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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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KB HALLEN

Hall of Fame

Stunt STUCD 12132

 

 

CD1

1. For Europeans Only - Don Redman Orchestra, 1946

2. Big Daddy Blues - Louis Armstrong All Stars with Velma Middleton, 1952

3. Basin Street Blues - Louis Armstrong All Stars. 1952

4. The Champ - Dizzy Gillespie, 1953

5. I Can’t Get Started With You - Dizzy Gillespie, 1953

6. Dancing On The Ceiling - Oscar Peterson Trio, 1953

7. Seven Come Eleven - Oscar Peterson Trio, 1953

8. Concerto to End All Concertos - Stan Kenton Orchestra, 1953

9. Willow Weep For Me - Stan Kenton Orchestra with June Christy, 1953

10. Perdido - Count Basie Orchestra, 1954

11. Blues Backstage - Count Basie Orchestra, 1954

12. Lover Come Back To Me - Woody Herman and his Third Herd, 1954

13. These Foolish Things - Woody Herman and his Third Herd, 1954

14. Lemon Drop - Woody Herman and his Third Herd, 1954

15. Shulie A Bop/Summertime - Sarah Vaughan, 1954

16. Old Devil Moon - Sarah Vaughan, 1954

17. Port-O-Rico - Illinois Jacquet Orchestra, 1954?

CD2

1. Robbins Nest - Illinois Jacquet Orchestra, 1954

2. Undecided - Mary Lou Williams Trio, 1954

3. Body And Soul - Coleman Hawkins Quartet, 1954

4. How High The Moon - Lionel Hampton Orchestra, 1954

5. Hey Ba Ba Re Bop - Lionel Hampton Orchestra, 1954

6. Hamp’s Boogie Woogie - Lionel Hampton Orchestra, 1954

7. Wonderful Copenhagen - Dave Brubeck Quartet, 1958

8. Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue - Duke Ellington Orchestra, 1958

9. My Funny Valentine - Duke Ellington Orchestra, 1958

10. Roll ‘em Pete - Count Basie Orchestra with Joe Williams, 1959

11. Whirly Bird - Count Basie Orchestra, 1959

12. Original Dixieland One Step - Kid Ory and his New Orleans Jazzband, 1959

13. Blues March - Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, 1959

14. Nellie Bly - Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, 1959

 

It was a sad day for Denmark when the KB Hallen in Copenhagen burnt down in 2011. Since 1938 it had been the venue for sports events as well as concerts. It was an important place for jazz performances in the 1950s, and this double album contains 31 examples of music from that decade, with one from 1946.

The 1946 track is by Don Redman’s orchestra. Redman is probably best known as a member of, and arranger for, the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra and McKinney’s Cotton Pickers. But the opening track on the first CD has him leading a band which he assembled to tour Europe in 1946. They play For Europeans Only by Tadd Dameron, one of bebop’s pioneers. Don Byas contributes a swirling tenor sax solo.

The hall’s acoustics add extra resonance to all the tracks on the album. The recorded tapes have apparently been “cleaned up”, although the volume varies from track to track and the sound even seems to rise and fall in such pieces as Big Daddy Blues, performed with crowd-rousing gusto by Louis Armstrong’s All Stars. Louis’ group also performs Basin Street Blues, where the vocals are again taken by Velma Middleton (although the sleeve-notes think it is Jack Teagarden, who actually plays some typically melodious trombone solos).

The sound on Dizzy Gillespie’s The Champ is fuzzy, but Gillespie’s lack of inhibition comes through clearly. Drummer Al Jones thrashes Dizzy’s favourite Chinese cymbal, and singer Joe Carroll joins Gillespie in some scatting. The delicate Oscar Peterson tracks come from a 1953 Jazz at the Philharmonic tour.

From the same year but rather different, Stan Kenton’s Concerto to End All Concertos alternates between subtle and brash, with several changes of tempo. Count Basie’s band swings as expected, with a tasty flute solo from Frank Wess on Perdido. The Basie band reappears on the second CD, with Joe Williams vocalising on Roll ‘em Pete and Neal Hefti’s Whirly Bird as a reminder of the band’s best-ever album, The Atomic Mr Basie. Woody Herman’s Third Herd also swings, especially in Lemon Drop, which has a scatted vocal chorus by the band and a fluent baritone sax solo from Jack Nimitz. The last three tracks on the first CD (featuring Sarah Vaughan and Illinois Jacquet) come from a JATP tour in 1954.

Illinois Jacquet is featured again at the start of the second CD, soloing eloquently on Robbins Nest. Coleman Hawkins repeats his memorable recording of Body and Soul. Then things hot up with three tracks from Lionel Hampton’s band. How High the Moon is a nicely balanced vibes solo but the other two tracks are closer to rhythm-and-blues, with Hamp stoking up the excitement. The Dave Brubeck Quartet pays homage with Wonderful Copenhagen to the city where they are playing. Paul Desmond’s alto solo is well-mannered, and Brubeck’s piano solo also shows subtle restraint.

When the next track started, I knew without looking at the record sleeve that it was the Ellington band. Nobody else sounds quite like this marvellous organization. Their first number is the longest track on the album: nearly 12 minutes of tenorist Paul Gonsalves ecstatically recalling his triumph at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival with numerous choruses on Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue. Duke’s other offering is My Funny Valentine, a fairly unremarkable track, although it is lit up by Jimmy Hamilton’s impeccable clarinet.

Kid Ory and Red Allen are spotlit in The Original Dixieland One Step. The CD ends with two eight-minutes-plus performances by Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. I particularly like their Blues March, which has always struck me as an ideal vehicle for invigorating jazz solos, with its vamp driving the musicians along.

Despite the variable sound quality, this album is well worth getting, as it supplies many previously-unreleased tracks by some top jazz people.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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