Personnel: Chris Burke [clarinet/vocal] Patrick Tevlin [trumpet/vocal] Reide Kaiser [piano] Colin Bray [string bass]
Songs: It Looks Like Rain in Cherry Blossom Lane, Spain, When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano, My Little Girl, A White Sport Coat, China Boy, All I Do Is Dream of You,Why Should I Cry Over You?, Smiles, I’m Sorry I Made You Cry, Love Walked In, Four Leaf Clover, A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square, Raining In My Heart, Paradise, Those Little White Lies, Falling In Love, Love Nest
JCCD-3121: “All I Do Is Dream” - Chris Burke In Toronto
JazzReview—Internet Jazz publication
British-born clarinetist, Chris Burke, is no stranger to travel. Over the years, Burke has played in Belgium, England, Tunisia, Mexico, Venezuela, French West Indies, Romania and the Bahamas. He has been a resident of New Orleans for more than a decade.
Unlike most New Orleans revival clarinetists, Chris Burke fell under the influence of Louis Cottrell, Barney Bigard, Albert Burbank and Raymond Burke rather than the famous George Lewis. Burke plays both E and B flat Albert system instruments in a mellow but exciting style. In spite of his many tours with Barry Martyn’s “Legends of Jazz” outfit, Burke’s recording sessions have been few. Perhaps only five sessions have been recorded in the past 20 years.
The clarinetist was invited to Toronto for the annual “Kid Bastien Remembered” jazz party and was approached by bassist Colin Bray to record a session. Another jazzman, trumpeter/pianist, Brian Graville offered his recording studio at Georgetown, Ontario.
One can’t help but notice that the selection of songs reflect a variety of old numbers that enjoyed a resurgence in the 1950s including Love Walked In, Paradise, Four Leaf Clover plus the brand new 1957 hit “A White Sport Coat And A Pink Carnation,” made popular by the late Marty Robbins. “Love Nest” has been a perennial since 1920 but many folks hear it first as the theme of the George Burns and Gracie Allen radio and TV shows.
The recording is a result of a truly relaxed quartet. Chris Burke is ably backed by the Kid Bastien influenced trumpet of Patrick Tevlin who took over the “Happy Pals” band when the leader passed on in 2003. Pianist Reide Kaiser and bassist Colin Bray are members of, what this writer calls, “Jazz Crusade’s all star rhythm section.” Both men love and understand New Orleans vintage jazz. They have recorded with such players as “Tuba Fats” Lacen, Jacques Gauthe, Gregg Stafford and Dr. Michael White.
Chris Burke’s playing is best described as effortless throughout and he’s impressive on every tune. Tevlin, Bray and Kaiser are outstanding on a few numbers including “Smiles,” “Four Leaf Clover,” “Love Nest” and “Why Should I Cry Over You.” Chris Burke handles the vocal on the latter piece with some very nice work by Reide Kaiser. Overall, this is nice informal gathering of like-minded musicians playing the music they love.
Just Jazz Magazine—British Jazz Magazine—February 2007
New Orleans residents Chris Burke and Andrew Hall come from Nottingham in England - so does that fine drummer Paul Russell, and there are others from that area who have made their jazz world mark, like bandleaders Mick Gill and Brian Woolley. I only offer these gems of sociological information as an aside to the fact that it was jazz history pioneers Bill Kinnell and James Asman who made the Nottingham area into a hotbed of the music in the 1940s and early 1950s - and it was Paul Russell and Bill Kinnell who gave me my New Orleans music baptism around the years 1948-50. Then, just a few years ago I found myself marching in a New Orleans city French Quarter Festival street parade behind a band containing Chris Burke and Andrew Hall - the wheel had come full circle for me. Now on my turntable I have a CD of Chris Burke with Toronto bandleader Patrick Tevlin's quartet, in which Chris proves his authentic New Orleans credentials.
To me he now sounds for all the world like a high class Creole musician from the early years of our music - like an Israel German, for example, or Omer Simeon. He has superb fluency, a tone to die for, and bountiful ideas that make for great listening. Partnering him here - and playing perhaps less robustly than they would within their own band, the Happy Pals - is a trio from that band, led by the Kid Thomas-inspired Patrick Tevlin. It all works very well on most of the tracks, and Patrick told me - "I remember the session with Chris very well. It was the weekend of the Third Annual 'Kid Bastien Forever Kick-Ass New Orleans Jazz Party' - a little hard to forget! I quite enjoyed it. I guess it may sound a bit restrained compared, say, to the full-on Happy Pals roaring away! We were thinking more along the lines of some of the small bands playing in New Orleans in the 50s, particularly (for obvious reasons!) some of Israel Gorman's groups. Small band, pretty songs, relaxed feel. All in all, I probably play a little straighter than I normally would. Maybe Chris' local influences brought out the Charlie Love in me!" It certainly did, and all to very good effect. This is a CD well worth investigating, and one day soon I'll play tracks from it in one of my shows on the Hot Jazz Channel .
Jazz Gazette—Internet jazz publication
Regular readers of this magazine will know by now the great admiration and affection I have for Chris Burke. I don’t think there is a musician I heard more times life than Chris. I have sweet memories of many hours spent at the Café Montalba, at the Gazebo and later on at Molly’s at the Market, all of course in New Orleans, listening to this fascinating musician. Although Chris Burke was born in England he has become an integral part of the New Orleans music scene.
I have always thought that there are two different aspects in Chris’ clarinet playing. The first one belongs completely to the Creole school started by Lorenzo Tio and with luminaries like Louis Cottrell, Albert Nicholas and Barney Bigard, to name just a few, being part of it. This is the mostly heard and recorded aspect of Chris’ playing. When in the right company we hear another Chris Burke, the one who delves deeply in what I call his Milé Barnes/Israel Gorman bag. It belongs more to the so-called uptown tradition in contrast with the more fluid and cleaner downtown tradition. It is my impression – and I might be wrong! – that his playing in the uptown style becomes even more emotional than in his Creole style. I like both but, to be completely sincere, I’ve been waiting for a long time to have this Chris Burke on record and here it is.
When I say “in the right company” I refer to the times I heard Chris play in New Orleans with the late Kid Bastien, a staunch follower of the Kid Thomas approach to the music. Kid Bastien is gone but his former reed player Patrick Tevlin has changed instruments and now spreads the Kid Thomas gospel on trumpet. What better company could there be to bring out this seldom heard part of Chris’ musicianship? I’m sure that over in the gloryland Kid Bastien will mumble: “That’s the Chris Burke I like.”
The rhythm section of two is amply sufficient to accompany the two horns. Reide’s rich piano style and Colin’s deeply in New Orleans rooted bass playing fit this music like a glove. Just like in the old New Orleans dance halls the repertory consists of a few jazz classics but mostly of popular tunes, some well-known, others completely new to my ears. How many times did you hear the Marty Robbins classic “A White Sport Coat (And A Pink Carnation)” played in New Orleans style? And what about Eddy Arnold’s “Why Should I Cry Over You”. The last time I heard this was by Lionel Ferbos, one of the last survivors of the New Orleans dance halls. Both are sung by Chris in his intimate singing style. Patrick too sings a couple of songs, one of them being “Raining In My Heart” once sung by Buddy Holly, later on by Leo Sayer and I just saw and heard it the other day on a DVD sung by Al Green and Willie Nelson. The most unusual song of this remarkable collection must be “Falling In Love Again”. Frederic Hollander composed it in 1930 for the movie “Der Blaue Engel” (The Blue Angel) with as original title “Ich bin von Kopf bis Fus auf Liebe eingestelt, wherein it was sung by Marlene Dietrich. Later on it became her theme song. The version on this CD is a lovely instrumental with beautiful bowed bass by Colin. As you can hear again once more, New Orleans jazz is a language in which you can say everything you want and not just a collection of all too well known old war horses.
Most of the time Chris plays in the chalumeau, a register in which he is a real master. Patrick’s contributions are on the sweet side of the Kid Thomas sound. Tom Valentine was not only a master of the hot trumpet style but also one of the most lyrical trumpet players in the New Orleans tradition. Don’t forget! Patrick remembers.
This is a CD to listen to in your easy chair with a favourite drink and/or smoke at hand…or to dance to with your loved one. If New Orleans jazz means more to you than a handful of so-called jazz classics played ad infinitum, you SHOULD add this marvellous little record to your collection.
Boxell’s Jazz Website—New Zealand
On this CD (described by bass player, Colin Bray, as 'relaxed) clarinettist ex-pat Brit Chris Burke joins Canadians Reide Kaiser on piano, Patrick Tevlin on trumpet and fellow ex-pat Colin Bray for a session recorded in Toronto.
Now any collector of Jazz Crusade CDs will know, Kaiser & Bray, but Chris Burke, now resident in New Orleans, and Patrick Tevlin are less know outside their own haunts.
My knowledge of Burke, I regret to say comes from the Web, where his is constantly described as 'New Orleans' most authentic old-school clarinettist'. He is also apparently self-taught, and plays both E and B flat Albert systems instruments. If you want to hear the very pleasant sound of this jazzman you need to either visit New Orleans, or scratch around for one of the very few recordings he has appeared on during his long career.
Patrick Tevlin I knew of via Kjeld Brandt of New Orleans Delight, but this is the first time I have heard him play. Originally a trumpet player, like Cliff 'Kid' Bastien he heard Kid Thomas Valentine in New Orleans and built a style around that man's sound. Later he switched to clarinet and tenor sax and joined Bastien in The Happy Pals. On Bastien's death, Tevlin reverted to trumpet and took over the lead of the band.
There are none of the hack standards here. Some of the tunes I have by other jazz bands, but I haven't heard ' I'm Sorry I Made You Cry', 'Raining In My Heart' and 'Love Nest' jazzed up before. My only real complain is the shortness of most of the tracks, as I felt they could have been 'explored' more.
That's the background; so what about the sound?
A clarinet is often called a liquorice stick. Well Burke's playing is pure liquorice in most of its forms. Sweet as Bassett's liquorice log on 'Paradise' and 'Falling In Love Again'. As tasty as a Pontefract cake on 'My Little Girl'. As strong as Dutch drop on 'All I do is dream' (though I hasten to add that Burke never gets past double salt and nowhere near the eye screwing forte salt). This man really is a master of his instrument and varies his playing to fit the mood of the tune.
I am equally impressed by trumpeter Patrick Tevlin. In addition to Kid Thomas, he says he is influenced by DeDe Pierce, Kid Howard, Percy Humphrey and, of course, Kid Bastien. He makes extensive use of mutes and, to me, he has a rather Colyeresque sound at times whilst using them, especially on Derby mute. However, Tevlin's sound is much punchier than The Guv'nor's and distinctly his own man. Tevlin gives several solo breaks and, on the early part of 'Paradise', counters the sweet clarinet with a rasping horn to great effect. The two frontsmen are ably backed by Kaiser and Bray and together they have laid down an album that I have no hesitation in recommending.
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