Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hi Folks.

I thought I would catch up on a bit of blogging today. As yet we cannot be sure about this Thursdays Jazz at Hedsor, we await the snow tomorrow to see if all is passable. I hope that it will be, as I for one am absolutely fed up with the cold white stuff that has been around for too long now, and would like to meet you good jazz fans again!

I read in “Cookham Blogger” that Clive Davis has given up doing a blog about village life because it is taking up too much time. I know how he feels because writing even my mean blog takes an hour or so, and it’s obvious that I don’t always get a good input into it due to the time constraint. And Clive still has a living to earn! So, well done Clive for doing such a good job for such a long time.

And so to my mean effort.

I thought that as I had suggested that you all sit down and listen to recorded jazz at home whilst drinking a large scotch, I had better write up some of what I have been listening to.

The first thing wasn’t jazz at all, but I hadn’t listened to it before. Vaughan Williams “Hodie” is a Christmas Cantata, and I listened over the bleak week to a reissue on the EMI Classics label. It is a choral work with Orchestral accompaniment, with solo singers and obviously a choir. The recording was made in 1965 with The LSO, Janet Baker, Richard Lewis, John Shirley-Quirk and the choristers of Westminster Abbey, all conducted by David Willcocks. Even though an old (for classical recordings) recording, it is defiantly a vibrant recording. Written and first performed in 1954 it is still a modern piece, using old Christmas Carols, and poetry to form a magnificent celebration of the time of year (Hodie meaning “This Day”). The orchestral accompaniment reminded me very much of VW’s “Symphonia Antarctica” music, which was written originally for the Film “Scott of the Antarctic” in 51. It has that chill about it, and that air of cold awe. I can heartily recommend it, especially if you haven’t , like me, heard it before. EMI Classics 7243 5 67427 2 7. Yes really! Do they really need all those numbers to identify the work?

And so to Jazz.

Over the years I have come to realise that certain labels are a good bet. To name but one obvious one, “Blue Note”. But there is some great music, and musicians, signed with lesser known labels, and I want to write about just one today, Arbors Records “Arbors Jazz”.

I know that I have talked about some of them before, but I realise that I do have quite a number out on my shelves that have been listened to in the last few weeks, and that has been without disturbing the racks of CD’s looking for more. So, not yet put away are:-

Eddie Erickson and his International Swing Band: I’m Old Fashioned ARCD 19373. He plays Banjo and Guitar, and sings. You may not have heard of many of his stars, but Trombonist Bill Allred is a phenomenal player, and Antti Sarpila on reeds is another well recognised player originally from Finland. The music is 1930’s style, and great fun.

Duke Heitger, Berndl Hotzky: Doin’ The Voom Voom ARCD19382
Is a whole set of trumpet piano duets, harking back to Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines in flavour, but without copying. To do it properly requires great skill, and these two have it in spades. Tunes by Gershwin, Ellington, James P Johnson and Edward Elgar. Yes E E has “Salut d’Amour” played as a finale.

John Allred, Jeff Barnhart, Danny Coots: “The ABC’s of Jazz” ARCD 19371 is just wonderful tuneful swinging jazz, played by guys who don’t have to think how to, they just do! John Allred is the trombone playing son of the father on ARCD 19373. Jeff Barnhart is a great stride piano player, and Danny Cooks is a pretty good modern drummer. The style is again easy swing, The solo’s virtuosic, and the tunes are all ones you have heard before. BUT have you ever heard the clarinet solo from High Society played by a trombone before? Terrific.

Marty Grosz: Hot Winds, The Classic Sessions ARCD 19379 finds a bunch of largely New York based musicians playing “Hot Music”. Marty is a great Guitar and Banjo player, often associated with Eddie Condon style music. Hot Music? Well, Marty says on the sleeve “I’ve been working on a definition for the past sixty years and I still haven’t gotten it into final form. About the closest I have come is that you know it when you hear it” Well, you can hear it here. It is also great fun, as anyone who has seen and heard Marty Live, will know it has to be. With him (amongst a varied cast) is another real character muso Scott Robinson, who is even heard playing C-Melody Sax!

Lastly, one for the children. Randy Sandke’s “Jazz for Juniors” ARCD 19385 is a mixed mode CD which can be played on a PC as well as a CD Player. Doing so will get you the cartoons! It’s really a kind of “Peter and the Wolf” introducing young people to the instruments and the use of them in Jazz. Well thought out, and with great lyrics. Randy is a superb Trumpet player, and is joined by, amongst others, Wycliffe Gordon on Trombone and Howard Alden on Guitar.

So there you have it. Arbors Jazz, a label to be reckoned with, and certainly listened to. And there are lots more, do look them out.

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