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Barrett Deems: Deemus (2010)

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Barrett Deems: Deemus How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Drummer Barrett Deems was a man with a pedigree, who took in stints with violinist Joe Venuti
Joe Venuti
Joe Venuti
1903 - 1978
violin
from 1937 to 1944, and a four-year run with trumpeter Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
1901 - 1971
trumpet
in the 1950s. The first years of the following decade found him keeping the musical company of trombonist Jack Teagarden
Jack Teagarden
Jack Teagarden
1905 - 1964
trombone
. All of these affiliations are clues to the musical fare on Deemus, the drummer's first album under his own name—recorded in 1978 but not released by Delmark until 1997. It's great to have the recording released again, as it documents the seemingly dying art of small group swing performance.

The whole vocabulary of pre-bop jazz is on offer, spoken with just the right combination of fire and grace to make the music worthwhile. Deems was able to generate heat, even while his work remains unobtrusive. His drive on "Shine" ensures that the music is lustrous, even at a bright tempo, and it's a real treat to hear clarinetist Chuck Hedges

Chuck Hedges
Chuck Hedges
1932 - 2010
clarinet
, whose playing shows no overt influence, apart from {Benny Goodman}} in his phrasing and Edmond Hall
Edmond Hall
b.1901
in his instinctive ability to turn up the temperature.

Benny Goodman and Charlie Christian

Charlie Christian
Charlie Christian
1916 - 1942
guitar, electric
's "Seven Come Eleven" is both rhythmically buoyant and supple, the uplift provided in part by John DeFauw's rhythm guitar in an encapsulation of another dying art. As a guitar soloist, Bob Roberts demonstrates the influence of George Barnes
George Barnes
1921 - 1977
guitar
, but that very reference only exemplifies the degree to which he knows his stuff.

By the same token, pianist Steve Behr shows a measure of Teddy Wilson

Teddy Wilson
Teddy Wilson
1912 - 1986
piano
in his work on the opening "'Deed I Do." But as with most of the influences here, it's unimportant when the music catches that element of the human spirit which takes care of convivial music making. If anything, Behr is less urbane than Wilson, and sounds particularly inspired by keeping the leader's musical company. Vibraphonist Don DeMichael
Don DeMichael
b.1928
evokes the spirits too, but such is the nature of his phrasing that his closest musical allegiance, at times, could be to clarinetist Pee Wee Russell
Pee Wee Russell
Pee Wee Russell
b.1906
clarinet
.

Given that this was such a wonderful little group, the piano/bass/drums trios of "I Love Paris" and "Get Happy" are a little sad. The three men perform with such brio, though, that the exhortation of the latter title requires no effort at all.


Track Listing: Deed I Do; New Orleans; Shine; After You've Gone; Seven Come Eleven; Six Appeal; I Love Paris; Get Happy.

Personnel: Chuck Hedges: clarinet; Steve Behr: piano; Bob Roberts: lead guitar; John Defauw: rhythm guitar; Wilson McKindra: bass; Barrett Deems: drums.

Record Label: Delmark Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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