Personnel: Chris Blount [cl],
Norman Thatcher, Derek Winters, Ged Hone [tp], Dave Vickers, Big Bill
Bissonnette, Ron Radford [tb], Barry Grummett [pn], Dave
Brennan, Mac Mac Donald, Tony Peatman [bn], Mick Kennedy, Ken
Matthews, Harry Slater [sb], Malc Murphy, Dion Cochrane, Steve
Songs: Carolina Moon, Goin' Home, Doctor Jazz, Salutation March,
Too Busy, Clarinet Marmalade, Give Me Your Telephone Number, Four or Five
Times, Get Out of Here, Milneberg Joys, Roses of Picardy, Melancholy,
At A Georgia Camp Meeting, Mama Inez, The Moose, A March.
Goin' Home - A Fond Farewell to Chris Blount
Just Jazz - British Traditional Jazz
This issue from Bill Bissonnette's Jazz Crusade label is a compilation
of tracks from three sessions between 1993-1996 and is therefore representative
of how the late Chris Blount was playing before his untimely death in
His death was a sad loss to the British New Orleans jazz scene. He had
his detractors, because of his love for the George Lewis sound, but his
love of New Orleans came over whenever he played.
This CD finds Chris in the company of musicians with whom he was to work
over the last 8 years, after he split up his original band. It is also
a bonus to find 5 tracks with Chris playing with Ged Hone [tp] a player
who has not recorded as much as he should, and who deserves a greater
stage. He plays with dynamics more associated with early Colyer and, of
course, Kid Howard & Mutt Carey. Bill Bissonnette, who put this album
out, is also playing trombone a' la Robinson on the same tracks.
This is all unissued material, so to all lovers of Chris' music, buy this
- Pete Lay
Boxell's Jazz Website - New Zealand
Chris Blount had a habit of surprising jazz fans, and he certainly did
so when he died suddenly this year. A player in the George Lewis mould,
Chris toured and played extensively in England and Europe, both with his
own band and as a guest player with other bands. Both fans and fellow
jazz musicians will certainly miss him. This CD comprises of three separate.
The first is from 1995 with an all-star band including Norman Thatcher
and Dave Vickers. With Thatcher being the closest around to Ken Colyer,
you know how the tracks sound: pure New Orleans played in a smooth but
crisp manner that delights the ears.
The second session is from 1993 with Ged Hone on trumpet and Big Bill
Bissonnette on trombone. This band has a harder edge and more forceful
style, and it is quite noticeable how Chris shows his ability to vary
his style to fit in with those he is playing with. The final session is
from 1996. It is Chris' regular band. Again the pace changes and it is
amazing that the man could show such variety of delivery and yet remain
so completely within idiom. Chris Blount was often underrated as a jazz
clarinetist, not least by myself, but this CD shows him at his best, and
it is a fitting, and indeed fond, farewell to a great talent.
- Geoff Boxell
jazzreview.com - U.S.A.
British clarinetist and leader, Chris Blount, passed away in 1999. Jazz
Crusade has put together, a group of three sessions in tribute to Chris.
Session 1 was recorded in 1995 and features Cris Blount (clt), Norman
Thatcher (tpt), Dave Vickers (tbn), Barry Grummett (pno), Dave Brennan
(bjo), Mick Kennedy (sbs) and Malc Murphy (dms). This is a very good set
including Carolina Moon, Goin' Home, Doctor Jazz, Salutation March and
Too Busy. Chris Blount plays in a lively George Lewis groove and seems
very much at home. The pianist, Barry Grummett, although not a soloist,
adds a tremendous spark to the band. Drummer, Malc Murphy drives beautifully
and utilizes every piece of his kit to the limit. The great rhythm section
is really an asset. Thatcher and Vickers do a fine job up front. I especially
like the band's rendition of "Too Busy", a tune penned by country
writer Ned Miller. Pop singer, Kay Starr also recorded the tune in the
mid 1950's with little success. The British trad groups have picked up
the song and made it sound like a hot dance item from the 1920s.
Session 2 was recorded at Bude in 1993 and is a sextet featuring Chris
Blount (clt), Ged Hone (tpt), Big Bill Bissonnette (tbn), Mac MacDonald
(bjo), Ken Matthews (sbs) and Dion Cochrane (dms). This set regrettably
suffers from an ineffective trumpet player and a weak rhythm section in
my humble opinion. Chris Blount and the visiting fireman, Big Bill Bissonnette
are left to carry the ball. The absence of a pianist is noticeable. Chris
and Bill work their butts off and carry the group through Clarinet Marmalade,
Four or Five Times, Give Me Your Telephone Number, Get Out Of Here and
Milneburg Joys. Chris Blount slips out of the George Lewis mode and seems
comfortable but tired.
Session 3 was taped in Nottingham during the spring of 1996 and the lineup
is Chris Blount (clt), Derek Winters (tpt), Ron Radford (tbn), Barry Grummett
(pno), Tony Peatman (bjo), Harry Slater (sbs) and Steve Upton (dms). This
session includes Roses of Picardy, Melancholy, Georgia Camp Meeting, Mama
Inez and Moose March. The return of Barry Grummett's driving piano and
a good rhythm section make this set sparkle. The front line is enthusiastic
and effective resulting in a most enjoyable listening experience. Blount
seems to switch the Lewis style on and off at will and plays with a lot
of energy. All things considered, this is a very nice tribute to an important
British player who has played his final bar.
- Richard Bourcier
Mississippi Rag - U. S. A.
Big Bill Bissonnette's latest Jazz Crusade release honors the late clarinetist,
Chris Blount. The 15 cuts are taken from three different sessions recorded
in the U. K. during the 1990s with largely different personnels, but all
It is easy to pidgenhole Blount's style as nearly unalloyed George Lewis.
The British musicians supporting him sound as if their apprenticeship
had been served in uptown New Orleans, although it is more likely that
the classic Bunk Johnson and George Lewis record imports served as the
The first five selections listed above are from a 1995 session with Norman
Thatcher and Dave Vickers. Thatcher has incorporated a number of Bunkisms
in his style, and Vickers has Jim Robison as his model. This session was
the source of a previous album, and now we have available the remaining
The next five numbers are live performances from the Bude Jazz Festival
of 1993, with a pianoless band featuring Blount, Ged Hone, trumpet and
Big Bill Bissonnette trombone. This combo sounds somewhat hotter and stompier
than the other two line-ups. An enthusiastic audience never hurts and
the band's excitement on this gig is obvious.
The final five cuts with Blount has Derek Winters on trumpet and Ron Radford
on trombone. They were recorded in 1996 in Nottingham. This was Blount's
own band and is a lovely, relaxed session. Exactly and the tune are well
chosen for variety.
- Bill Mitchell
JazzGazette.com - Internet Magazine
With the exception of Benny Goodman, no jazz clarinet player had more
influence in his style of playing than George Lewis. There was a time
that almost every clarinet player in Europe, wanting to play New Orleans
jazz, tried to sound more or less like George Lewis. Some of them managed,
starting from George's style, to develop their own personality, which
made them sound different from the rest ofthe same school. Chris Blount
was one ofthe best in this category. Although he never visited New Orleans,
Chris knew instinctively to catch the spirit ofthe music from the city
on the Mississippi. He was a very popular guest at the European traditional
jazz festivals. His succesful career ended abruptly with his sudden and
premature death in December 98 at the age of 57. This CD is a tribute
from Jazz Crusade to this beloved clarinet player. For Chris Blount completists
it is also an occasion to complete their collection. Two ofthe sessions
on this CD have numbers that didnt get on the original earlier Jazz Crusades
(Thatcher/BlountA/ickers JCCD-3018 and Chris Blount New Orleans Jazz Band
JCCD-3022), the third one is an unissued live session from the 1993 Bude
Dont think these are just leftovers. Remember a CD has a maximum playing
time after all. The presence of Chris Blount defines in an important way
the kind of New Orleans jazz we hear on this CD. We are indeed in George
Lewis territory! No typical British trad here! Each of the bands you hear
has it's own character, which proves again that it is possible to play
creatively in a strictly chosen style. All the musicians on this CD are
great exponents ofthe British New Orleans jazz world, except for the American
Bill Bissonnette (Mr. Jazz Crusade himself) who is a member ofthe band
at the Bude Jazz Festival and produces some strong solo work.
The personnel ofthe first band contains at least 4 (and maybe more!) bandleaders.
The rise of clashing personalities is avoided because everyone contributes
to the welfare of the session. "Playing for the benefit ofthe band"
as Baby Dodds called it. My favourite track is the beautiful "Coin1
Home", a Ken Oolyer composition based on a melody from Dvorak.
At the second session, recorded at the Strand Hotel during the 1993 Bude
Festival, everybody plays with enormous enthusiasm. Listen to the hard
swinging "Give Me Your Telephone Number" (originally recorded
by J.C. Higginbotham with part ofthe Luis Russell band), the shuffle rhythm
of "Four Or Five Times" and the exciting "Get Out Of Here".
The last session features the normal Chris Blount Band in great form.
In addition to some New Orleans classics, we enjoy the evergreen "Roses
of Picardy" and - my favorite track! - the great rhumba "Mama
Inez," a tune we all know from the Kid Thomas version. The binding
element of these three very different sessions is of course the bitter-sweet
Chris Blount clarinet, which we can only listen to on records from now
on. Farewell Chris...
- Marcel Joly
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