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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was an age of duffle coats, beards, sandals and sunglasses. It was the age of Trad. It was how European youth discovered jazz. Britain had Chris Barber, Ken Colyer and, a little further down the lineby which time newspaper headlines were referring to a Trad Boomclarinetist Acker Bilk. He wore a bowler hat and had hit records, at which point Denmark entered the fray with trombonist Arne Bue Jensen, dressed as a Viking.
It all started in 1954. Then, at the age of 23, Jensen got together with five fellow New Orleans devotees to form the Royal Jazz Band. This quickly metamorphosed into the Bohana Jazzband and, in 1956, Papa Bue's New Orleans Jazzband. The band became a national institution in Denmark, and this four-CD set celebrates Papa Bue's 80th birthday, with a song for each year of his life.
The first two tracks, "You Always Hurt The One You Love" and "Franklin Blues," are by the original Bohana Jazzband, recorded live with thunderous echo and a clunking banjo underpinning rudimentary ensembles and timorous solos. The next six, by the New Orleans Jazzband, are far more polished, featuring curiously innocent vocals by banjoist Bjarne "Liller" Petersenhe makes jelly roll sound like something his mother made for him to take on a boy scout outing.
There are two tracks, aptly described by Chris Albertson in his sleeve note, as "compelling confusion," which were recorded with British trombonist Graham Stewart and members of his band who played Copenhagen in 1958. Then there are 12 numbers, including the inevitable "When The Saints Go Marching In," with that genuine but aging New Orleans' clarinetist George Lewis, who played with Bunk Johnson. Lewis' immaculate but often tired-sounding work contrasts a little sadly with that of the rough and ready but always enthusiastic Danes.
The last three tracks, recorded live at Copenhagen's Tivoli amusement park concert hall in 1978, feature Bjarne "Liller" Petersen still clunking away on his banjo as enthusiastically as ever and with every number cheered to the rafters. As well they might be. Great art trad ain't; great fun it always is.
Track Listing: CD1: You Always Hurt The One You Love; Franklin Street Blues; Bourbon Street Parade; My Mama Rocks Me; All The Girls Go Crazy; Stockyard Strut; Bogalusa Strut; Thriller Rag; High Society; Maryland, My Maryland; Mary Wore A Golden Chain; Silver Threads Among The Gold; You Always Hurt The One You Love; Isle Of Capri; When The Saints Go Marching In; The Old Spinning Wheel; Schlafe Mein Prinschen; Det Var Pä Frederiksber; Beautiful Dreamer; Oh Sole Mio; Maple Leaf Rag; White Cliffs Of Dover; Dark Eyes. CD2: On A Little Bamboo Bridge; Cibiribin; Walking With The King; Lazy River; Bonanza; Annie Laurie; Tweed And Tropical; Careless Love; Mama Don't Allow; L'ill Liza Jane; Yes Sir, That's My Baby; Finn Air; Sibiria; Listen To The Mocking Bird; Just A Gigolo; Corrine Corina; Wingy's Travelling Blues; Sister Kate; When It's Sleepy Time Down South; St. Louis Blues; Ed's Blues. CD3: Struttin' With Some Barbecue; Blueberry Hill; Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?; Black And Blue; When You Are Smiling; She Lost It At The Astor; Miller Stomp; The Olsen Gang Theme; Bye And Bye; Hello Wingy; 2:19 Blues; Down By The Riverside; Tailgate Ramble; The Entertainer; Misty Morning; Doin' The Voom Voom; Beale Street Blues; Sweet Georgia Brown. CD4: Runnin' Wild; China Boy; Old Fashioned Love; Blue Turning Grey Over You; Creole Love Call; Our Monday Date; St. James Infirmary; Rosetta; Bye And Bye; My Bucket's Got A Hole In It; I'm Sittin' On Top Of The World; I Wonder Who's Kissin' Her Now; All That Meat And No Potatoes; I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter; Way Down Yonder In New Orleans; Stevedore Stomp; Lazy River; What A Wonderful World.
Personnel: Arne Bue Jensen: trombone; Hans Børge Hansen: cornet; Buster Bruun: clarinet; Niels "Ricardo" Hansen: banjo; Ole Christiansen: bass; Allan Rasmussen: drums (CD1#1-2); Gerhard Vohwinkel: trumpet (CD1#3-8); Finn Otto Hansen: trumpet (CD1#11-23 CD2#1-15, 20-21 CD3#1-2, 6-17); Ole Stolle: trumpet (CD4#11-19); Jørgen Svare: clarinet (CD1#9-10,14 CD2#1-19 CD3#3-9, 11-19 CD4#1-18); Bjarne "Liller" Petersen: banjo, guitar and vocals (CD1#3-23 CD2#1-19 CD3 1-2, 6-16 CD4#11-18); Lars Black: guitar (CD4#1-8); Jørn "Jønne" Jensen: piano (CD2#16-21 CD3# 1-16 CD4 #1-18); Mogens Seidelin: bass and sousaphone (CD1#3-8, 11-23 CD2#1-15); Jens Sølund: bass (CD2#16-21 CD3#1-9 17-18 CD4#1-18); Ib Lindschouw: drums (CD1#3-23 CD2#1-7); Henrik Jensen: drums (CD2#8-9); Knud Ryskov Madsen: drums (CD2#10-21 CD3#1-18 CD4#1-18); Steen Vig: tenor sax (CD3#9); Niels Rafn: alto sax (CD3#9); Alan Elsdon, trumpet (CD1#9-10); Graham Stewart: trombone (CD1#9-10); Alan Cooper: clarinet (CD1#9-10); Jim Bray: tuba (CD1#9-10); Tony Schrivers: snare drum (CD1#9-10); George Lewis: clarinet (CD1#11-23); Champion Jack Dupree: vocals (CD2#8-9); Wingy Manone: trumpet (CD2#16-19 CD3#3-5); Edmond Hall: clarinet (CD2#20-21 CD3#1-2); Wild Bill Davison: cornet, vocals (CD4#1-8, 11-15); Theis Jensen: trumpet, vocals (CD4#9-10); Gustav Winckler: vocals (CD4#11-15).
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.