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Reviews Written by
Barry McCanna (Normandy, France)
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Dulux Weathershield Exterior Gloss 750ml Highland Green
Dulux Weathershield Exterior Gloss 750ml Highland Green
Offered by ZigZag trading ltd
Price: £21.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TOUCH OF THE HIGHLANDS IN NORMANDY, 20 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I needed this to paint the shutters of our longere in Normandy. It was a joy to use, and the colour Highland Green is absolutely stunning. Highly recommended,.


Hamp's Big Band Play
Hamp's Big Band Play
Price: £13.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FOUR_SEVENTHS BIG BAND, REMAINDER SEXTET, 3 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Hamp's Big Band Play (Audio CD)
Lionel Hampton was a dynamic performer who pioneered the use of the vibraphone in jazz, and was equally at home on drums and piano. His percussive style coupled with his exuberant personality guaranteed exhilarating performances, whether as part of a small group or leading a large orchestra (as he had done since 1940). That said, "Hamp's Big Band Play" (Jasmine JASMCD 2613) is somewhat misleadingly titled, because the so-called bonus tracks feature a sextet. Before going any further, it’s pertinent to mention also that the self-same selection was included in Avid’s 2-CD set “Lionel Hampton: Three Classic Albums Plus” (AMSC 1093).

The first twelve tracks were originally recorded in April 1959, released as an Audio Fidelity album, and later reissued by RCA. The band comprised 19 musicians, amongst them a six-piece trumpet section which included Cat Anderson, whose stratospheric trumpet can be clearly discerned. The selection kicks off with “Flying Home” and includes several of Hamp’s other regular showstoppers, but there’s nothing stale about their rendition. The remaining tracks carry no detail, but are drawn from an earlier Audio Fidelity album “Lionel … Plays Drums, Vibes, Piano” which was recorded in August 1957 with Bobby Plater on flute, alto, tenor & clarinet, Oscar Dennard on piano, Billy Mackel on guitar, Julius Brown on bass and Wilbert Hogan on drums. Needless to say, given the origins of this compilation, the stereo sound quality is excellent throughout.


Four Classic Albums Plus (A Monday Date / Paris One Night Stand / Earl s Pearls / The Incomparable Earl 'Fatha' Hines)
Four Classic Albums Plus (A Monday Date / Paris One Night Stand / Earl s Pearls / The Incomparable Earl 'Fatha' Hines)
Price: £8.18

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A SUPERB REISSUE, 18 Feb. 2015
The LPs that make up Earl Hines: Four Classic Albums Plus (Avid AMSC 1152) span a period of eight years. The earliest “The Incomparable Earl Hines” was recorded in 1954 and issued on TOPS, and features him with a sextet on 5 tracks, pared down to bass and drums for the remainder. “Paris One Night Stand” followed in 1957, featured him accompanied by local drummer and bassist and was issued on Phillips. “Earl’s Pearls” came out in 1960 on MGM, with guitar, bass and drums, and “A Monday Date” was released on Riverside the following year, with a traditional six-piece line-up, including trombonist Jimmy Archey, clarinettist Darnell Howard, and Pops Foster on bass. Hines’ career was in the doldrums at this time, but you’d never guess it listening to his brilliant playing, with its underlying rhythmic drive and clear melodic lines. This is timeless jazz, played with supreme authority by a master of the keyboard.


Four Classic Albums Plus (Harry James And His New Swingin Band / Harry James Today / Harry James Plays Neal Hefti / The Spectacular Sound Of Harry James)
Four Classic Albums Plus (Harry James And His New Swingin Band / Harry James Today / Harry James Plays Neal Hefti / The Spectacular Sound Of Harry James)
Price: £7.67

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A HEFTY SLICE OF JAMES, 18 Feb. 2015
Harry James: Four Classic Albums Plus (AVID AMSC 1149) is made up of four and a half albums (“Requests on the Road” being the A side of that LP), all recorded in stereo by MGM in the early sixties. Harry James had a bravura style and a golden tone that marked his playing as instantly identifiable, and he adapted in the early forties to a more melodic style which extended his appeal to a mass audience. That was seen by some as commercialisation, then anathema to serious students of jazz, but he defied his critics by becoming one of the great survivors of the swing era. These recordings retain that accessibility, and provide exciting big band jazz arrangements, recorded in stunning hi-fidelity.


George Chisholm: The Gentleman of Jazz - A Centenary Tribute His 48 Finest
George Chisholm: The Gentleman of Jazz - A Centenary Tribute His 48 Finest
Price: £10.77

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TERRIFIC TROMBONIST, 12 Feb. 2015
George Chisholm was a master of the trombone, capable of ranging from a melodious tone in slow ballads to a biting attack in up-tempo numbers, and with a musical versatility that saw him in constant demand despite changing musical tastes. That ability to appeal across the board found him in exalted company, not least when he toured Holland in 1937 with Benny Carter, rubbing shoulders with Coleman Hawkins. The following year he recorded with the American clarinettist Danny Polo’s Swing Stars, even more memorably with a visiting Fats Waller, made the first recordings under his own name, and joined the ranks of Ambrose & his Orchestra, then the premier British dance band. All this by the age of just 24! I could continue enumerating his progression, but it’s set out in detail in Digby Fairweather’s knowledgeable liner note, which enhanced my enjoyment of a kaleidoscopic and highly enjoyable compilation. The first CD covers the period 1937 to 1944, and the second runs from 1947 to 1962, and sound quality is excellent.


Remembering
Remembering
Price: £16.34

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ECHOES OF A GREAT ENTERTAINER, 30 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Remembering (Audio CD)
Josephine Baker "Remembering" (JASCD 767) is a melange of 57 recordings on two CDs, which unfortunately lacks recording details. As far as I can determine those on the first CD are pre-war, and if so the probable recording dates are as follows:

track 1: late 1926
track 2: January 1927 with Jacob's Jazz
tracks 3 to 16 date from July 1930 with Melodic-Jazz du Casino de Paris (7 is a duet) 17 & 18 date from March 1933
20 & 21 date from November 1932 (20 is a duet)
23 dates from August 1935 accompanied by The Comedian Harmonists
24 dates from November 1936 with the Lecuona Cuban Boys
25 dates from March 1937 with Wal-Berg & his Orchestra
26 dates from January 1939 ditto (as also does 1 on CD 2)

I assume that the remainder of the second CD is post-war, and probably features the orchestra of Jo Duval on a number of the tracks. The final track is an oddity, a rendition of the risqué calypso song "Don't Touch My Tomatoes". The twenties recordings sound primitive, in terms of not just of recording, but also vocal and accompaniment, and although things improved in all three categories as time progressed the fact remains that Josephine Baker was never a great singer. She had a good range, but her voice was inclined to shrillness in the upper register, but she was primarily an entertainer whom audiences paid to see, and in the absence of that visual aspect we must focus on sound rather than sight. As intimated, I'd like to have seen more detail included, not merely in terms of a discography, but also the liner note, which barely scratches the surface of her life.


What is This Thing Called Love
What is This Thing Called Love
Price: £12.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MAJOR BUT UNDER-APPRECIATED TALENT, 30 Jan. 2015
Lorez Alexandria "What is this Thing Called Love" (Jasmine JASCD 772) is a 2-CD set of four vinyl albums, namely "The Band Swings - Lorez Sings" and "Singing Songs Everyone Knows" (both 1959), "Early in the Morning" (1960) and "Sing no Sad Songs for Me" (1961). Critic Will Friedwald summed up Lorez as a major talent but with an unfortunately minor career, and the evidence available here is overwhelmingly in favour of that judgement. The first album (her third) fully lives up to its title, with Lorez swinging throughout against a full but uncredited orchestra. The second is equally anonymous as to accompaniment and falls into the familiar Great American Songbook territory. The 1960 album teamed her with a group led by pianist Ramsey Lewis, singing ten slow songs, a mixture of ballads and blues. In contrast, the final album had her backed with a full string section. Hers was an extremely attractive voice, which is eminently listenable, sadly not something that can be said of all female vocalists. It's a delightful compilation, which should spread appreciation of her talents to a wider audience.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 30, 2015 9:36 PM GMT


Wilbur De Paris & His 'New' New Orleans Jazz
Wilbur De Paris & His 'New' New Orleans Jazz
Price: £10.55

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A VERY GENEROUS HELPING OF MUSTARD, 30 Jan. 2015
Beginning in the early twenties, Wilbur de Paris served a long apprenticeship with a number of first-rate groups, including those of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, while his trumpeter brother Sidney forged a parallel path, taking in McKinney’s Cotton Pickers and Benny Carter en route. The pair combined their talents during the forties, beginning as the Rampart Street Stompers, and secured a contract with Atlantic Records in 1952. Wilbur then assumed leadership, and restyled the group as his “New” New Orleans Jazz, and this compilation samples a total of twelve vinyl albums recorded over a period of nine years. This was a first-rate group, which played both traditional standards and contemporary tunes with great zest, and the authority derived from decades of playing. Just to take one example, clarinettist Omer Simeon had participated in Jelly Roll Morton’s 1928 recording of “Shreveport Stomp”, and its recreation is a stunning performance. The brothers played an important role in the revival of interest in traditional jazz, and were an influence on many of the UK revival bands. This is a very welcome reissue of their work, beautifully remastered with a full discography and an informative liner note.


Happy
Happy
Price: £44.96

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HISTORIC EARLY DANCE BAND RECORDINGs, 30 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Happy (Audio CD)
The general assumption is that perfection is unattainable, but some pursue that ideal regardless. That select few includes the producers of Archeophone Records, whose latest release ISHAM JONES: “Happy” (Archeophone 6008) presents the first 37 recordings which his Rainbo Orchestra made for Brunswick in 1920. This was at a time when popular music was undergoing a transformation from sedate waltzes to the raucous strains of jazz. Other dance bands were picking up on the novelty aspects as exemplified by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, but Jones eschewed those effects in favour of a disciplined and coherent approach to the music. Which is not to say that the music lacks vitality; on the contrary Jones’ arrangements enable the full tonal range of his group to be displayed to full advantage. That, coupled with the standard of his musicians, produced a standard of excellence that other contemporary groups had yet to attain. Apart from Jones’ own playing, David Sagar’s highly informative liner note mentions also trombonist Carroll Martin, whose rapid tonguing produced machine-gun like solos that defy belief, and tuba player John Kuhn, to which I would add Joe Frank’s extremely capable drumming. All of which can be heard clearly on this compilation, which should be an essential acquisition for all American dance band enthusiasts.


East of the Sun
East of the Sun
by Julia Gregson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars LACKING IN AUTHENTICITY, 4 Jan. 2015
This review is from: East of the Sun (Paperback)
It's not unknown for the author of a novel set in the past to seek to impart a spurious authenticity by means of cultural references. Which is where a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Ms. Gregson's novel begins in 1928, and she displays her lack of research as soon as page 20, when Rose met Mike at Flavia's 21st at the Savile Club in London, and they'd been "bouncing around the floor together to the New Orleans Rhythm Kings". The Savile Club was a gentleman's club in Brook Street, Mayfair; the New Orleans Rhythm Kings was an American jazz band which never left those shores and which broke up in the mid-twenties.

Later, the central characters embark from Tilbury Docks on the ss Kaiser-i-Hind. This was a liner that plied the route to India, so so far so good. But the letter from the captain invites them to dancing each night to the Savoy Havana Band. This is probably predicated on the fact that this famous band toured South Africa, but that took place in 1926, and they arrived there by way of Australia. Another improbability is that Tor unpacks a horn gramophone from her cabin trunk! Leaving aside the impracticality of such an event, by the late twenties horn gramophones had been supplanted by the picnic model.

This wouldn't be so bad if the novel itself had been outstanding, but its plot was implausible and hopelessly romantic.


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