bass); Terry Snyder (drums)
rec. late 1950s [70:39]

 

There's more sweet than lowdown in this selection of 1950s sides by Will Bradley and his Jazz Octet. It took something for trumpeter Billy Butterfield to sound subdued but here one hears him subduing himself in the interests of band solidarity, and more gentle charms. In truth one has to dig hard for plums, but there are some around - and this position is, predicated, naturally on one being a jazz fan. If you like lightly salted small band dance music, you'll probably be well satisfied.

The plums? Well, there's a Latino feel to the electric guitar lead of Tony Mottola in Belita and a sense of jump band swing in Cotton Plaid where the temperature increases. Other efforts are less successful. The Revivalist Gospel style evinced by the band sounds slapstick for most of the time, but the straight ahead Dixieland offers are better - where Butterfield dons wa-wa mute and Paul Ricci stretches out on clarinet, as he does on Fuel for the Fiery Furnace. Undeniably Bradley, an old timer from pre-war Big Band days, lent an ear to Bop, because there's a very frivolously light flirtation with the genre on a couple of numbers. Predominantly though this is crowd pleasing, rather rootless music, anchored however by the estimable bassist Chubby Jackson and the rather less authoritative drummer Terry Snyder. The vibes player on Heaven this is Heaven and Melody from Mars has escaped the personnel listing.

Stan Freeman enjoys his piano boogie outings, the trombone leader Bradley plays functionally though he has a warm tone which is very likeable, even if his ideas are nothing to write home about. I suppose things are summed up by I Like The Old Time Way, a rinky-dink piece of cod Dixie, taken at a facetious tempo. Within it one hears Butterfield playing as if one hand is tied behind his back but Freeman displays some of his good Teddy Wilson pianism.  Even with the Artie Shaw evocations on Flat Top Special, much of this is mired in straight commercialism. You just want the fellers to break loose, but of course that's the point; they never could.

Jonathan Woolf



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