Colyer In Stockholm - Volume 2:
Ken Colyer with the Classic Jazz Band
1 see JCCD-3007]
Kings Jazz ReviewBritish
Internet Jazz Magazine
Im prejudice! Hang around for just a minute! Why not
review the CD as it stands? OK then! There are in my mind, two bands on
this CD. One is of Ken Colyer; the other is The Classic Jazz Band of Sweden.
Correction, one is of Ken Colyer and the banjoist, the other is as noted.
Ill explain. Ive been a follower of Ken Colyer since shortly
after he returned to England from New Orleans, beginning when he took
up a residency at The Castle Pub in Tooting Broadway, South West, London,
which would have been in the early 1950s as the Ken Colyer Band became
the leading British revivalist group in the country.
The trombonist player/leader of Kustbandet, Sweden, Jens Lindgren writes
honourably with high praise for guest author, cornetist, trumpeter, guitarist,
band & skiffle-group leader, Ken Colyer in his "Colyers
very last band recordings" CD album liner notes, remarking that his
group saw nothing in the rumours that he was a difficult man, stating
that it was his friend Claes Ringuist who invited Colyer to Stockholm,
then presumably living in the South of France, and that he, Jens, put
together a support band for Ken Colyer of which, those are the "recently
discovered additional tracks" of it.
It was probably in his Studio 51 Club, opposite the Porcupine Pub in Great
Newport Street, Central London that a hooray Henry came up to Colyer and
said to him "I say, I say, can you play a twist?" Ken on rolling
a fag replied, "I only play my music - man, you do what you "b....."
well like to it - an anecdote told to me by another long standing Ken
Colyer jazz fan friend - George Hughesman.
The distinctive sound, and a subtle adroit lead, that put sensuous, swing
movements into the Colyer jazz music are notably still all here, however
much as they are entirely of his alone as that of his early youthful years,
but, through recognised ill-health, his performance, I detect, shows a
period of it coming into decline, yet, that same year, 1986, he toured
with the famous Max Collie New Orleans Mardi Gras Show, which must have
been a great feat for him. Sadly, it was only to be nineteen months later
in March 1988 that Ken Colyer passed away. The Govnor, as he had
become known, was born in April 1928, in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, East
In 1949, before jumping ship in America, Ken became a founder member of
the Crane River Jazz Band. The launch of his book "When Dreams Are
In The Dust - the path of a jazzman" took place on Tuesday the 5th
of September 1989 at the Sir Christopher Wren Public House, Pasternoster
Square, London EC4, near St Pauls Cathedral, and Crane River members,
Sonny Morris, Julian, Alan and John R.T. Davies, Colin Bowden, Ben Marshall,
Bob Ward, and John Wurr played moving material at it - I know, for I was
there. The Ken Colyer Trust - extant - has the copyright of the book.
Presuming that Id never previously ever heard of Ken Colyer, I found
that I got best results from the album when I listened to it with the
deck, sound-volume, turned down very low. Ken Colyer sounds very much
in his element playing with this Swedish group the Classic Jazz Band,
they in turn, sound inspired with the professionalism of their famous
guest player, all savouring with delight the approval of their large appreciative
dancing audiences, undoubtedly conscious from where the swing, lilting
sound of music was coming from making it possible for them thus enjoying
themselves over a Stockholm Jazz & Blues Festival period.
On Sing On the trumpeter is moving well into glory land and is leading
the group on a close ten minutes Sentimental Journey on the tune
of that title, noted in print that such led to many of their dancing audiences
flaking out before the end of the tunes, not so with the group which runs
the stretch magnificently on the said number and throughout the albums
10 tunes, leaving their guest an end space for the guest trumpeter to
create an inspiringly, articulate, sensational finishing break to that
particular journey. Trumpeter Colyer sings on both Trouble In Mind and
Sporting House in perfect harmony with his playing, which makes for special
notice given to those two numbers, as doubtless one is listening to the
greatest jazz singer of his kind. Those two tunes are breathtaking. This
is an album for not only every Swedish Traditional jazz fan, but, for
those also throughout the world.
- Ian King
Jazzreview.comInternet Jazz Publication
Ask any British fan to name a jazz legend and you'll be certain to hear
the name of Ken Colyer. The trumpet star was not only a great player but,
more importantly, promoted jazz everywhere he went. A late friend of mine,
born in Germany some sixty years ago had never heard of Miles Davis or
Gerry Mulligan but the mere mention of Ken Colyer put a sparkle in his
eyes. The British star became a jazz ambassador, spreading joy in the
spirit of his idols, Bunk Johnson and George Lewis.
A few years ago, Jazz Crusade issued a CD of Colyer's last recorded concert
on June 28, 1986. Titled Colyer In Stockholm (JCCD-3007), the disc featured
the trumpeter with a Swedish band recorded on an outdoor stage. While
the sound quality was iffy, the session was lively and well played. Now
another recording by the same group has surfaced with eight additional
tracks from June and two tracks from late August of 1986. Colyer passed
away in France in the spring of 1988 after a lengthy illness. These tunes
are his final band recordings.
Trombonist Jens Lindgren penned a fine set of liner notes for this release.
He offers his honest and realistic comments on Colyer's attitude and his
music. Clearly, the young Classic Jazz Band considered it an honor to
accompany the British legend.
Certainly this is not the Colyer of the 1950s. He was in poor health and
in Lindgren's words "I remember him as an old man, he looked older
than his 58 years." Colyer's band had included such jazz stars as
Chris Barber, Lonnie Donegan, Pat Hawes, Monty Sunshine, Acker Bilk and
Sammy Rimington decades earlier. Still, the aging trumpeter shows us how
it's done. His spirit and attitude are undiminished on these final sides.
His work on the old Walter Donaldson standard, You're Driving Me Crazy
is outstanding. The Swedish musicians play their hearts out backing Colyer.
The quality of their efforts really shows up on Sentimental Journey with
Lindgren and Eriksson propping up Colyer's hesitant lead. The trumpeter
gets back in the groove with Sing On, a tune he probably played a thousand
times. Drummer Cacka Ekhe's brash style lends strong support to Colyer
and the band. Ciribirbin finds the whole band in great form with some
interesting solo work by clarinet and banjo. Ken Colyer gets caught-up
in the group's enthusiasm on the old Harry James hit.
The final tracks, Sporting House Blues and Clarinet Marmalade come from
the August session and the sound quality changes. It's a bit muddy and
bassist Goran Lind is less audible than on previous tracks. Colyer delivers
a wonderful vocal on Sporting to the obvious delight of the band.
Sadly, I felt that the last piece, Clarinet Marmalade found Colyer at
his weakest point. The band really hustles to beef him up with some degree
of success. It's a sad curtain call at the end of an illustrious career
but collectors will love this recently discovered material.
- Richard Bourcier
Boxells Jazz WebsiteNew
Zealand Jazz Website
According to Big Bill Bissonnette this is the last recording Ken made
before his death. The sleeve notes tell the story of Ken being invited
to play at the Stockholm Jazz & Blues Festival in 1986 and of a band
of New Orleans enthusiasts being gathered to back him. Trombone player
Jens Lindgren says that, despite being told that the Guv'nor was a 'difficult'
man, neither he nor the band saw that side of him and found him to be
friendly and talkative. They also say that he was 'authoritative' and
encouraged players to bring out their best. Which is interesting as from
the first note you know that this is a 'Colyer band' and not because Ken
dominates it; it just has his sound. Marvellous, considering they had
never played together before. Ken's terminal illness is apparent; the
sustained notes, especially the 'clarion call' and 'bray', you expect
to hear are missing. Ken is, though, still wonderful to listen to and
especially so with the muted solos on ' Trouble In Mind' and 'Sing On',
which can literally bring a tear to your eye with their emotion and expression.
The Swedes backing Ken do an excellent job. The sound is rather reminiscent
of the Sammy Rimmington/Graham Stewart lineup of the early 60s. Drummer
Cacka Ekhe is more a Malc Murphy than a Pete Ridge, though he could be
giving Colin Bowden a nod. I think the main reason I have chosen this
comparison is that clarinettist Goran Eriksson has the higher tone and
'busy' action of Rimmington rather than the more laid back playing of
either Ian Wheeler and Tony Pyke whilst the trombone Jens Lindgren is
not as forceful as Stewart's replacement, Geoff Cole.
This is a recording that deserves to belong in any New Orleans jazz collection
not because it is The Guv'nor's last hurrah, but because it is wonderful
- Geoff Boxell
Los Angeles Jazz SceneU. S. Column
One of the major forces in Great Britain's New Orleans revival movement
of the 1950s, Ken Colyer was a stickler for creative authenticity. Inspired
by Bunk Johnson and George Lewis, Colyer nevertheless had his own sound
and was open enough to help spur on a revival of skiffle music. Throughout
much of his career he had a cult following, working steadily in England
This CD dates from the close of his life. Recorded June 28, 1986 in Stockholm
Sweden when Colyer was 58, the live set finds the trumpeter just a year
away from his death but still sounding quite viable. Teamed with five
top Swedish players (including trombonist Jens Lindgren and clarinetist
Goran Eriksson) in a pianoless sextet, Colyer was pleased that the musicians
knew his music and played at such a high level.
There is plenty of enthusiasm, meaningful solos and joyous ensembles to
be heard on such songs as "Yearning," "You're Driving Me
Crazy," "Sing On," "Tiger Rag" and even "Sentimental
Journey" and "Ciribiribin." Colyer sounds pleased, the
musicians sound happy and the audience is rightfully enthusiastic. Volume
2 is the equal of Volume 1 and both are available from www.jazzcrusade.com
and easily recommended to New Orleans jazz fans.
- Scott Yanow
Cadence Magazine—U. S. Jazz Magazine
Big Bill Bissonnette's Jazz Crusade label continues to serve trad Jazz/revivalist fans with recently unearthed and/or new discoveries. One of the label's latest finds is additional material from British jazz legend/trumpeter Ken Colyer's visit to Stockholm, Sweden, for two Jazz Festival concerts, one in June, and the other, in August of 1986. Coming near the end of his life, these issues are billed as Colyer's "very last band recordings" (Colyer died in 1988). The ten song program finds Colyer in the company of like-minded Swedes from that country's Classic Jazz Band. The session finds Colyer in good spirits and backed by a band of competent, if mildly passive,, but supportive players. Colyer clearly enjoys himself, whether due to his sly ensemble work or words of vocal encouragement.
There are plenty of classics like the upbeat "Yearning," "You're Driving Me Crazy," and "Sing On," as well as the gentle march of "Sentimental Journey," the Colyer vocal on "Sporting House" and the closing moments of "Clarinet Marmalade." Clarinetist Goran Eriksson works well with Colyer and the rest of the ensemble and is perhaps most impressive on the easygoing stroll of "Trouble In Mind," the excitable "Ciribiribin" or during his uncredited alto work on the rousing "Tiger Rag." Regarding the sound quality, it comes from an older or used tape (hence the tape hiss) and there are several flutter problems (particularly during "Carolina Moon"). Further, the balance isn't always ideal, but objections such as these are relatively minor. In sum, this session of good fun should please the fans of New Orleans music and specifically, of Ken Colyer, Europe's leading Tradman.
Jazz Journal International—British Jazz magazine
Claimed as his last band recordings, these performances took place around 18 months before Colyer's death. Ken is in compatible company with strong support from Lindgren's robust tailgate trombone, and the flowing Creole style clarinet of Eriksson. Some of the characteristic bell-like brightness has faded from Colyer's tone, and his erstwhile melodically inventive flights of phrasing have given way to a more lean, economical, probing expression. Yet considering his declining health, he is still playing with conviction and quiet intensity, showing flashes of his old spirit in Sing On and Ciribiribin. Eriksson plays jaunty vintage style alto in a laid-back Tiger Rag, adding depth and fullness to the simplistic sound texture and it's a pity he didn't use this more. On the second session, Ekhe's woodblocks are intrusive in Sporting Life, and if there's a bass in Clarinet Marmalade, it's virtually inaudible. This is not, of course. Ken's best work, but is certainly a stout effort in the circumstances, and an interesting release for Colyer collectors.
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