In 1961, Don Reitan was playing at a Biloxi, MS watering hole tongue in cheek named Chez Joey. The owner called in an engineer from New Orleans to record Reitan's quintet in performance. For the next 38 years, the tapes were kept by the drummer of the group, Lee Charlton. They have finally been released but without much fanfare or to do.
For that time and place, Reitan's group had a modern sound emulating Art Blakey Messenger hard bop on such tunes as "The Boss" and Horace Silver funk on "Sister Sadie" with Reitan's piano firing off down and dirty kicks. But, after all, this is the deepest South in 1961 and you had to play something other than Blakey and Silver. So there's an aptly named "Sandcrab Blues" with some bar room piano from Reitan. And the dancers had to be kept happy with some slow tunes. "More Than You Know" filled the bill with Rick Bell and Mike Serpas playing that sensuous tenor and trumpet people liked to sway to on the dance floor. Jackie Henderson provided the vocals on some tracks and does a credible job on a bluesy "Somebody Loves Me" and a swinging "Lover". There's even a down home "Shoo Fly Pie" and "Apple Pan Dowdy" to keep the customers happy.
While not a major jazz event, this release is a good example of players from the South playing extemporaneous, progressive jazz in the 1960s. While the sound is not up to what we expect of CDs, even reissues, given that the master was laying around for almost 40 years, the sound is reasonable.
Personnel: Don Reitan - Piano; Mike Serpas - Trumpet; Jay Cave - Bass; Rick Bell - Tenor Sax; Lee Charlton - Drums; Jackie Henderson - Vocals