Percy Humphrey with the Crescent City Joymakers: Climax Rag
They didn’t call trumpeter Humphrey’s New Orleans–based sextet the “Joymakers” for nothing. These gentlemen clearly had a lot of fun making music together. This session, recorded in 1965, is awash in foot–tapping trad Jazz from one end to the other. As such, the emphasis throughout is on interplay among the various members of the ensemble rather than individual improvisation, although there is some of that too, especially from Humphrey, the eminent clarinetist Albert Burbank and trombonist Jim Robinson. Things don’t always sound tight and rehearsed, but that’s the way New Orleans music should be played. Rest assured that everyone knows what he is doing. But this may not please every listener, as it is “authentic” early Jazz rather than the more “sanitized” versions that are often heard nowadays. In other words, it can be quite raw and rough around the edges. Enthusiasm and musicianship thus carry the day in a program of blues, ballads and shuffles most of whose titles (“Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby!,” “When I Grow Too Old to Dream,” “Fidgety Feet,” “Old Folks at Home,” “San”) will be quite familiar to those who appreciate trad Jazz. It’s fun too to hear someone (perhaps Humphrey) “stomp off” — that is, give the time signature by vigorously tapping his shoes on the floor two or three times. Playing time is a respectable 65:26, thanks to the inclusion of eight alternate takes (the only songs not reprised are “Take Your Burden to the Lord” and an impromptu rendering of “Happy Birthday”). Gladsome music that’s a pleasure to hear.
Track listing: Climax Rag; Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby; When I Grow Too Old to Dream; Take Your Burden to the Lord; Fidgety Feet; The Old Spinning Wheel; Old Folks at Home (Swanee River); Savoy Blues; San; Happy Birthday; Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby; When I Grow Too Old to Dream (alt.); Swanee River (alt.); Savoy Blues (alt.); San (alt.); Fidgety Feet (alt.); Old Spinning Wheel (alt.); Climax Rag (alt.) (65:26).
Percy Humphrey, trumpet; Jim Robinson, trombone; Albert Burbank, clarinet; George Guesnon, banjo; Alcide