Jazz Crusade Audio Sampler Catalog
JCCD-3083: Tony Pyke/Cuff Billett - "Can't We Be Friends?"
Personnel: Tony Pyke [reeds], Cuff Billett [trumpet], Alan Dandy [piano], Andy Lawrence [string bass], Johnny Baker [drums]
Love Song, St. Louis Blues, Squeeze Me, Blue Skies, Can't We Be Friends,
Weary Blues, Sweet & Lovely, Rip 'Em Up Joe, Bye Bye Baby, Dream A
Little Dream of Me, Into Each Life Some Rain May Fall, I'm In the Mood
for Love, Japansy, When I Grow Too Old to Dream, Save Your Sorrows, Baby
JCCD-3083: Tony Pyke/Cuff Billett - "Can't We Be Friends?"
Jazzreview.com: - Internet Publication
Here's an album that defies the listener to place it in a neat pigeonhole.
It just can't be done. The group of senior British jazzmen come from varied
backgrounds and styles. Although the individual players have been influenced
by New Orleans musicians, this band draws its material from many styles
including New York, Chicago and the hot dance bands of the twenties. Let's
introduce the band.
Boxell's Jazz Website
This is yet another brilliant British bonus thanks to Jazz Crusade bringing
together top British jazz talent on a CD. Magic stuff. Put the CD on and
the first track with Tony Pyke weaving on alto and Cuff Billett growling
his trumpet lets you know the delights you can expect.
Jazz Journal International - British Jazz Magazine
Ex-Colyer reedsman Tony Pyke, and Cuff Billett, have both been primarily
associated with purist New Orleans jazz in the past. Both have, however,
over the years. developed a more broadly based, mellow personal style.
Cuff is equally at home with mainstream jazz these days, and contributes
several tightly muted solos in the style of 'Sweets' Edison. His pungent,
economical, intense phrasing is well complemented by the steady flow of
relaxed, lyrical ideas from Tony. In some ways the session comes across
as a somewhat hybrid affair, in terms of jazz styles. The tunes are played
in a loose-knit, off-the-cuff (no pun intended!) manner with little pre-arrangement,
relying simply on spontaneous invention, in the New Orleans way. Yet,
in general, the music is nearer in style to vintage small group swing,
both in the playing (particularly from Cuff and from pianist Alan Dandy)
and in the choice of repertoire-mainly good quality standards (apart from
the dreary Pagan Love Song), which cry out for some imaginative touches
of arrangement, which would have added variety and interest to the album.
However, it's certainly enjoyable, relaxed, unpretentious listening.
Just Jazz - British Jazz Magazine
What a super session this must have been to be present at - it's almost
like an ultra-relaxed, late night club session where everyone left their
egos at the door. It's a privilege to hear five of Britain's best enjoying
each other's company and exploring sixteen well-chosen tunes, many of
which we don't hear too often. I was worried at first, fearing that the
absence of a third front-line instrument would provide audio boredom,
but that's to underestimate the subtle talents of not only Pyke and Billett,
but also versatile pianist Alan Dandy. Between them, and within each number,
they contrive to create an ever varying pattern of tones, tempos and ideas
that never bore and always keeps your attention. In fact, I heard more
revelations of deep talents here from, in particular, both front-line
men than I had realised were there - sorry chaps - maybe I don't listen
hard enough when hearing you 'live'.
Cadence Magazine - U. S. A.
The British traditional Jazz scene dates back before the Beatles and,
as this CD shows, it's still alive and well. Tony Pyke and Cuff Billett
are old hands who play against each other nicely in the old polyphonic
style, each going his own merry way in front of the rhythm section but
not clashing. Billett is sassy and often seems about to break out of the
trad style while Pyke stays in the melodic mold of a Frankie Trumbauer.
It's fascinating to hear them weave in and out of each other so well.
They bring old chestnuts like "Baby Face," "Blue Skies"
and "St. Louis Blues" boiling back to life. Each horn man also
gets a solo spot with the rhythm section. Pyke sails through "Sweet
& Lovely" effortlessly while Billett goes quiet but roguish on
"Dream A Little Dream Of Me," doing a few things that sound
like Lester Bowie getting sassy. These men show that even the most ancient
of styles can have life in the right hands.
JazzGazette.com - Internet Publication
This is one of those CDs I find very difficult to review. Why? Is it
bad? Certainly not! In fact it is almost perfect. Is it exceptional? No,
it is not. I'm sure these five gentlemen can come together again each
day of the week and record another CD just as good, just by tackling other
tunes. What I'm trying to say is that this is the kind of timeless jazz
that can only be produced by a group of seasoned professionals, who thoroughly
love what they're doing and do it effortless. They are the salt of the
earth. What style is it? Revival New Orleans? Not completely, although
there is a lot of great ensemble playing with the two horns switching
the lead. Is it classic jazz of the twenties? Again the answer is yes
and no. It's close to it, but it is looser, more like revival New Orleans.
There are definitely elements of the small group swing of the thirties
in it. You see what I mean? It certainly is NOT modern jazz, no way! The
melody is always there somewhere. I'm sure Hughes Panassié would
have called it "real jazz". When we look at the picture in the
CD box we see 5 gentlemen for whom the colour of their hair or the absence
of hair indicates that they belong to my own age group which begins with
a six. When we read the liner notes, written by the piano-man, we see
that they all had their roots in traditional jazz and that each of them
can be proud about having played or/and recorded with some of the greatest
in the field. If the names of George Lewis, Louis Nelson, Capt. John Handy,
Bill Coleman, Ruby Braff, Alton Purnell, Yank Lawson, to name just a few,
mean anything to you, you'll know what I mean. They worked with these
people and learned directly from them. Now that their models are almost
all gone, they represent the new generation to continue this music in
the century that just began. Unlike the white-collared sharks, who reign
the popular music world today, want us to believe, musicians are not at
their best when they are under twenty. The REAL ones, although their hair
has turned white or is almost gone, get better and their music will sound
young all the time. Put them together in a studio, start the tape rolling
and let them loose on some well-known and others not so well-known songs
of the classic jazz repertoire, and what you'll get is this ageless, exciting
but always relaxed music you'll hear on this CD. What more is there to
say? "Sweet And Lovely" is by clarinet + rhythm only. "Dream
A Little Dream Of Me" is a duet by trumpet and piano, which reminds
me of the beautiful things Ruby Braff recorded with Ellis Larkins for
John Hammond (recently reissued on Vanguard). It almost sounds like the
two of them were first in the studio and started to play a little together,
not aware of the fact that the sound engineer was there too already and
had started the tape. It's quiet and utterly relaxed, well, it is sweet
and lovely! One of my favourite songs on this album is the seldom-heard
"Japansy", recorded in 1937 by Jimmie Noone with Charlie Shavers
on the trumpet. Haunting little melody and excellent playing. I'm sure
that when I'll play this disc again, another gem will start to glitter.
It's that kind of a record, you know...
Mississippi Rag - U. S. A.
Half a century ago, the traditional revival raised its shaggy head in
the U.K., thanks to the Christie brothers, Sandy Brown, Humphrey Lyttelton,
Ken Colyer, Chris Barber, and other talented and committed players. Over
here in the official home oi jazz, kid musicians, much impressed, used
to sit around and debate their respective merits, along with such crucial
matters as the year in which Louis Armstrong had stopped playing the real
jazz (was it 1927 or not until 1929?). The Brit revival like its American
cousin, has yet to give up the ghost: for living proof of its diehard
character, try this CD by a senior quintet of Englishmen, all with decades
of experience, some of it with bigger names on both sides of the pond.
Their combined ages are probably closer to 350 years than to 300. Thus,
they are contemporaries of today's American jazz festival fan base.