JCCD-3118: Sammy Rimington & Big Bill Bissonnette
In Denmark 1993—Volume 2
Boxell’s Jazz Website—New Zealand
These two CDs are from a live concert recorded on 09 September 1993 at the Jaegersborg Hotel. The front line consists of Big Bill on trombone, Sammy and Leif Madsen, both playing clarinet and alto-sax & Papa Joe Errington on trumpet The rhythm section consists of Peter Nisson drums, Hendrik Stiigvad banjo/guitar and Holden Fogh on bass.
B3 and Sammy are so well known that they need no introduction, but I must say that B3 is at his peak on this recording. Joe Errington soon afterwards joined Papa Bue’s Viking Jazz Band and I saw him with them in 1995 when it was he who held the band together as Bue seemed to spend more time tippling than playing. B3 says Errington plays with shades of Armstrong and tinges of Beiderbecke. To me he plays in a similar vein to fellow Englishman Pat Halcox. Of the others Leif Madsen provides a sympathetic foil to Rimington and part of the enjoyment is listening to see who is playing what on the each of the tunes. The rhythm section is very competent, the only thing though is that the bass is rather over amplified (this is more noticeable on a personal player than on a main sound system).
I suppose the big thing for me was that from the first bars of Bogalusa Strut, with Rimington bringing the tune in, all I wanted to do was play alongside the band. This infection was bad enough when I did it in my head, but I was found to be annoying my fellow bus passengers by humming or whistling out loud. God help me, but when the wife was out shopping on a Saturday morning, I could even be caught using my replica 14thC hunting horn as a 2nd trombone. It really does make you want to join in and, at least in your head or with something more versatile than modified cow’s horn, you can pick a different instrument to be each time you play them! Honestly; with tunes that are as familiar as this and the way the music is presented, it is the ideal vehicle for any would be jazz player to learn the music by jamming alongside the band. This music really moves you and it would have to be a real jazz hater who didn’t get caught up in the sound and want to join in.
The tunes, as I have said, are mostly standards and even the lesser known ‘In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree’ and ‘Rose Room’ I have by others. Of interest; ‘Ice Cream’ features both reedsmen on clarinet, as per Dutch Swing College, ‘Papa Joe’s Davenport Blues’ is a trumpet solo and on the stomping version of ‘In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree’, B3 treats us to some unique lyrics. The style of the band is club New Orleans, except on ‘C-Jam Blues’ which, as goes with the tune, is quite main stream.
I loved these CDs, but my family and the people on the bus aren’t so keen, or was it just my contribution to the music they didn’t appreciate?
- Geoff Boxell
Just Jazz Magazine –British jazz magazine
Listening to these two CDs is a little like being at an all-star club session. No - that's wrong! It's exactly like being at a club session. All that's missing is the buzz of background conversation, the clink of glasses from the bar, and the cigarette smoke seeping in from wherever the addicts are herded in this particular establishment. In this case, the establishment was the Jagersborg Hotel in Jagersborg, Denmark, and the occasion was a successful visit by Sammy Rimington and Big Bill Bissonnette to play with Peter Nisson's New Orleans Jazz Band.
From the first number, Bogalusa Strut - and all the seventeen well-chosen and variety-filled tracks here, are 'live' - the eight guys put down markers. They signpost the fact that they were going to play positive, no-holds-barred, no frills, modern New Orleans jazz. Their choice of tempos throughout is refreshing, with only a couple of numbers where the tempos race a little to the point of near chaos. Most numbers are taken at a gentle, highly infectious trot that encourages all to play well-thought-out solos that complement each other. That's not easy with a four-piece frontline in which two of the guys play clarinet and alto sax. They could clash, but they don't, and the approach of each is sufficiently different to make for absorbing listening.
Sammy's debt to New Orleans giant Captain John Handy is sometimes obvious, but that's great because almost no-one could swing a New Orleans band like the Captain - now Sammy can, and does! And then there's trumpet man 'Papa' Joe Errington who's so well-known in mainland Europe that he gets headline billing. He's a real talent, full effluent, hot, fat-toned ideas, but occasionally overflowing with brilliant technique. Big Bill's trombone occupies its usual efficient role - growling around the front-line - punctuating -reminding the guys where the melody goes -propelling and always being exciting. He's an original, is Bill, especially when taking his unique muted solos as on After You've Gone.
The rhythm section is fine and all its members are outstanding, even if only most of the time, for remaining unobtrusive and providing a superb base for the front-line men to work over. If I have to pick standouts it would be bassist Holden Fogh, whose lines are impeccable, and the brilliant pianist Torben Kjaer. As I said at the outset - these CDs are of a very fine club session, and like even the best of those - not every number, not every solo is 100% pleasing. The majority are, however - and they're also exciting, exhilarating, and make you want to shout for more. Well done, Jazz Crusade - your policy of issuing the very best of live sessions is justified yet again - more please...
- Brian Harvey
Coda Magazine—U. S. jazz magazine March 2007
This is the sort of old-time party music you might hear in a vintage Storyville whorehouse. These CDs have traveling musicians Sammy Rimmington and Big Bill Bissonnette leading a band of Danish musicians in a concert at a Copenhagen hotel. These tunes may be ancient but they aren't treated that way. These guys play their hearts out. Highlights on Volume 1 include the high-stepping ensemble work of "Bogalusa Strut," the lovely sax and trumpet soloing on "Darkness On The Delta," the slow, sleazy drag of "After You've Gone" with Rimmington flying over the band and the raucous group attack on "Rose Room."
On Volume 2 there is some magical rough-hewn trumpet from Papa Joe Errington on "St. Louis Blues," Bissonnette's heavyweight trombone on "Ice Cream" and sandpaper/ singing on "Old Apple Tree" and rocking Boogie Woogie from pianist Torben Kjaer on "C-Jam Blues." Really though there are no dud tracks here. All these guys had a ball at this show and their sense of fun is infectious. Even if you don't usually listen to early Jazz this concert might raise a few smiles.
- Jerome Wilson
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