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

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60 Years of Jazz




Sugar – Josh Berman and his Gang

That’s A Plenty – Dewey Jackson

Curly Top – Nicole Mitchell

Lover (alternative take) – Eddie Lockjaw Davis

Mr PC – Ernest Dawkins

Along Came Betty – Ira Sullivan presents the Jim Holman Trio

Spiral Mercury – Rob Mazurek Pulsar Quartet

Love Walked In – Red Holloway

Crumb-Puck-U-Lent – Kahil El’zabar’s Ritual Trio

Bees – Jason Adasiewicz’s Sun Rooms

Four – Sonny Stitt

The Stampede - The Fat Babies

Recorded 1947-2013 [67:11]


Delmark, based in Chicago, is the child of Bob Koester, its founder, and has released a splendid sequence of discs over 60 years. Its CD catalogue is printed at the book of the booklet of this celebratory taster disc. The discs range from Jim Robinson to Roscoe Mitchell via Wally Rose and Cecil Payne – and plenty more besides. Koester likes what he likes and this is reflected in such a wide-ranging collection of discs – more power to him for bringing into his net Joseph Jarman and Art Hodes, Anthony Braxton and Ted Sirota’s Rebel Souls. Blues abounds in Delmark’s world alongside cutting edge and Roots.

This disc is really only a taster, with most of the twelve tracks coming from the more recent parts of the catalogue. The most discographically interesting cut is the alternative take of Lockjaw Davis’s Lover, made in 1947, to be released during 2014 in an album called Honkers and Bar Walkers . So this is a taster of what’s to come. Sonny Stitt’s Four was recorded in 1969 and Dewey Jackson’s That’s A Plenty comes from 1952. This last – a touch messy but live – is a righteous old-time number.

Elsewhere we find Josh Berman and his Gang deconstructing Sugar with an admixture of Bop and Condon hues, flautist Nicole Mitchell’s slick, virtuosic Curly Top and Coltrane’s Latino swinger Mr PC played by tenor player Ernest Dawkins. All these are recent Delmark releases. Ira Sullivan, another tenor player, plays a slow and fluent Along Came Betty and the more contemporary Delmark vibe comes via Rob Mazurek’s Pulsar Quartet whose Spiral Mercury is graced by some cornet flurries. One of the superior cuts is Red Holloway’s Love Walked In, a classic swinger with Chris Foreman’s meatily supportive organ. Jason Adasiewicz’s Sun Rooms is a vibes trio stronger on sonic allure than pure improvising, whilst The Fat Babies dust down Fletcher Henderson’s The Stampede with stylistic nicety.

Nothing here is startling, either in terms of archivally digging out important never-before-released tracks (the Lockjaw Davis being an alternative to an already issued track) or in terms of far-out programming. One can understand Delmark wanting to push its more recent catalogue but it does at least nod toward its origins with those early sides. It’s certainly a label to support and to cherish.

Jonathan Woolf

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