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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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British Traditional Jazz

At a Tangent Vol. 1




The Christie Brothers Stompers
Golden Striker
One Hour
The Glory Of Love
Five Years Later
The Keith Christie Quartet
Kenny Baker's Half Dozen
Oh Baby!
The Dick Heckstall-Smith Quartet
Out Of Nowhere
Aunt Hagar's Blues
Four Or Five Times
Pennies From Heaven
Pat Hawes and his Band
Wabash Blues
Blues For The Midgets
Happy And Satisfied
Taps Miller
Lullaby Of The Leaves
A Smooth One
The Dave Carey Band
Blue Lou
I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling
The Bertie King Jazz Group
Once Upon A Time
The Tony Coe Quintet
Bali Ha'i
Sans Humph

Recorded 1955-58 [77:49]


As Lake's Paul Adams notes, this isn't another volume in the company's three-CD British Traditional Jazz-A Potted History release [LACD3000] but is more in the way of a first supplement to explore other highways and indeed byways of the genre. This first volume delves into recordings of `mould breakers'. Thus we have players who moved from traditional to the mainstream, and those who embraced modernism, and things of that sort. Most of the discs are making first-ever CD incarnations. Lake could earn itself bonus points for making clear in its personnel and discography what has never before been released. Too modestly, it hides its light.

The Christie Brothers Stompers get things underway with that versatile stylist Dickie Hawdon leading on trumpet. Playing Golden Striker makes one aware of the internal fault lines between clarinettist Ian Christie's eloquent traditionalism and the more modernist playing of Hawdon and trombonist Keith Christie. A typo converts (If I could be with you) One Hour to One House. It's taken at a nice, relaxed tempo and Keith Christie takes a Teagarden-like cadenza without sounding now that much influenced by him, as he had been earlier in his career. Hawdon shows what a sterling lead he is on Five Years Later. Keith Christie joins with John Dankworth, bassist Bill Sutcliffe and drummer Allan Ganley for a single track, Cottontail, taken from Christie's album of Ellingtonia. Skeletal backing harmonies enhance this one, where Christie plays muted and Dankworth is highly articulate. Christie also features on Kenny Baker's track, Oh Baby, where pianist Derek Smith comps ably and drummer Phil Seamen powers things along explosively.

Dick Heckstall-Smith's soprano sax dominates the four tracks his band plays. Though the notes mount a case for him being very much his own man he is very immersed in Sidney Bechet's lexicon. His pianist, Dave Stevens, is a big Earl Hines fan. They could have played Blues in Thirds to advantage but prefer a quartet of standards. Pat Hawes was a long-time stalwart of the British scene. His band is accorded seven tracks. The standout player was trumpeter Ken Reece, whilst trombonist Pete Webb had too woolly a tone and played too much on the beat. Harry Salisbury was a utilitarian clarinettist and but as a tenor saxist he shows he'd been listening to Lester Young. Hawes himself mines some Basie tropes in Taps Miller and Teddy Wilson ones in Lullaby of the Leaves. It's good to hear the terrific Bertie King, who joins Dave Carey's Band (with Hawes once again playing piano) as he lays out his Benny Carter-inspired wares. Trumpeter Johnny Rowden impresses in I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling: fine, clean lead. King's own band was an all-star one that pulled in all sorts of stylistic directions but convened with unanimous musicality: Harry Klein on baritone, Kenny Baker leading, George Chisholm on trombone, and Dill Jones, piano, Cedric West, guitar, Frank Clark, bass and Eddie Taylor, drummer, providing outstanding support. One Upon a Time is played in relaxed fashion. Finally, two tracks by Tony Coe's band, which was a segment of Humphrey Lyttelton's band, without the leader, and thus had a clarinet and trombone frontline.

I greatly enjoyed this cleverly programmed disc, which has been outstandingly transferred and annotated.

Jonathan Woolf

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