The Jazz Crusade Audio Sampler Catalog
JCCD-3024: Reed Renaissance - As Time Goes By - Helm/Probert

Personnel:  Bob Helm, George Probert [rds], Brad Roth [bn/g], June Barnes [sbs]

Songs: Amazing Grace, I Cried for You, As Time Goes By, Angry, You're Lucky to Me, These Foolish Things, Ice Cream, Ain't Misbehavin', Brad's Banjo Blues, Doctor Jazz, I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Tiger Rag.

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Reviews for:
JCCD-3024: Reed Renaissance - As Time Goes By - Helm/Probert

Reed Renaissance is a group brought together just for this session by Jazz Crusade owner, Big Bill Bissonnette. Both reedmen are veterans of the West Coast jazz revival days.
Bob Helm is best known for his work on the front line of the Lu Watters Yerba Buena band and then with Turk Murphy's fine group. George Probert spent his years with Kid Ory and later with the Firehouse Five. Although
dis-similar in style, the two have plenty of space to engage each other without having to allow room for piano and drums.
Certainly, this is an unorthodox approach but it works very well. The quartet breezes their way through a dozen great old tunes with the two reed players sharing the lead. Then each is given one showpiece to strut their stuff. George Probert chose "These Foolish Things" while Bob Helm picked "You're Lucky to Me". Though both musicians have been honored guests at various jazz festivals during their retirement years, this is the only time they have recorded together.
Jazz purists will enjoy this unusual pairing of old timers. Their solos are at times, somewhat tentative, and we must appreciate the fact that Bob Helm was 82 and Probert was 70 at the time of this 1996 session. The rhythm section holds everything together and the up-tempo numbers find the veterans more at ease.
- Richard Bourcier

Mississippi Rag - U.S.A.

The idea of pairing George Probert with Bob Helm was an inspired one, but not without risk. Because each has such a clearly delineated style, quite different from each other, there was the possibility that they'd clash rather than blend. Happily that isn't the case most of the time. Being the pros that they are, they work to complement each other and together create an interesting album of alternately hot and intimate music.The pairing of their different horn combinations is what gives this album its variety.
Highlights include Helm's plaintive, slippery solo on "As Time Goes By," the charging alto sax duet on "Angry" and Brad Roth's beautiful, unaccompanied guitar chorus also on "As Time Goes By." The climactic "Tiger Rag" is, as they used to say, a Killer-diller, a primer on how to develop a performance that's hot, hotter, scathing!
- Ted des PJantes

Jazz Rag - British Magazine

Big Bill Bissonnette, possibly the only man in jazz who regularly uses the word "mouldy as a term of description and even, sometimes, of approval, describes the latest CD from his Jazz Crusade label as, "not as mouldy as most Jazz Crusade releases." Sure enough As Time Goes By by Reed Renaissance is disarmingly difficult to categorise. Two West Coast clarinet veterans, Bob Helm and George Probert, add in an assortment of saxes, even baritone in Probert's case, and join up with an enterprising two-piece rhythm section: banjoi/guitarist Brad Roth and bassist
June Barnes.
The result is an attractively relaxed session, with melodic versions of nice songs like As Time Goes By and These Foolish Things, as well as Ice Cream and Tiger Rag.
- Ron Simpson

JazzGazette .com- Internet Publication

This is George Probert's third recording for the Jazz Crusade label. While I was enthusiastic about numbers one and two, I must admit that I approached this one with some trepidation. First of all the small format of the group worried me a bit. I usually like my jazz with bass and drums and a piano is welcome too. I'm not fond of the present trend of recording a horn with only piano accompaniment. Secondly I must admit that I've never been an unconditional admirer of West Coast jazz. I have to take it in limited doses while I can listen to Kid Thomas for hours and hours. Bob Helm for me was a fine musician but certainly not one of my favorite ones. I must revise my opinion after this CD. After a listening I was pleased but not particularly enthusiastic. I played it again because I do not believe in reviewing a record after just one listening. Well the damn thing grew on me. It's that kind of a record, Each playing revealed new beauties. George Probert is as good as I expected and Bob Helm is much, much better. Although they both have their own very individual styles they blend like two fine brand of old Scotch. The two piece rhythm swings like hell. The drums are not missed at all. It's hardv^o put a label on this music
unless it's "traditional jazz with a zest of mainstream." It certainly does not have the typical West Coast sound.This is just excellent music by two reed players who have obtained the age of maturity: Helm almost 82 and George 70. Both play with a passion that their age shouldn't permit! If you love traditional jazz and are not afraid of the unusual, this CD definitely belongs in your collection.
- Marcel Joly

American Rag - U. S. A.

The two surviving active titans of West Coast revival Dixieland reed playing are, of course, George Probert and Bob Helm. Proberfs dry, clipped approach to the soprano is light-years away from that of Sidney Bechet, who long dominated jazz soprano. Since George started recording with Ory, the FH5, etc., he's developed his own disciples who proudly spread the Probert sound around the current festival circuit. Helm, a member of Lu Walters' trend-setting Yerba Buena Jazz Band, is one of jazz's true originals, his quirky twisting lines and thick slurry tone a significant reworking of the bluesy stickwork of one of his obvious influences, the archetypical Johnny Dodds. A Probert-Helm meeting on record has long been overdue, but this June 1996 71-minute CD beautifully rectifies the situation, placing the duo in center stage splendidly backed by ace banjo/guitarist Brad Roth and rock-steady bassist June Barnes. Probert, usually on lead, is in top form, urgently wailing away on the killer-dillers and tenderly breathing heartfelt improvisations on the ballads. While Bob may have lost a half-step in terms of instrumental control and solo imagination over the decades, he more than compensates there for with tasty spare drawling counterlines deliciously seasoned by over a half-century of experience.
Variety is introduced via doubling (both artists on clarinet, soprano and alto saxophones, along with a muscular baritone sax chorus from George on "Ain't Misbehavin'"), plus three feature numbers, one for each of the principal soloists. Altogether, it's a one-of-a-kind platter that not only works on its own, but also is a special treasure for West Coast revival fans. Five stars.
- Tex Wyndham

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