Norman Thatcher, Sonny Morris [tp], Norman Field [cl],
Dave Vickers [tb], Hugh Crozier [pn], Malcolm Hurrell
[bn], Terry Knight [sbs], Malc Murphy [dm]
Songs: Down In Jungle Town, Sobbin' Blues, When I Move
to the Sky [I'm Travelin'], Wolverine Blues, Buddy Bolden's
Blues, Pretty Baby, May the Circle Be Unbroken, Wabash Blues, Jada, Walk
through the Streets of the City, Ciribiribin, Sister Kate, Martha [Maizie]
A Tribute to the Original Crane River Jazz Band
by the Ken Colyer Trust Jazz Band
West Coast Rag - U. S. A.
Prior to forming his own combo, trumpeter Ken Colyer, one of the creators
of the British trad Dixieland style, recorded along with trumpeter Sonny
Morris in the Crane River Jazz Dand. In this splendid 65-minute March
1996 session, Morris joins forces with seven fellow Englishmen thoroughly
steeped in Colyer's righteous no-frills nearly-all-ensemble approach:
trumpeter Norman Thatcher, clarinetist Norman Field, trombonist Dave Vickers,
pianist Hugh Crozier, banjoist Malcolm Hurrell, string bassist Terry Knight
and drummer Malc Murphy.
While everyone plays his role to a T, the special quality of this music
is the uncanny ESP-like interplay between Morris and Thatcher, quite unlike
that of any other other two-trumpet front line I've heard. Most of the
time, each is playing something that could be a lead line on its own,
yet the two never get in each other's way, complementing each other perfectly.
Sometimes Morris, who I believe has the gentler attack, handles the melody
while the more incisive Thatcher improvises fils or jabs. Sometimes the
roles are reversed, with Morris favoring flowing arpeggiated lines. Sometimes
one is muted, the other not. Sometimes, amazingly, both wind up in loose
unison, and it still doesn't clash.
Perhaps the secret is that nobody here plays too many notes, giving the
thick barrelhousy ensemble enough room 10 breathe. In any event, sporting
a chugging compelling rhythm and an uncompromising integrity characteristic
of Colyer, this a rare delight, a truly distinctive album that stays firmly
within its idiom and satisfies every step of the way. Five stars, this
column's highest rating.
- Tex Wyndham
IAJRC Journal - U. S. A.
The Ken Colyer Trust New Orleans Jazz Band performs on this recording
in tribute to the Original Crane River Jazz Band which attempted to emulate
the black New Orleans jazz sound. The band pays tribute to the Cranes
and does not attempt to copy them, according to Big Bill Bissonnette's
album notes. This CD features great ensemble playing from the front line
and interesting contrapuntal support for the solos and melodic leads.
Hugh Crozier takes excellent piano solos and the rhythm section is very
solid with Malcolm Hur-rell playing fine rhythmic banjo, Terry Knight
plucking very well the bass strings, and drummer Male Murphy does everything
correctly, using all the accouterments of his drum set.
The tunes have been well selected. "Down in Jungle Town," the
opener, from 1908, immediately presents the listener with various elements
of the New Orleans sound with trombonist Dave Vickers doing his stuff
from the beginning backed by the steady rhythm section. In 1923, reedman
Art Kassel (leader of Chicago "sweet" dance and stage bands)
and drummer Vie Berton (manager of Bix Beiderbecke's Wolverines, beginning
in 1924) wrote "Sobbin' Blues." Since then there were numerous
recordings of it by such bands as King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band (Okeh
label), the New Orleans Rhythm Kings (Gennett), Ted Lewis' (Columbia),
Lew Brown's (Bluebird), Bunny Berigan's (Victor), and Artie Shaw and His
Strings (Brunswick). On this rendition of "Sobbin' Blues," clarinetist
Norman Field plays very good counterpoint behind the melodic line. "Wolverine
Blues" (1923) was written by Jelly Roll Morton along with, according
to some sources, the brothers Benjamin F. and John C. Spikes. It was recorded
by the^New Orleans Rhythm Kings (Gennett 5102, 1923); by Morton, on solo
piano (Gennett 5289, 1923-24) and by his Red Hot Peppers (Victor 21064,
June 10, 1927); and by Larry Clinton and His Orchestra (Victor, 25863).
Here, in a rendition that is more than seven minutes long, there is great
stride piano during several choruses followed by some lively playing by
the clarinet, Norman Thatcher's and Sonny Morris' trumpets and the trombone
in wonderful togetherness. In 1939, Morton copyrighted his "I Thought
I Heard Buddy Bolden Say," also known as "Buddy Bolden Blues,"
and here it is performed wonderfully with a fine piano solo and some nice
duet choruses from the trumpets. Another excellent trumpet duet is heard
on "Pretty Baby," a Tin Pan Alley tune that was introduced to
the public in 1915 through A World of Pleasure, a Broadway musical, and
it was interpolated by Dolly Hackett in The Passing Show of 1916, also
a stage musical. Subsequently, "Pretty Baby" was featured in
a dozen motion pictures. And the group does very well on "Wabash
Blues" which features a wonderful piano solo.
On this compact disc, the superb musical sounds, influenced by the Original
Crane River Jazz Band, are those associated with old New Orleans. This
CD is one of Jazz Crusade's better releases in recent years.
- George Borgman
AMG **** REVIEW - U. S. Jazz Guide
Although cornetist Ken Colyer passed away in 1988, his music has not
been forgotten, particularly in his native England, as shown on this CD.
Partly a reunion of Colyer alumni, partly a tribute to his Original Crane
River Jazz Band, the music would have pleased the cornetist. The emphasis
on this New Orleans jazz set is on ensembles; there are some fine short
solos, and the musicianship of this New Orleans-style group is excellent.
The front line (trumpeters Norman Thatcher and Sonny Morris, clarinetist
Norman Field and trombonist Dave Vickers) is both exciting and coherent,
while the four-piece rhythm section keeps the momentum flowing. Highlights
include "Down In Jungle Town," "Wolverine Blues,"
"Walk Through the Streets of the City," and "Sister Kate."
- Scott Yanow
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