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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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When Chris Barber split with Ken Colyer, who was resisting almost everything except purist New Orleans, he went on to broaden his musical involvement to many forms of jazz in addition to being a major contributor to the `trad-boom' of the 1950s. `The Best Of Chris Barber' CD embraces those years, and apart from a remarkable multi-take syncopated recording of `The Entertainer' in 1971 all other tracks were recorded between 1955 and 1959 - arguably the best period of Chris Barber's jazz band. At the time with Chris on trombone were Pat Halcox on trumpet/cornet, Monty Sunshine on clarinet, and Ottilie Patterson as a phenomenal blues singer, plus support from banjo, bass and drums (but without piano). Such was the initial successful Barber line-up, and all together this CD demonstrates their abilities to harmoniously amalgamate, to reinforce one another, and to take solos.

The first 13 tracks are studio recordings starting with a powerful and surging `Sweet Georgia Brown' so listeners will immediately appreciate the mastery of Chris Barber on trombone. Following is the popular `Whistlin' Rufus', revealing superb ensemble playing with the peerless interweaving clarinet of Monty Sunshine. Then the next track stars Ottilie Patterson with a moving `I Can't Give You Anything But Love'; and later she displays her widely diverse talents with an up-tempo `I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate', a soulful `Careless Love', a sympathetic `St. Louis Blues' and a solid jazz standard `The Saints'. Monty Sunshine's first solo is `Petite Fleur' which was a deserved success in the `hit-parade', plus a further example as `Hushabye'. However for me the best of Monty's contributions to this CD is the clarinet test-piece within `High Society'. Perhaps the best illustration of Pat Halcox' talent is on `April Showers' or `Everybody Loves My Baby', though these display equally the band's magnificent ensemble and interspersed solo support that exemplifies the 1950s style of Chris Barber's traditional jazz.

The final 7 tracks are live recordings that also exemplify an aspect of the Chris Barber band as these are typical of the music played at concerts. The first, `Sheik Of Araby' includes a Chris Barber vocal, as does `You Rascal You', and together with `Old Kentucky Home' and `Sweet Sue', these are quintessential concert presentations. Applause tends to be cut short on this CD but there is no doubting the appreciation of the audiences. Same goes for Ottilie where she rises to the occasion and is applauded for a magnificent `Lonesome Road', and for Monty with a beautifully lilting `Bill Bailey'. Only `Mood Indigo' seems out of place but this Duke Ellington composition was a regular concert number and always well received - as it is on this CD.

Whoever selected the recordings for this CD and whoever `re-digitised' the sound are each of genius status. All 20 tracks are magnificent and they magnificently establish Chris Barber and his band as the best of the three-piece front line bands associated with traditional revival movements arrival in Britain. Over 50 years later the music of this CD is as fresh as ever and at the forefront of British jazz - Barber is best!
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on 18 November 2008
20 toe-tapping tracks for only £2.98! You can't go wrong and will enjoy the best it can get!!
All the great jazz classics are on here including THE haunting "Petite Fleur" with Monty Sunshine, along with some cracking live tracks AND 6 numbers featuring the fabulous voice of Ottilie Patterson.
If "April Showers" alone doesn't get your feet a jiggin' then you must be a piece of wood........man!
There's not one bad track on this album, which all come from the mid to late 1950's and it finishes with a rousing last track of a live version of "You Rascal You"; so buy it NOW Daddio and get in the groove!
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VINE VOICEon 25 July 2010
A good introduction to Chris Barber - twenty tracks published between 1955 and 1959.

At the price - nothing to complain about, especially if like me you have broad tastes and want CDs covering the whole spectrum of artists so do not want a lot of CDs for each person.
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on 30 November 2010
If you remember that once upon a time you liked stuff like Chris Barber but never bought or hung on to the vinyl, or maybe you have heard people name checking him, then this is an excellent introduction. The bonus is the tremendous vocals by British blues legend Ottilie Patterson. Dirt cheap and worth twice the price.
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on 6 February 2013
Saw him with the band at the Sage, Gateshead the other week.
I have a lot of his music from the old days, 1950s onwards.
This is a great edition, with very good quality recording.
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on 5 September 2009
I bought this album as a gift for my father (who's a real trad jazz fan) I liked it so much I ended up buying a copy for myself too. A real toe tapper!
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on 2 March 2013
The Chris Barber band was almost the first jazz band I heard in the flesh back in the 60s. I think they were playing at 100 Oxford Street and I was an immediate convert. The infectious spirit of those days, Barber's happy uncomplicated style and joy in the music of New Orleans, is well served by this disc. I defy you to play it and not start tapping your toes.
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on 15 May 2012
Jazz as it used to be, Quality music by quality musicians. These guys will always be a part of my memories.
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on 25 January 2016
Only about half the tracks on this CD stem from the peak period of the Barber band, which roughly coincided with Lonnie Donegan‘s stay in the band. Several are later concert recordings which are to strident to let the band‘s characteristic sound be heard. It starts with Barber‘s solo vehicle Sweet Georgia Brown, which is probably included just on that ground, but does not qualify on musical grounds. Then follow severel excellent items, including some with Ottilie Patterson at her best (has there ever been an European jazz singer who is her equal?). After which the quality drops rather sharply.
The sound of the Barber band at its best is immensely satifying, but no collection that does not include Tishomingo Blues, Ugly Child, Wild Cat Blues, Magnolia‘s Wedding Day, Ice Cream and some others can live up to the title of this one.
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on 21 March 2013
Brillant CD.Both myself and the wife are in the age bracket when Chris barber and the band toured the music halls and we would be in the Q for tickets way before the venue date.The mix on this CD is all one could ask for Now our LPs and EP have gone what a chance for the return of the Sat.night hop
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