The Jazz Crusade Audio Sampler Catalog
JCCD-3029: At the 100 Club - Johnny Parker with Ken Colyer

Personnel:  Johnny Parker [pn], Ken Colyer [tp], Alan Cooper, Wally Fawkes [cl], Graham Stewart [tb], Jim Bray [sbs], Dave Evans [dm], Diz Disley [g]

Songs:  Careless Love, Pork Chops, Down Among the Sheltering Palms, Buddy Bolden's Blues, Canal Street Blues, Down Home Rag, Georgia Grind, Hindustan, Ballin' the Jack, Fidgety Feet.

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Reviews for:
JCCD-3029: At the 100 Club - Johnny Parker with Ken Colyer

Mississippi Rag - U. S. A.

Taped at an informal session held in London's 100 Club in June 1984, this recording presents a rare view of legendary British trumpeter Ken Colyer four years before his death at age 59. A strong adherent of the New Orleans Revival styles of the early '40s, Colyer seems to have favored Bunk Johnson, Mutt Carey and Kid Thomas above all others, and indeed went on to an illustrious career after assuming leadership of the Chris Barber band in 1953. Pianist Johnny Parker is the nominal leader on this date, and his Morton-infused playing peppers all of the performances., while the Ory-inspired trombone of Graham Stewart and Alan Cooper's gritty-toned clarinet not only round out Colyer's lead in the ensembles but also make their own solo contributions. Bassist Jim Bray and drummer Dave Evans provide the empathtic foundation throughout, but special mention should be made of guest stars Wally Fawkes on clarinet and guitarist Diz Disley.
Unlike so many British Trad recordings of the early years, which gave rise to unceasing complaints of rhythmic stiffness and sycophantic mimicry, this session reveals a previously undetectedd sense of relaxation within the idiom, a feeling that the soul of the music had finally taken root.
- Jack Sohmer


American Rag - U. S. A.

When British pianist Johnny Parker learned that his musical companion from 1957-67, trombonist Graham Stewart, would be making a short return trip to London in 1984, he contacted some first-call names on the British trad scene and lined up a week's work for the band. With one of the founders of British trad, trumpeter Ken Colyer, scheduled for the June 10 gig at London's venerable 100 Club, arrangements were made to record the doings, 70 minutes of which appear on this CD.
This buoyant, swinging sextet jells as if it had been playing for years, Colyer's spare, clear-toned lines holding everything right in place and the no-nonsense rhythm team of Parker, bassist Jim Bray and Dave Evans developing a formidable momentum as the rides unfold. Clarinetist Wally Fawkes (three of the ten tunes) and guitarist Dis Disley (one) sat in to positive effect, especially on the two-clarinet passages in "Ballin1 The Jack."
It is not stated whether the tunes are heard in the order played. The first six are topnotch listening, sporting assured ensembles and take-no-prisoriers rhythm. However, trouble srarts when clarinetist Alan Cooper, super on the first four cuts, returns to the stage after two guest spots by Eawkes. Perhaps he is in a mood for a clarinet duel, maybe had a few too many during trie break, or who knows?, but Cooper seldom stops playing for the rest of the album, pushing the performances out of shape and becoming rather an annoyance in the process.
There is much to like here, but after listening to Cooper trample all over solid solos by Colyer and Parker, both of whom are having very good days, not to mention Cooper's detractions from Stewart's most creditable contributions, I had subtracted a few stars by closing time. Conversely, having suffered through a number of recent CDs offering atrocious fidelity on previously unissued material by the late great Colyer, I'm grateful to discover his under-stated-but-authoritative presence in fine form on unheard sides by a well-recorded band that really cooks. Three stars overall; Colyer buffs will rate it more highly.
- Tex Wyndham


AMG **** Review - U. S. Jazz Guide

Norman Thatcher, a superior trad jazz trumpeter whose style sometimes mixes Ken Colyer with Bunk Johnson, shows off the surprising influence of Bix Beiderbecke on several of the numbers (including "Sorry," "I'm Coming Virginia" and "Louisiana") on this 1997 quintet set. Teamed up with four complementary players (the versatile John Wurr on clarinet, alto and baritone, pianist Hugh Crozier, banjoist Sarah Roofe and Steve Davis on tuba), Thatcher and his excellent group explore such other numbers as "A Porter's Love Song," "Hilarity Rag," "Dardanella" and even "Good Night Sweetheart." The music is played with spirit, swing and creativity within the New Orleans jazz idiom. Well worth searching for.
- Scott Yanow


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