on 6 July 2002
Mutt Carey (1891 - 1948) was one of the great New Orleans trumpeters of the pre - Armstrong era. Strongly influenced by King Oliver he was a master of the muted trumpet and an unflashy ensemble player laying down a firm lead and offering the occasional terse incisive solo. He was the trumpeter on the first recordings made by a black jazz band, the 1922 "Spikes Seven Pods of Pepper" recordings (on the Classics "Kid Ory 1922 - 1945 CD), but recorded little before the 1940s. Much of his subsequent career was spent playing with Kid Ory on the West Coast.
This CD is a magnificent compilation of tracks from Carey's final years as a leading light of the 1940s New Orleans revival. Tracks 1 - 8 feature Carey with the Ory band from 1945 on the Exner & Decca labels, and demonstrate what a fine driving ensemble it was. Carey's trumpet is heard to particularly good effect playing the classic Oliver solo in "Dippermouth Blues". Tracks 9 - 14 find Carey accompanying Texas blues singer & pianist Hociel Smith on tracks made for Circle in 1946. Carey sounds rather ill at ease here.
Tracks 1 - 14 have been released on CD before. The primary reason for buying this CD is found in tracks 15 - 24, the classic "Mutt Carey and his New Yorkers" recordings made in November 1947 for the Century label. Carey was joined by the "This is Jazz" radio show line up of Jimmy Archey, Albert Nicholas (or Edmund Hall), Danny Barker, Pops Foster and Baby Dodds, with one of two stride pianists, Hank Duncan or Cliff Jackson. These long unavailable tracks are among the finest of the New Orleans revival, ranking with the 1946-46 Ory recordings and Bunk Johnson's American Music and Last Testament sessions. Baby Dodds is predicably magnificent and is well enough recorded for this to be appreciated. Nicholas is at his bittersweet creole best, but the star is Carey. Perhaps feeling liberated after quitting the Ory band, he is in superb form throughout, providing a strong lead on up-tempo numbers such as "Cake Walkin' Babies" "Fidgety Feet" and "Indiana". A particular highlight is "Slow Drivin'", a six minute blues featuring fine plunger-muted choruses from Carey. The other noteworthy feature of these recordings is that they feature three ragtime pieces from Stark's "Red Back Book" orchestrations. This version of The Entertainer" makes an interesting contrast with Bunk Johnson's version in the "Last Testament" sessions and with Tony Parenti's "Ragtimer" sessions.
Sound quality is fine, and at 78 minutes and with detailed and erudite notes by Mike Pointon, this is a model re-issue from the British company Upbeat Records. Strongly recommended for all interested in New Orleans jazz.
on 29 April 2002
This album shows a departure from the 'norm' by Upbeat,in as much this music, by Papa Mutt Carey come from the American jazz scene of the late forties and not from an English trad bands as is norm. by Upbeat.
This is no detriment. These rare tracks by Papa Mutt from the Exner and Century labels are some root influences that gave us British revivalist and traditional jazz.
For many years unavailable, and never as far as I know, in CD format, the music that Papa Mutt was making in the mid forties proved to be his 'swan song' for in 1948, the jazz world lost one of the remaining legends and links with the Buddy Bolden era of New Orlans music.
The music that Mutt Carey made in the last years of his life was to influence many,many budding British musicians. Mutt's trumpet style was reminiscent of that of Nick La Rocca and not so much of that of Buddy Bolden. No matter, this was the birth of the jazz we all know and love.
For thise that still cheris their battered 78's of this stuff, now's that chance to hear the music
in new Millenium Fi. For those who haven't got this, then get your order in quick. The music that Mutt recorded byt his own band and that of Kid Ory, still sounds fresh today.
As a bonus, there are tracks with Mutt Carey accompanying singer Hocial Thoma. Rare records indeed.
As I say, this could well be voted the re-issue of the year.
Bill Waterfield, Northampton. May 2002