Carrick [cl, tsx], Derek Winters [tp], Chas Hudson [tb], Mike Lunn [pn],
Mike Cox [bj] Bill Cole [sbs], Guy Fenton [dm]
Songs: You Don’t Understand, East Coast Trot, Riverside Blues,
Everywhere You Go, It Happened In Bali Bali, Let the Great Big World Keep
Turning, It’s Only A Paper Moon, I Don’t See Me In Your Eyes Anymore,
Over the Waves, Springtime In the Rockies, Cryin’ Time, Mama Inez, Anytime,
Pass Me Not Oh Gentle Savior, Love Letters In the Sand, Dreamy Moon Over
Indiana [Algiers Waltz], Who’s Sorry Now.
“Everywhere You Go” - Brian Carrick’s Algiers Stompers
Just Jazz Magazine - England
Less than a year ago I reviewed another CD by this band (that one was
on the P.E.K. label) in this magazine. I could make it easy for myself
and refer you to that review and say: "More of the same by this great
outfit, but different tunes. Grab it!", but I don't expect the readers
to go and look for that copy of The Jazz Gazette to find that review.
So, please forgive me for repeating myself somewhat.
The name of this band is a program! Everyone more or less familiar with
this music knows that the Algiers Stompers were Kid Thomas Valentine's
band, one of the very best groups in New Orleans history. Is Brian's band
trying to make a carbon copy of the Kid Thomas sound. No they don't! What
they do is try to capture the spirit of that legendary band and they succeed
in a wonderful way. They did it on the previous album, they do it again
on this one, recorded less than a year later.
Derek Winters, the trumpet player, is most certainly not a Kid Thomas
copyist. His tone is totally different and so is his phrasing. Chas Hudson
on trombone combines the hot and the sweet like Louis Nelson did, but
he does it his own way. Brian himself has that bitter-sweet quality on
clarinet that made his idol, George Lewis, world famous. The fact that
he plays one of George's clarinets adds an almost mystical element. On
the tenor sax he reminds us of both Manny Paul and Andrew Morgan, but
again succeeds in sounding altogether very different. Mike Lunn is a master
in the New Orleans style of piano playing in the great tradition of legends
like Joe James, Sing Miller and Alton Purnell. Mike Cox reminds me of
Manny Sayles, especially by the way he ends his few solos. Bill Cole is
the only new man in the band, although "new man" is not the
best description for someone who has played with Kid Thomas, Manny Paul
and George Lewis! Guy Fenton is a drummer who plays for the benefit of
the band and that's exactly how the wizards of New Orleans drums (Baby
Dodds, Cie Frazier, Sammy Penn) did it before him.
When one reads (reluctantly I must say) reviews of rock and pop CD's or
interviews with the makers of that music, periods of six months to one
year in the studio are considered as the normal time to record a CD full
of songs. It's no wonder that they need all kind of electronic gimmicks
and playback systems to reproduce the music of their records at a public
performance. This CD was recorded in just one day and I'm sure that there
was some material left that couldn't be included for technical reasons.
This is a studio recording, the previous one was a live recording, if
I remember well. Makes no difference for this kind of music. What you
hear at a concert is exactly the same music you hear on their records.
Maybe there are more old war-horses played in concert than in a studio,
because the audience expects and demands them. What I'm trying to say
is that this is honest music, straight from the heart, no gimmicks, no
big ego's, no playing for the gallery. This is New Orleans music like
it was played years ago in the shabby dance halls of the Crescent City.
When I look at the tunes on this CD, there are only two that can be considered
real jazz tunes, "Riverside Blues" (composed by Thomas Dorsey
and Richard M. Jones and made famous by King Oliver's recording) and "East
Coast Trot" a tune written by Junie Cobb in the twenties. All the
others belong to the wide field of popular music. The sky is the limit!That
was also the way the repertory of the New Orleans dance bands was. We
have a country & western song here by Buck Owens ""Crying
Time" (remember Kid Sheik's recording of that one?), there is an
old Mexican waltz ("Over The Waves") brought into New Orleans
early in the century by a touring Mexican orchestra, recorded by George
Lewis and made world famous again as "The Loveliest Night Of The
Year" by Mario Lanza! There is "Mama Inez", a Latin tune
which I first heard on a Kid Thomas record, there is a haunting love song
"I Don't See Me In Your Eyes Anymore", played here in a beautifully
romantic way. There is that great hymn "Pass Me Not Oh Gentle Saviour"
which I first heard sang by Sing Miller with the Humphrey Brothers Band
at Preservation Hall. There are also TWO slow waltzes - my cup runs over!
- the first one "When It's Springtime In The Rockies"(1930)
ending up in 4/4, the second one "Dreamy Moon Of Indiana", better
known to us as "Algiers Waltz" (a great Kid Thomas favorite)
played all the way in 3/4 time. There is "Everywhere You Go",
dating back to 1927, then revived by Guy Lombardo and a hit for Doris
Day in 1949. We know it of course from the recording by the Louis James
Band in 1967. There's "On The Beach at Bali Bali", a 1936 pop
song, we only heard played by Dan Pawson, the world's specialist in discovering
unusual material for his New Orleans style bands.
All these tunes are played like the Kid Thomas Algiers Stompers played
them - or could have played them - many years ago in a dance hall on the
other side of the river. Brian Carrick plays more tenor sax than clarinet
on this CD. Kid Thomas had a saxophone in his bands most of the time instead
of a clarinet; sometimes he had both. Brian sings "Crying Time"
in an appropriate sad way, Derek sings "Bali Bali". To me this
kind of band is the salt of the earth. They keep alive a sound of New
Orleans, not often enough recorded when it was flourishing. Without them
my musical world would be much poorer. I just can't have enough of it!
If you feel like me, so can't you!
- Marcel Joly
English clarinet player Brian Carrick and his countrymen pay tribute
to New Orleans jazz legend Kid Thomas Valentine by borrowing the name
of Valentine's group, the Algiers Stompers for 70 minutes of traditional
New Orleans jazz. Algiers, now absorbed into New Orleans, was once a separate
city with its own tradition and Kid Thomas Valentine was an integral part
of it. Alternating between exuberance and poignancy Carrick's group lends
their talents to 17 tunes running the spectrum from familiar New Orleans
tunes such as "Mama Inez", to those not normally associated
with New Orleans such as "Springtime in the Rockies". Irrespective
of the source, every cut has the feel of traditional jazz. Although Brian
Carrick is the leader, it's the trombone of Chas Hudson that comes out
on top. If a trombone can be sweet, Hudson comes as close you can get
on "Springtime in the Rockies". Similarly the talking trombone
opening to "Love Letters in the Sand" sets the tone for everyone
who follows. Muted trumpet by Derek Winters helps make this track one
of the album's favorites. Hudson and Carrick work together beautifully
on "I Don't See Me in Your Eyes Anymore". Recognizing the important
role old time religion played in New Orleans music, "Pass Me Not
Oh Gentle Saviour" made the play list. Everyone has a lot of fun
with "It's Only a Paper Moon" where Carrick's clarinet takes
on the role it played in New Orleans jazz, playing counter to the melody
line which is carried here by Derek Winters.
These exceptional musicians from across the ocean are further proof why
this type of jazz will likely live as long as jazz is played. Recommended.
- Dave Nathon
Boxell's Jazz Website
Brian Carrick appears on several CDs in my collection playing with bands
from The Ken Colyer Trust Band to the Heritage Hall Stompers, to playing
with Greg Stafford. Now I have him leading the Algiers Stompers.
Brian is a skilled reedsman playing an ex-George Lewis clarinet, Alto
and tenor saxes on this CD. To back him, he has gathered a group of similarly
talented and dedicated jazzmen to play a relaxed style of New Orleans
jazz that, as the cover notes say, is 'music to dance to'.
I was delighted to find that the CD contains many tunes that are either
rarely played or even downright neglected. All the numbers are beautifully
played, with Dick Winters on trumpet providing a strong lead, Chas Hudson
playing an exuberant, yet thoughtful, trombone and Brian himself weaving
the front line together. The back line provides a solid, but not over
powering base for the front line to build on. Mike Lunn on piano occasionally
gets a solo to shew his considerable abilities, Mike Cox, the banjo player,
also gets a chance to pluck in the limelight. Whilst drummer Guy Fenton
and Bass player Bill Cole miss out on solos, their presence is still heard
throughout. Ah Bill Cole; does he still cuddle and make love to his bass
as he did when he played with the Gov'nor?
This is a very pleasant CD that you can take with you 'Everywhere You
Go'. Play it in the car, and its relaxed style will ensure that, what
ever happens in the traffic, you will be too busy tapping your fingers
and smiling to indulge in any road rage!
- Geoff Boxell
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