The Jazz Crusade Audio Sampler Catalog
JCCD-3025: Mainly Morton - Geoff Cole's Red Hot Seven

Personnel:  Geoff Cole [tb], Alan Elsdon [tp], Tony Pyke [rds], Pat Hawes [pn], Eric Webster [bn/g], Ken Matthews [sbs], Chris Marchant [dm]

Songs:
  Beale Street Blues, Good Old New York, Sidewalk Blues, My Home Is In A Southern Town, Sweet Substitute, Burnin' the Iceberg, Jungle Blues, My Gal Sal, Mournful Serenade, The Animule Ball, Dirty Dirty Dirty, Oh! Baby, Someday Sweetheart, Deep Creek, Blue Lou, Don't You Leave Me Here.

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Reviews for:
JCCD-3025: Mainly Morton - Geoff Cole's Red Hot Seven

IAJRC Journal - U. S. A.

Bill Bissonnette is the producer of this fine recording by British musicians brought together by trombonist Geoff Cole to perform tunes that were either written by Jelly Roll Morton, played by his Hot Five or are performed here in the style of the Hot Five. Cole is one of the better trombone players to grace the world today. Alan Elsdon has no peers on the trumpet and Tony Pyke is splendid on his solos and leads on the clarinet and alto saxophone. What a front line!
And the rhythm section is just as good. Pat Hawes is a gem on the piano, especially when he is accompanying the soloists on the front line.
This is, no doubt, one of the better recordings to be released on the Jazz Crusade label and it is most certainly recommended for anyone interested in music that was associated with the great Jelly Roll Morton.
- George Borgman


Kings Jazz Review - England

Come October next, it will be 110 years since the birth of Jelly Roll Morton, pianist, bandleader, composer, performer, improvisor, arranger, impresario, creator of double-times-breaks-figures (riffs), artificer of other mentions, but not here, who not only had stated that he was born five years earlier, but proclaimed that it was he who in 1902 invented jazz, as has KJR proclaimed that Traditional jazz is England's true musical culture, so herewith, let anyone with proof refute those utterings.
It comes with uncanny comfort to me that an American trombonist well versed in New Orleans jazz culture, chooses with confidence to place a tall order on another trombonist, even one who is among the finest in England, to produce a CD on the works of Mr Jelly Roll of New Orleans Creole parentage, who in the mid 20s with his Red Hot Peppers justifiably renowned for classic jazz, was the major producer of music for the Victor Recording Company. By providing on the one hand, and in the taking up of this challenge on the other hand, I will speculate that both trombonists were aware, that the left Jelly Roll piano hand, was a Morton influence and guiding hand of trombone scores, special for his Peppers and musical cadre further afield. Perhaps only two tracks are included which Jelly did not record or have accredited to his name, hence the title of the album, yet, I can envisage 'Shapes Of Morton' if, Don't Say No, Say Maybe or Sweet Baby, What Are You Doing To Me take your pick Oh! Baby, and the other one, Blue Lou had been left out.
The works of Jelly Roll Morton are well documented in Brian Rust's Jazz Records 1897-1942 and are well worth a study.
A great deal of thought and direction has been taken by the Geoff Cole Red Hot Seven, to produce this tour-de-force of such artistic significance, as I sense it, through the first three numbers' variant structures in their recordings; Beale Street (Smoke House Blues) Chicago in the mid 20s, popular with UK traditionalists, here the Hot Seven do make it swing, then Good Old New York New York in 1940, returning to Sidewalk Blues of the whistle and car hooter (Model T !) and the Jelly Roll admonishings, another of the Chicago 20s collection, so instantly, outwith the enjoyment of, one feels as if one is listening to an accomplished Jelly Roll Morton interpretation of high order.
In getting us into the mood for Jelly Roll Morton there are two piano solo numbers; The Animule Ball, a scat song, and Don't You Leave Me Here a 1939 Morton Band, New York recording, which Pat Hawes on the ivories captures, sending out a nice setting. In the following year, Dirty Dirty Dirty, My Gal Sal, My Home Is In A Southern Town undoubtedly New Orleans, and Sweet Substitute were recorded. Furthermore, Mournful Blues by a Morton quartet, and Deep Creek, both having been recorded early on in Jelly's arrival around 1928 to the Big Apple, both beautifully played by the Hot Seven - two truly choice pieces - totally, a fine art, of created trombone, leadership group organizational control.
How can it be in mind? A truly sweet Alan Elsdon trumpet on My Home sent me into imagination, thinking I could hear the voice of Jelly Roll in song coming through and out from the bell of his horn - give tentative listening to it and other numbers alike in the album. Sweet Substitute, yes, true in the good meaning of the word, is sweet, the lilting, lovely-toned clarinet and melodic piano music must not be missed.
Alto burns up the Iceberg - red hot accompanyment, with Eric Webster banjo sounding to good effect, leading nicely into the mellow tones and harmonisation of colours through the lush everglades of Jungle Blues to tip-toe and hush, under a low ceiling in reality, to hear the Marchant and Matthews drums and bass rhythms so nicely warm, so wonderful in the process. Someday Sweetheart with clarinettist Horace Eubanks in the Jelly Roll Jazz Band of 1923 in Chicago, here Tony Pyke with the Geoff Cole Red Hot Seven - early, delicate and wonderful musical sounds all around coming from those jazz artists. The first half of Someday, the second half of Sidewalk, a yarn, a story, a dream for you to ponder together.
"Jazz music is to be played sweet, soft, plenty rhythm. Where you have your plenty rhythm with your plenty swing, it becomes beautiful." Ferd Jelly Roll Morton at the Library of Congress. Although I'd give the Red Hot Seven a more adventurous one word description, but in the context of those Jelly Roll Morton words, I'll say yes, the Mainly Morton album is beautiful.
- Ian King


Geoff Boxell's Jazz Website - New Zealand

Before I say anything else about this CD, let me just get this off my chest: "this CD is fantastic!" Put three of Ken Colyer's best sidemen in a band, add premier trumpeter, Alan Elsdon, season with three excellent players in the rhythm section and you know it has to be good even before the disc spins. Trombone player Geoff Cole and clarinettist (though on this album reeds player), Tony Pyke, I believe were the two front-line players who best complimented Ken Colyer in his New Orleans style Jazzmen. Here they get to vary their style and play some hot jazz, though not quite in the way that Jelly Roll Morton would have done it. According to the cover notes, Big Bill Bissonnette only allowed a quick rehearsal before launching the band into the session. The way they all hang together you would never believe that, though Pyke, Cole and pianist Pat Hawes spent many years together playing with the Gov'nor. That Alan Elsdon was improvising and not playing to an arrangement I can vouch having tapes of him working through the opening track with his own band. Big Bill boasts that he only records 'spontaneous jazz'. This is spontaneous then, but so smooth and stylish, struth it is good. I won't waste any more time extolling this CDs worth. Trust me; it is one of the best on the market and it belongs in every traditional jazz lovers collection. The only thing that worries me is that the cover pictures show how much some of my favourite jazzmen have aged. It made my wife wonder if Geoff Cole is still capable of doing the old soft shoe shuffle he used to do on stage when he played with Ken in the late 60s.
- Geoff Boxell


Jazz Rag - British Magazine

An unusual one, this: a tribute album to Jelly Roll Morton that also includes non-Morton tunes played by an English band recorded in London by a Connecticut-based jazz label. Its 16 tracks include classic Morton compositions like Burnin' The Iceberg, Jungle Blues and Mournful Serenade as well as some that he merely played (Someday Sweetheart, Beale Street Blues), some that he only referred to at other sessions (My Gal Sal] and some that he never recorded at all (Blue Lou and Oh! Baby}'. The set is purely interpretative, eschewing straight imitation in favour of a swing approach that retains the flavour of the original while keeping the music contemporary. It's a wonderful cacophony of rowdy jazz notes from Geoff Cole and Alan Elsdon (trumpets), Tony Pyke (clarinet and alto sax). Pat Hawes (piano, and a wonderful soloist on The Animule Ball and Don't You Leave Me Here), Eric Webster (banjo and guitar). Ken Matthews (string bass). Chris Marchant (some very steady drums) and a ghostly, archival Jelly Roll himself on Sidewalk Blues and Dirty Dirty Dirty.These musicians are much more than competent, and succeed in delivering a real ragtime performance.
- Jeremy Isaac


Jazz Journal - British Magazine

Good to find recording producer and label owner Bill Bissonnette relaxing, ever so slightly, his rigidly purist 'spontaneous' approach to New Orleans jazz on his Crusade albums. He even broke house rules to allow this band one rehearsal this time in deference to the often detailed structure and sophistication of Morton's music.
Geoff Cole, a talented and experienced trombonist, wisely makes no attempt to copy the original Peppers orchestrated arrangements. Instead he decided to approach a spread of Morton material in the way the Ory band of the fifties might have done-an interesting and workable idea which retains the basic New Orleans character of the music, and honors the rich harmonies of the chord structures, whilst loosening up and simplifying the sound somewhat in the more unrestricted native New Orleans idiom.
Alan Elsdon proves an excellent choice for trumpet. No stranger to Morton's music-he was playing it over 40 years ago with Cy Laurie- his accurate rendering of the melody line in classics such as Sidewalk Blues, and his controlled but expressive phrasing (e.g. a lovely muted solo in Deep Creek) help the band to get quite close at times to the feel of Morton's music. Equally impressively Pat Hawes plays tastefully throughout, evoking rather than strictly copying Morton's style. The second of his two solos. Don't You Leave Me Here, is a gem which gets to the heart of Morton's music, and makes an ideal album closer. Oh! Baby and the swing classic Blue Low, surprising choices for an essentially Morton album, work well enough but in an Ory-ish rather than Morton-ish way. The later, 1940 material is a good idea, and Southern Town is an outstanding track all round. All very enjoyable and the best album I've heard yet on the Crusade label.
- Hugh Rainey


American Rag - U. S. A.

The chief soloists on the 71 minute Mainly Morton disc - trumpeter Alan Elsdon, clarinetist Tony Pyke, trombonist Geoff Cole and pianist Pat Hawes - are all established veterans ofthe British Dixieland scene, each of whom lives up to his enviable reputation on this 11 /2/96 studio date. The rhythm team - banjo/guitarist Eric Webster, string bassist Ken Matthews and drummer Chris Marchant - lays down a propulsive thumpy 4/4 that heads straight for the goal line. Put them together and you've got a first-rate septet that bows somewhat toward Kid Dry's postwar downtown New Orleans-style combo as it funks through a well-chosen program of 4 tunes (plus two unaccompanied solos by Hawes), most of which are from the Morton discography.
There aren't that many downtown style bands around these days, let alone good ones. Morton, of course, was a downtowner himself, so it's refreshing to hear his stuff played in that mode by a band that stays within the idiom without trying to recreate Jelly's classic sides. The Red Hot Seven make sure to include some less-familiar Morions, nailing most of them to the wall: "Deep Creek" is a lovely soulful blues; "Dirty Dirty Dirty" has plenty of bite; and "Good Old New York" stomps like mad.
'Muff said. This is a no-nonsense lowdown outfit that knows what it's doing and how to do it Five stars.
- Tex Wyndhan


AMG **** Review - U. S. Jazz Guide

Eventually dying insensate and alone, Jelly Roll Morton was bombastic, egocentric, somewhat free with the truth, an unashamed self-promoter - and nonetheless a true giant of jazz as both a performer and composer. To honor this jazz pioneer, the Connecticut-based Jazz Crusade label has brought together a band of top-flight contemporary traditional jazz players for a Morton tribute session. Mainly Morton includes not only Morton compositions, but also songs he didn't write but liked to play, as well as songs he neither wrote nor performed but liked to talk about anyway. The leader of this fine group is trombonist Geoff Cole, who has been part of England's jazz scene since the 1950s. Steeped in the musical parlance of traditional jazz, Cole and his cohorts offer more than 71 minutes of music by Morton and others. Through the wizardry of modern dubbing techniques, the Jelly Roll man sings and whistles on some cuts like his "Sidewalk Blues" and an enthusiastic, humorous "Dirty, Dirty, Dirty." In addition to capturing the excitement and discipline of a typical Morton-led small jazz group, Cole's interpretations highlight the fact that the man was a forerunner in bringing jazz music to a higher level of sophistication than the genre had heretofore experienced. Listen, for example, to the complex (for that time) structure of "My Home Is in a Southern Town," with its interplay of trumpet, trombone, clarinet, piano, and rhythm section.
The players take full advantage of the many opportunities that Morton's brand of small group provided for soloing. Tony Pyke's clarinet is special on "Someday Sweetheart." Pat Hawes is alone on piano on "Don't You Leave Me Here." Alan Elsdon plays the hot trumpet the music demands, but he shows that he also has a soft side with his muted solo on "Sweet Substitute." As leader, Cole exercises his prerogative to take several solos, all of them interesting and tasteful (as on "Beale Street Blues"). Eric Webster on guitar, and especially banjo, is essential in recreating the sound of Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers. This is an entertaining session of excellent playing by outstanding practitioners of the art of jazz. The album is enriched by the authoritative liner notes by Big Bill Bissonnette, himself a distinguished performer of this music.
- Dave Nathan


Cadence Magazine - U. S. A.

Geoff Cole's Mainly Morion brings us almost four decades down the road of the music's evolution. In his liner notes, producer Bill Bissonnette refers to a split within the traditional community between those who dedicate themselves to faithful renderings of traditional scores, treating the music as a classical music, and those who use the material for more freewheeling performances. Yet, the result of these two schools is not always what you might expect. Those who apply a scholarly be-true-to-your-score approach often render performances that unveil subtleties in the music that help listeners hear the originals anew. While those who just use the pieces as book-ends for^olos often resort to the same hoary formulas, rather than anything fresh.
As he makes clear, Cole's "Red Hot Seven" use Morion's work, and tunes Morton worked over, as the starting point for "spontaneous" performances. Of course, being spontaneous on such well-trod material is, as indicated above, a challenge. Basically, as do most other traditionalists, Cole's Hot Seven is content to rearrange the formulas of the style. This is a solid effort, offering not so much a new look at this material as much as revisiting it. And material of this quality deserves to be revisited.
- David Lewis


Jazzitude.com - U. S. Internet Magazine

Trombonist Geoff Cole is a native of Exeter, England, and has been playing since the 1950s. After moving to London, Cole landed a position with the famous Ken Colyer Jazzman group, which he held for 10 years. He joined Georgia Jazz, later becoming the band's leader, and toured with Brian White's Magna Jazz Band before forming his own Hot Five. Cole's group has recorded a number of CDs, including tributes to Jelly Roll Morton and Fats Waller, but this set, recorded in 1995 at the Pizza Express in Maidstone, England, is a particularly hot session by the band.
Cole has listened to Ory inside and out, and he is an interpreter, not an impersonator. Rather than attempt to merely sound like Ory (which he certainly does, at times) he tries to think like him, to offer interpretations that evoke Ory without slavishly imitating him. He is quite successful in this, and though some of the arrangements here are all Ory, Cole does not offer note-for-note solos or ensemble passages. The opening salvo, "Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula," of which Ory's version is definitive, lets you know right away that you are in the company of some wonderful musicians and will be having an enjoyable time in their company.
Most of the tracks included here are either Ory compositions or were recorded and widely performed by Ory, but there are a few interesting exceptions. "White Cliffs of Dover" is included because, as Big Bill Bissonnette recounts in his liner notes, all of England was celebrating the 50th anniversary of VE day on the very date of this recording session. The performance is exceptional, embracing the New Orleans spirit as well as evoking the melancholy tinge of the song. Cole and clarinetist Tony Pyke, who played together for many years in the Colyer band, play with something bordering on telepathy, echoing the ability possessed by many early New Orleans musicians to improvise incredible ensemble passages together that are beyond the ability of many of today's formally trained jazzmen.
Pianist Pat Hawes, who has also played with Brian White's bands, is also in fine form here, as evidenced by his fine work on "Song of the Wanderer." For those who don't think that traditional jazz can be subtle or evoke a variety of moods besides the raucous "party-mode" overplayed by less skillful outfits, the range of dynamics and emotions here will be a revelation. This is a band that can offer more introspective playing to go right alongside the jubilation. Cole is clearly a musician with a great deal of intelligence and maturity who has studied his instrument and the music of the great early jazz players and is capable of putting his own spin on the music while still treating it with respect.
Do What Ory Say is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys jazz, and outstanding trombone playing in particular. You don't even have to be much of a trad jazz fan to enjoy this one-the quality of this performance is obvious to anyone with ears.
- Marshall Bowden


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