The Jazz Crusade Audio Sampler Catalog
JCCD-3082: Wilbur DeParis - "DeParis in Europe"

Personnel: Wilbur DeParis [trombone], Sidney DeParis, Doc Cheatham [trumpet], Garvin Bushell [reeds], Sonny White [piano], John Smith [banjo/guitar], Hayes Alvis [string bass], Wilbert Kirk [drums/harmonica]

Songs: I've Found A New Baby, Minorca, Royal Garden Blues, Charleston, Beale Street Blues, That's A Plenty, Sister Kate, High Society, The Pearls, Battle Hymn of the Republic.

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Reviews for:
JCCD-3082: Wilbur DeParis - "DeParis in Europe" - Internet Publication

Here's something that DeParis fans may not have heard. The content of this new issue was recorded in 1960 when the DeParis band was on a European tour. Sadly, Omer Simeon, the band's clarinetist of many years, had passed away in late 1959. He is replaced by Garvin Bushell, a big band musician who spent years with Fletcher Henderson and Chick Webb. As good as he is, Bushell can't quite fill the shoes of the giant Simeon. In essence, this is the same band that appeared on the celebrated 1957 tour of Africa.
The New Orleans born drummer, Wilbert Kirk and pianist Sonny White both joined Wilbur DeParis in the mid 1950s and know the book perfectly. The DeParis outfit usually worked with a single trumpet played by Wilbur's younger brother Sidney. Nobody really knows why Doc Cheatham was added for the 1960 tour but few will complain. Sidney and Doc show their stuff on That's a Plenty and Found a New Baby . You'll hear the odd harmonica solo by drummer Wilbert Kirk on several numbers although this reviewer could survive nicely without them. Kirk went on to perform with a family harmonica group in later years.
The "meat & potatoes" on this CD are provided by the DeParis brothers themselves. Wilbur was one of the most exciting players of his era and a faultless technician. Sidney's trumpet is as energetic as ever and his muted solos are extraordinary. Both are at their best on High Society and it's a tune the band has played a thousand times. Battle Hymn is another winner.
It's nice to hear bassist Hayes Alvis again. Alvis had to be one of the most interesting individuals in jazz history. He had done it all! Born in 1907, he worked with Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Earl Hines, Jimmy Noone, and Benny Carter. Hayes Alvis played bass, tuba and drums but it wasn't enough for him. He operated a successful interior decorating firm, was a Red Cross volunteer and a musicians' union rep for Local 802. The bassist studied dentistry and had a pilot's license. Hayes Alvis died in 1972. Although not essential DeParis, this is a most enjoyable album.
- Richard Bourcier

King Jazz Review - England

In his liner notes Big Bill Bissonnette makes the comparison that there is no comparison - but that there are great differences between this group, and the 50s De Paris bands - that's for the connoisseurs. As I know little about the jazz artists in question, not having one recording of them, past and present in my music collection, my views on this "DeParis in Europe" CD will come with an open mind.
However, in not going for the Commodore (Hamburg) Classics Label (a continuation of the USA label) recording - 6.24296 AG - De Paris Brothers/Edmond Hall Sextet - Jimmy Ryan's and the Uptown Café Society on - Coquette; I've Found A New Baby etc - that included Clyde Hart, Emmett Berry, Vic Dickenson, Eddie Heywood and others was a missed opportunity in this regard.
After a nice trombone prefatorily statement on the opening number I've Found approx 450 seconds, it moves along at breakneck speed, highlighting growls and an A to Z of trumpet nuances, which the concert goers warmed to, as judged from their great applause to it, indeed, as with the rest throughout the album. Unlike several of the opposing jazz genre, floundering catch-up, in such circumstances, this rhythm section are of fine fettle in support of the "Tour de Force" De Paris front liners, and are therefore a noticeable asset particularly so in the up tempo numbers That's A Plenty within the group.
Recorded on 9 June 1960 at the Antibes, Cote D'Azure, France, on the Mediterranean Sea, these tracks were taken from a video of the concert.
In the main, the tracks here have the "Hall of Fame" Jelly Roll Morton; Bix Beiderbecke mark enveloped on them. Perhaps not surprisingly, this De Paris group has put a complete personal stamp of its very own on Royal Garden Blues that said, one might agree that it does not compare with the Bix of 1927 version.
I have sympathy with the harmonica on Minorca, but certainly not, on Beale Street Blues, where it clashes with a fine muted trumpet break, nor on the other tune Sister Kate in which it is featured, but is appreciated by the French audience, obviously charmed by the trombone of Wilbur. For a US jazz group touring Europe, it's natural for it to be seen showing allegiance to their country, and, I expect that that is where the Battle Hymn comes in - Fifes & Drums inspired to John Brown's body and all.
To many, High Society will be the highlight of this album, the Garvin Bushell embouchure holding out to perfection, trill inclusive, but for me, The Pearls which doubtless is featuring most, pianist Sonny White, has something special about it, orchestrated, arranged or simply a great performance out of the professionalism of the group - whatever, it's dreamland to be sure.
- Ian King

Boxell's Jazz Website

The earlier Jazz Crusade CD of Wilbur's that I reviewed came from when he was at his zenith, this one is from near his nadir. The sleeve notes indicate that the tracks are from 09 June 1960 and were recorded in Antibes, France.
I found the band to be a disappointment and nowhere near the quality of the 50s incarnation I enjoyed on the other CD. In fact only Wilbur on trombone and Sidney de Paris on trumpet remain of the earlier band. Sid is backed up by Doc Cheatham on second trumpet(I have a review of one of Doc's last CDs when he was in his 90s elsewhere). Not being an expert in either of these gentlemen it is impossible for me to determine who is playing the better breaks.
Are there good tunes? Well yes, though all bar, 'The Pearls', are very much jazz standards recorded by almost every other jazz band around. Don't let the first track, 'I've Found A New Baby', with its frenic pace, put you off., 'Beale Street Blues' is a fine number, with good ensemble and solo breaks and 'Pearls', although orchestrated, is well worth listening to.
One of the off putting things on the CD is the inclusion of non-standard traditional jazz instruments. 'Minorca', for instance, has both mouth organ and bassoon on it! On 'That's A Plenty' the drummer sounds as if he is using tin cans, but I wouldn't put money on it. The sleeve notes put the inclusion of these 'novelty' items down to de Paris wanting to appear 'sophisticated' as a counter to declining interest in traditional jazz. This could be true as a similar trend appeared in Britain in the mid to late 60s. All that happened of course was that traditional jazz fans stopped listening and modernists said it wasn't way out enough and the bands that followed the trend failed to meet any market.
Should you buy the CD? Well it depends on whether you are a jazz historian, in which case you must; or a traditional jazz lover, in which case don't. My copy? Well I have a mate who has a lot of Wilbur de Paris and I know just what to give him for a present this Christmas!
- Geoff Boxell - Internet Publication

Big Bill Bissonnette is one of the few people I know who has the courage to be critical in the liner notes of a CD he produced himself. One other one I can think of is George Buck but only in the case a New Orleans recording is too “primitive” for his taste. I usually agree with Bill on a lot of things, but regarding this CD I don’t. He says, for instance, that the DeParis band we hear here is in noticeable decline. One of the reasons, he says, is that Garvin Bushell replaced Omer Simeon, who died in September 1959, and that Garvin will forever stand in the shade of the giant Simeon. Well, I agree that Bushell is no Simeon, but he was a damn good clarinet player. Let’s not forget he was chosen by Bunk Johnson for the last band Bunk led and with which he recorded for the last time. I particularly admire his low register work in “Minorca” and in the beginning of his solo on “High Society”. What a marvellous tone!
Talking about “Minorca”, Bill also has trouble with drummer Wilbert Kirk playing the harmonica on some tracks. I think that the sound of the harmonica adds a special colour to numbers like “Minorca”, one of Wilbur’s “island compositions”. Bill also asks what Bushell is doing blowing the bassoon at the end of “Minorca” while I’m convinced that this was a deliberate and successful little piece of hokum. One needs only to look at the video, of which this CD is the soundtrack, to know that. I rest my case!
I admire Bill for his honesty about his own product, but I think honestly that this DeParis CD is no better or worse than the four others on Jazz Crusade (JCCD-3009-3032-3061-3068). To find out how I look at the DeParis band, please turn to our very first issue which is still on line, where I reviewed JCCD-3061. In a period when jazz fans were either “mouldy figgs” or “boppers” a lot of musicians hitherto active in the big or small swing bands, turned to a more traditional style to make a living. The DeParis band was one of the most successful, because most of its members had their roots in the old style.
Being used to the relaxed tempos of real New Orleans bands, I have my own reservations about the race horse tempos on some tracks (“I’ve Found A New Baby”, “That’s A Plenty”), but, according to the tremendous applause we can hear, the audience loved it! If you look for that wonderful New Orleans relaxation, you’ll have to look elsewhere. The music of the DeParis band was red hot jazz and a far cry from the sterile dixieland that some people called it. It’s remarkable that a lot of New Orleans fans, who hate dixieland most of the time, have a soft spot for the DeParis band. On a good day I can even share part of the excitement the French public was showing. Of course I prefer the more relaxed items, like the slower than usual version of Morton’s “The Pearls”, “Beale Street Blues” and most of all “Sister Kate” (here’s that harmonica again and I love it!). The combination of freewheeling solos in a frame work of tight arrangements was in a way a continuation of what Jelly had been doing three decades earlier. You can say what you want, but Wilbur DeParis certainly was an original, making that kind of music at that time!
It’s interesting to catch Doc Cheatham in this stage of his very long career. Doc was what we call a late bloomer as a soloist. Ha always had been a first class lead trumpet and section man, but it was only later in his career that his abilities as a soloist developed and that he became the wonderful player he was at the end of his life. Doc was the first to admit that. When we listen to his few solo spots here, he was already well under way!
On the first track three French guests were added to the band. The solo order is as follows: Claude Luter (clt), Pierre Derveaux (tpt), Jean-Louis Durand (tbn), Doc Cheatham (tpt), Garvin Bushell (clt), Sidney DeParis (tpt) and Wilbur DeParis (tbn). On “Minorca” Sidney plays the solo after the glorious low register intro. Doc is responsible for the fine muted solo after Wilbur’s solo, who uses his valve trombone here. Sidney plays a duet with Wilbert Kirk on the (big) harmonica on the relaxed “Beale Street Blues”. On “High Society” Doc plays the only trumpet solo. All the other trumpet solos are by Sidney, who uses his mutes and metal hat to great effect. The flute we hear briefly at the beginning and at the end of “Battle Hymn Of The Republic” is played by Bushell. All this information is based on looking (with great pleasure!) at the video again. It is obvious that all the members of the band had a great time at this concert.
The sound quality is amazingly fine for a live recording at that time. After years of missing the recordings by this fine band, we now have five CDs on Jazz Crusade and 6 CDs on Collectables, grouping all their recordings for Atlantic. If you like the band as well as I do, you could do worse than adding this one to your collection.
- Marcel Joly

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