Monday, January 28, 2008

Jam Session On Bourbon Street, Dixieland Festival, Volume III - VIK Records

Jam Session On Bourbon Street
Dixieland Festival, Volume III
featuring Pete Fountain

1957 VIK Records LX-1058

Side One
1. When The Saints Go Marching In
2. Tin Roof Blues
3. High Society
4. Farewell Blues
5. I'm Confessing That I Love You

Side Two
1. Ballin' The Jack
2. Some Of These Days
3. Darktown Strutters Ball
4. Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey
5. With You Anywhere You Are

Liner Notes:

Recorded at the Parisian Room, New Orleans, June 12, 1956.
Recording Engineer: Jephson Miller
Produced and directed by Herman Diaz, Jr.
Cover photo by Lucky Kaderian

© by Radio Corporation of America, 1957

Bourbon Street All-Star Dixielanders

George Girard trumpet
Tony Almerico trumpet
Santo Pecora trombone
Jack Delaney trombone
Pete Fountain clarinet
Harry Shields clarinet
Lester Bouchon tenor saxophone
Roy Zimmerman piano
Frank Federico guitar
Phil Darois bass
Roger Johnston drums
Paul Edwards drums

The unusual double Dixieland band which plays this walloping New Orleans jam session is made up of the leading lights of three of the top bands in the Crescent City today, each of which can be heard on its own in the other volumes of the Dixieland Festival series: Tony Almerico's Dixieland All-Stars on Volume 1 (VIK LX-1057), George Girard's New Orleans Five on Volume 2 (VIK LX-1063) and Santo Pecora's famous group on Volume 4 (to be released in the near future).

The multiplication of the standard New Orleans jazz band instrumentation which occurs here (two trumpets, two trombones, two clarinets and even two drums) is sometimes approached at jazz concerts when several groups are combined to provide a monstrous mountain of sound for the finale. And that, unfortunately, is what too often happens when every musician on a jazz program is indiscriminately thrown on-stage at one time and told to blow.

But one of the things that makes the Bourbon Street All-Star Dixielanders unusual is the sense of unity in their playing. This is all the more remarkable when you consider that the group had never played together before its members were assembled for this session and that, in the true tradition of the jam session, a number was called out and played with no time allowed for the preparation of any preconceived approaches. That these men have been able to coalesce so well can be attributed essentially to two factors which are generally missing when massed ensembles are herded on-stage at jazz concerts: all of these musicians are steeped in a single tradition of jazz and in a single style of jazz. They are men whose musical lives have been devoted to two-beat in the great New Orleans tradition. And they are men whose musical lives are centered on the New Orleans of today.

George Girard, the nominal leader of this group, is one of the brightest stars of the new generation of New Orleans jazzmen. He has led his own band at the Famous Door on Bourbon Street since 1952 and before that his trumpet was featured for three years with the famous Basin Street Six. Girard learned the Dixieland repertoire by sitting in with Tony Almerico's band at the Parisian Room on Royale Street (where this session was recorded, regardless of the title given to this collection) and the veteran Almerico is on hand here to provide a balance of age and youth in the trumpet section.

There is a similar balance between the trombonists: Santo Pecora and Jack Delaney. Pecora is one of the great veterans of New Orleans jazz, the only member of this group who has spent much time away from his home town. He replaced George Brunis in the legendary New Orleans Rhythm Kings in 1924 and later spent a long time in Hollywood with Wingy Manone. Since 1942 he has been back in New Orleans leading his own group which has shared the stand at the Famous Door with George Girard's band in recent years. Delaney, a regular member of the Almerico band, is a very direct descendant of Jack Teagarden in both his instrumental and vocal styles.

The clarinetists are also drawn from two generations of New Orleans musicians. Pete Fountain, from Almerico's band, is a graduate of the Junior Dixieland Band and is in the great tradition of mellow and lyrical New Orleans clarinet men. Harry Shields, Pecora's clarinetist, is a brother of Larry Shields, the great clarinetist of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band.

Balding Lester Bouchon is a versatile musician from Pecora's band who plays clarinet and bass saxophone but, for this session, stuck to tenor saxophone which he plays in the rolling style typical of New Orleans tenors.

Pianist Roy Zimmerman has been a fixture in the New Orleans musical scene for many years, playing with groups of all types before he settled into his current niche with Almerico. Almerico's guitarist, Frank Federico, is another slightly traveled veteran: he was in Ben Pollack's band in the Thirties and spent some time on tour with Louis Prima. Phil Darois, who varies between tuba and string bass when he is playing with the Pecora group, limits himself to the more flexible string bass for this free and easy session. The two drummers are Roger Johnston of Pecora's band and Paul Edwards, a young immigrant from Ohio who now lives in New Orleans and drums regularly for Girard.

The tunes are some of the sturdiest of the standards in the traditional New Orleans repertoire, augmented by one number - I'm Confessing That I Love You - which is not strictly New Orleans but which has received authentication as a result of Louis Armstrong's famous version of it. On every selection, the order of horn solos is the same: Girard, Shields, Delaney, Bouchon, Almerico, Fountain and Pecora. Federico's guitar gets solo attention at the end of I'm Confessing and Ballin' the Jack. Darois' bass is heard on its own in the middle of Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey and piano solos by Zimmerman are spotted on Tin Roof Blues, Farewell Blues, Ballin' the Jack and Bill Bailey. To complete the over-all New Orleans flavor of this session, the numbers are introduced in the inimitable manner of the Parisian Room's regular announcer, Pinky Vidacovich.


No comments:

Post a Comment