The Jazz Crusade Audio Sampler Catalog
JCCD-3010:  It Looks Like A Big Time Tonight -
Johnny Parker & British All-stars

Personnel: Johnny Parker [pn]Brian Carrick [cl], Geoff Cole [tb], Dave Copperwaite [tp], Sarah Spencer [tsx], Eric Webster [bn], Terry Knight [sbs], Taff Lloyd [dm]

Songs:  Martha, Sweet Fields, Where the River Shannon Flows, About A Quarter to 88, Song of the Islands, Down Home Rag, Under the Bamboo Tree, It Looks like A Big Time Tonight, Breeze, Love Nest, Margie, Mama Inez, Get Out of Here, Whatever Happened to Johnny Parker Blues.

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Reviews for:
JCCD-3010:  It Looks Like A Big Time Tonight -
Johnny Parker & British All-stars

Mississippi Rag - U. S. A.

This is the second of the "Best Of The Brits" series put out by Bill Bissonnette's Jazz Crusade label and features a group of established British New Orleans revivalists. The very fact this this is a "pick-up" group assembled solely for the recording is very much in its favour as the musicians are required to react more closely to each other's playing rather than simply perform well-rehearsed routines, particularly since there is a concentrator on ensemble work rather than a procession of solos. This gives the music a nice free-wheeling and relaxed feel throughout.
While all the musicians present play well, for me the outstanding performer is Sarah Spencer. Her tenor playing, obviously closely following the style of Emanuel Paul, bowls along throughout, and she provides some excellent solos as well as offering admirable support to the ensemble passages, somehow using the instrument as both part of the front line and the rhythm section.
Brian Carrick is probable one of the most popular George Lewis-influenced clarinetists in Britain at the moment, and his "sweet" playing provides an ideal counterpart to Sarah's slightly rough-edged tenor sax. The front line is completed by Dave Copperwaite's strong and simple lead (perfect for this sort of informal session) and the driving trombone of Geoff Cole, who has a long pedigree of playing with many of the best bands, including a long spell with Ken Colyer. The four-man rhythm section, propelled by the drumming of Taff Lloyd and the slapped bass of Terry Knight, provides sterling support and the bonus is the inclusion of Johnny Parker on piano. Parker's career goes back many years to the early days of the Humphrey Lyttleton band some 45 years ago. Illness had kept him from the scene for several years prior to this recording date, and the inclusion of the extended blues feature for him, entitled "Whatever Happened to Johnny Parker" is proof that the lay-off has not diminished his talents. Mention should be made of the unobtrusive but essential banjo of Eric Webster.
The selection of tunes is wide, ranging from the standard New Orleans titles such as "Sweet Fields" and the more unusual Latin rhythm of "Mama Inex", often associated with Kid Thomas, through to a boogie version of "About A Quarter To Nine", re-titled in honour of Johnny Parker, the Kid Ory composition "Get Out Of Here And Go On Home", and a gentle, and lengthy version of "Breeze". A favorite track is difficult to select but, if pushed, I would choose "Sweet Fields", which builds to an exciting climax, and the final Johnny Parker blues track, which gives each member of the group space to provide solos.
The recording quality, engineered by Dave Bennett, is good with fine balance. All in all, this album demonstrates very well that, if a collection of experienced musicians is gathered together in a relatively informal atmosphere, some excellent jazz will be produced. It is in the hands of players such as these that the British New Orleans style continues to develop. This disc can be readily recommended to anyone interested in the current scene on the east side of the Atlantic.
- Jeremy Brown


Jazz Journal International - British Jazz Magazine

This album is volume two in a series entitled Best Of The Brits. Best, that is, according to Bill Bissonnette's strict, purist appraisal of the ability of the chosen UK musicians to perform rugged, unrehearsed jazz in the Lewis/ Johnson/Robinson tradition. A high spot is the duet passage on Get Out Of Here with Bissonnette and Carrick, who contributes delicate, pensive clarinet throughout in the George Lewis idiom. Cole is the most colorful and accomplished musician, enriching the ensemble with his rhythmic poise and ear for harmony, and contributing fine muted solos on Song Of The Islands and Breeze. Copperwaite's lead is appropriately economical and restrained, but sometimes seems too tentative, and is overwhelmed in places by the more boisterous tenor and trombone. This may of course be a question of balance. It's a good rhythm section which does a sound job throughout, enhanced by the welcome inclusion of Johnny Parker, who demonstrates his skills as a veteran band pianisi with some effective and sensitive backing to the muted trumpet solo on Breeze. Nothing outstanding here for me, but nevertheless an enjoyable and authentic sounding album of purist New Orleans jazz, and certainly in the tradition. Bill was pleased.
- Hugh Rainey


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