England's Acker Bilk's big hit of 1961, the sugary, vibrato packed "Stranger on the Shore" masked the fact that Bilk had been (and continues to be ) a fine New Orleans jazz performer. Bilk was a leading member of the traditional jazz revival in Great Britain during the late 1950's and early 60's sharing that spot with Humphrey Lyttelton. With "Stranger", the clarinetist became the first British artist to top the US pop music charts paving the way for that other group of Brits, the Beatles. Although the tune is on the program, this live concert focuses on Bilk's jazz roots.
Performing in Frankfurt with his Paramount Jazz Band, which he formed in 1958, Bilk offers a play list of traditional jazz tunes to a large and enthusiastic audience. The clarinetist also displays an authentic blues tinged Louis Prima like vocal ability on "After You've Gone". There are some tunes which are played in the "Stranger" mode, like "A Taste of Honey", which is a nice respite from the traditional jazz material. The members of the Band are excellent in their own right. Scottish born pianist Stan Greig is as much responsible as Bilk for the group's sound with his very strong piano out front on several of the tracks such as "Nagasaki". John Mortimer and Colin Smith get a chance to move to center stage on trombone and trumpet, respectively. Drummer Ron McKay offers some Louis Armstrong influenced scatting on "Dinah".
With this release, Hitchcock Media continues to release heretofore unavailable material from the 1950s and 60's. Encourage them by buying this fine album. Visit their Internet home at www.hitchcock-media. com.
Personnel: Mr. Acker Bilk - Leader/Clarinet/Vocals; Ron McKay - Drums/Vocals; Tucker Finlayson - Bass; Stan Greig - Piano; Tony Pitt - Guitar; John Mortimer - Trombone; Colin Smith - Trumpet