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PETE ALLEN’S DUKES OF WELLINGTON

I Wish You Love

Upbeat URCD291

 

1. Weary Blues

2. I Wish You Love

3. Chrissie’s Calypso

4. My Old Rocking Chair

5. Moonlight in Vermont

6. I Can’t Begin to Tell You

7. On the Isle of Capri

8. As Time Goes By

9. Sidholme Boogie

10. St. James Infirmary Blues

11. Rosetta

12. In My Solitude

13. If I Had My Life to Live Over

14. Jazz Me Blues

Pete Allen – Clarinet, baritone sax, vocals (tracks 6 & 12)

Andy Dickens – Trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals (tracks 4, 10 & 13)

James Clemas – Piano, vocal (track 2)

Dave Hanratty – Bass

Richie Bryant – Drums

Recorded at the Music Room, Sidholme Hotel, Sidholme, Devon, U.K. on Oct. 3, 4, & 52, 2018.

The usual complement of the Pete Allen band is six or seven pieces, but on this disc we have subsets of the usual number, some tracks having a quintet, others a quartet or a trio. That makes for some variety, which is further enhanced by Allen’s switching to baritone sax and Dickens’ to flugelhorn on several tracks. The tune list also contributes to the diversity, there being a mixture of standards and some less familiar numbers, of slow and brisk tempi, of ballads, a piano boogie and even an original calypso instrumental. Additionally, about half of the cuts have vocals, all of this resulting in a fine mélange.

The three musicians who bear the greatest burden—Allen on reeds, Dickens on brass, and Clemas on piano—are well up to the task. Allen, whether on clarinet or baritone sax, is adept in all the ranges of these two instruments, as is Dickens on his, trumpet or flugelhorn. They complement each other on tracks where they are paired, rendering exquisite harmonies and counterpoints. Clemas is much given to runs, which he completes flawlessly, although images of flamboyant jackets and candelabras came to mind as I listened to Moonlight in Vermont and As Time Goes By.

After a rather loud opening on the first track—one which could have been tempered during mixing—Hanratty’s bass is modulated to an appropriate volume level. His playing is very supportive and, when he takes a solo ( Moonlight in Vermont) or breaks (Chrissie’s Calypso), very stimulating. Bryants’s drumming is solid throughout, always tasteful, never too loud. His Latin beat on Chrissie’s Calypso is driving and exciting, his brush work on Moonlight in Vermont superb, to cite just two examples. And the rhythm section as a whole maintains tempi admirably, never rushing or dragging.

The musicianship is stellar and the program both interesting and entertaining, although other than the first and last tracks and a few in between, the jazz content is a bit on the slim side. However, no one can deny that there is an abundance of good music here—careful and rich arrangements, an appropriate number of pleasing vocals, all rendered by seasoned professionals. It all adds up to a satisfying listening experience.

Upbeat CDs are available on the Upbeat web site www.upbeat.co.uk as well as on-line from sites such as Amazon and CD Universe.ere

Bert Thompson


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