1. Bogalusa Strut
2. Darkness on the Delta
3. Lord, Lord, Lord
4. After You’ve Gone
5. Should I?
6. Rose Room
7. Just a Little While to Stay Here
8. Somebody Stole My Gal
9. The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise
1. St. Louis Blues
2. When My Dreamboat Comes Home
3. Ice Cream
4. Papa Joe’s Davenport Blues
5. In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree
6. I’m Alone Because I Love You
7. C-Jam Blues
8. Honeysuckle Rose
Big Bill Bissonnette – Trombone, vocals (vol. 1 track 8; vol. 2 tracks 1
Sammy Rimington – Clarinet, alto sax
Papa Joe Errington – Trumpet
Peter Nissen – Drums, leader
Leif Madsen – Clarinet, alto sax
Torben Kjaer – Piano
Henrik Stiigvad – Banjo, guitar
Holden Fogh – String bass
Recorded at the Jagersborg Hotel, Jagersborg, Denmark on Sep. 9, 1993.
When a performance is recorded on location rather than in a studio, certain
hazards with the sound quality loom, and they are not completely mitigated
here. No information is given in the CD booklet about the sound recording
provisions, and I would guess that the musicians were not individually
miked. Thus on some tracks the bass is over-recorded, and on others one
must strain a little to hear the trumpet. There is lack of balance and
separation on many tracks, seeming to indicate there was either no or
insufficient mixing. The result, unfortunately, is a good concert not
receiving the quality of recording it deserved.
The band on these discs, Peter Nissen’s New Orleans Jazz Band, is another
of those first rate bands out of Europe, in this case Denmark. It is not,
however, what I would classify as a New Orleans band, despite its name, as
there is no emphasis on ensemble work and there is a good deal on soloing.
It might be termed a good Dixieland band. The musicians all have something
to say and have the opportunity here to do so, although occasionally one
must lean in to hear it.
Papa Joe Errington’s trumpet playing, as Bissonnette says in the CD
booklet, clearly shows Erringon to be a disciple of Louis Armstrong. The
breaks he takes in After You’ve Gone (v. 1 #4), the opening
cadenza on Papa Joe’s Davenport Blues (v. 2 #4), both
suggest Armstrong, and while the coda on this latter tune is
Beiderbecke-like, the rest of the rendition is in the Armstrong vein.
Errington’s solos on most of the other tracks, where he delights in
exploring the upper register, executing small runs, and indulging fast
tonguing, all also illustrate the Armstrong influence.
The two reed players, Sammy Rimington and Leif Madsen, are in fine form.
They tend not to play the same instrument on a track but one plays clarinet
and the other alto sax, neither being identified as to horn. Each has
technique to spare, and they revel in all registers. Bissonnette’s trombone
playing is adequate, but I am not a fan of his singing.
The rhythm section is solid—no rushing, no dragging. Henrik Stiigvad, banjo
and guitar, as well as keeping flawless time expertly handles the solo over
the stop time of the rest of the group on the banjo players’ anthem: The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise (v. 1 #9). Holden Fogh on
string bass works in concert with Stiigvad and Torben Kjaer on piano to
provide a solid bottom for the front line. Kjaer is given a turn in the
spotlight being featured on C-Jam Blues (v. 2 #7), keeping a piano
boogie left hand going behind all of the other instruments as they solo in
turn. This track is a bit too long—interest dwindles—and could have
profited by having fewer choruses from each soloist. Lastly, leader Peter
Nissen’s drumming throughout is unobtrusive, his bass drum accents
suggesting the classic New Orleans drummers.
The band here, with Bissonnette substituting for its regular trombone
player and Rimington as an additional reed, plays some exciting jazz,
particularly when playing as an ensemble, especially on the choruses going
out where the level of excitement rises perceptibly and the audience picks
up on it, showing their approval with the rhythmic hand clapping so beloved
of the European audiences.
Standout tracks for me were When My Dreamboat Comes Home (v.2 #2)
and Papa Joe’s Davenport Blues (v. 2 #4). The former
starts with the trombone stating the melody and the clarinet providing
counterpoint, accompanied by the rhythm section, at a slow, relaxed tempo
that is maintained all through. They are joined then by the trumpet, and
after solos they begin the outchoruses with a crescendo of feeling,
Errington reaching for his highest notes, sweeping the rest of the
group—and the audience—with him.
The other commanding track, Papa Joe’s Davenport Blues,
is the trumpet feature in this set, where Errington states the melody, but
with some small improvisations around the edges. He stays in the mid to
lower registers, with quick fingering and the occasional growl, and the
entire track is given to him and Kjaer on piano. As I said earlier, this
interpretation is from the Armstrong perspective, not the Beiderbecke one,
except for the coda ritard, which is a nod to the composer, Bix.
So there it is—some very good jazz that could have been better recorded.
However, all things considered, these two CDs are worth having, and Upbeat
is to be applauded for reissuing them, keeping them available in its Jazz
Jazz Crusade CDs are available on the Upbeat web site www.upbeat.co.uk as well as from
on-line sites such as Amazon.ere