Personnel: (band 1) George
Lewis [cl], Percy Humphrey [tp], Big Jim Robinson [tb], Alton Purnell
[pn], Lawrence Marrero [bn], Alcide “Slow Drag” Pavageau [sbs], Joe Watkins
[dm]; (band 2) Bunk Johnson [tp], Sister Ernestine Washington [v], George
Lewis [cl], Big Jim Robinson [tb], Alton Purnell [pn], Lawrence Marrero
[bn], Alcide Pavageau [sbs], Warren Baby Dodds [dm]; (band 3) Richard
M. Jones [pn], Bob Schoffner [tp], Darnell Howard [cl], Preston Jackson
[tb], John Lindsay [sbs], Warren Baby Dodds [dm]; (band 4) DeDe Pierce
[tp], Billie Pierce [pn,v], Willie Humphrey [cl], Louis Nelson [tb], Chester
Zardis [sbs], Cie Frazier [dm]
Songs: (band 1) At A Georgia Camp Meeting, Chimes Blues, (band
2) The Lord Will Make A Way Somehow, Where Could I Go But to the Lord,
Does Jesus Care? 1 & 2, God’s Amazing Grace (band 3) 29th & Dearborn 1
& 2, New Orleans Hop Scop Blues 1 & 2, Jazzin’ Babies’ Blues, Canal Street
Blues (band 4) Swanee River, Salle Dame, Every Woman’s Blues, Eh! La Bas,
Careless Love, Honky Tonk Town.
Rare Cuts - Well Done Volume 1
Jazz Gazette - Belgium
This is the first of what hopefully will become a series of tasty compilations
of New Orleans music. We might also call them gap fillers. Here are four
different sessions recorded at four different places: New Orleans, New
York, Chicago and Copenhagen!
We start with a session recorded at Artisan Hall in New Orleans in 1952
by the George Lewis Band. After Coo Coo Talbert's death, Percy Humphrey
had become the regular trumpet player with the band. Because of Percy's
day job as an insurance agent he was unable to travel with the band and
George turned to Kid Howard, the rest is history. Anyway it's fine to
hear Percy's glorious trumpet on these two tracks. It's nice to hear Louis
Armstrong's original solo on "Chimes Blues" recorded with King
Oliver in 1923 (in fact Louis' first recorded solo!) played here by the
It's interesting to hear the famous Bunk Johnson band in a supporting
role with gospel singer Ernestine Washington. Bunk was in great shape
for this session and leads the band on the ensemble choruses with remarkable
authority. Notice also how well Alton Purnell captured the gospel mood.
Up to Chicago for a session led by pianist/composer Richard M. Jones.
Four of the six band members originated from New Orleans. The two others
had captured the New Orleans style of playing extremely well. Small wonder
when we know that trumpeter Bob Shoffner, who came from Tennessee, had
worked with King Oliver for several years and also with Charles Elgar.
The same can be said about Darnell Howard, who was born in Chicago. He
too played with Oliver and Elgar. His violin like sound on the clarinet
(Darnell also played violin!) is a joy to hear on these six tracks. These
recordings also show what a great trumpet player Bob Shoffner was. The
stars of this session must be trombonist Preston Jackson and ace drummer
Baby Dodds. Preston, who ended his career back home again at Preservation
Hall, solos on every track with great gusto and immaculate taste. Baby's
work on the drums is perfectly captured and shows him at his very best.
Listen, for instance, to the way he accompanies Jones' piano solos. That's
New Orleans drumming! John Lindsey, who played trombone with the Armand
Piron band in the twenties, was the perfect rhythm mate for Baby. When
we look at the recordings New Orleans musicians made in Chicago, we see
that the blues played a more important part in the repertory than in New
Orleans. The four different numbers are all blues, slow, medium-slow and
The last session, recorded on tour in Copenhagen features that lovely
couple from New Orleans, Billie and DeDe Pierce. The sound is not really
hi-fi but, by all means, much better than on the LP issue on Rarities.
This was the tour that started out with George Lewis on clarinet, but
George became sick and Willie Humphrey came over to replace him. He was
a worthy replacement as these recordings show. What a marvelous sound!
For me Billie & DeDe represent the best in New Orleans jazz: simplicity,
honesty and real artistry. Any recording by these two deserves a place
in every New Orleans collection. This one is no exception.
- Marcel Joly
Boxell's Jazz Website
This CD is made up of musically and historically important recordings
that are not all available elsewhere. The George Lewis tracks are from
1952, the Bunk and Sister Ernestine are from 1946, the jazz Wizards from
1944 and the Pierces from 1967. With such a widespread timeframe the quality
of the recordings vary considerable with some of the earlier tracks being
of better quality than the later ones!
This is an important CD to me if only for the Bunk Johnson tracks, of
which I have a dearth. It was also important to me to have George Lewis'
'Chimes Blues'. It is generally recognized that George was a great influence
on the British revivalist of the late 40's, 50's and early 60s. I have
many versions of 'Chimes Blues' from early 50s Ken Colyer and Chris Barber
versions to a 90s version by New Zealand's own Vintage Jazz Band. It is
nice to see how they all compare. There is some very interesting pieces
here, and I must agree with Jazz Crusade's Big Bill Bissonnette that the
Jazz Wizard session is just lovely jazz and that they are a fantastically
competent jazz band with baby Dodds being truly amazing. Now if only I
can find some more of their material...
- Geoff Boxell
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