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Arntzen Family: Arntzen: 3 Generations in Jazz

Tom Greenland By

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Following in the family band tradition of "Prof Willis Handy Young (Lester's father) and Ellis Marsalis comes Lloyd Arntzen, a 78-year-old clarinetist/soprano saxophonist/vocalist/songwriter hailing from the hinterlands of Bad Lake, Saskatchewan, the proud patriarch of a dynamic dynasty of musical progeny. Arntzen's sons Tom (piano, vocals) and Leif (trumpet, guitar, vocals) and their sons—Evan (saxophones, clarinet, vocals) and fourteen-year-old Miles (drums, guitar, vocals), respectively—are all accomplished players with enough verve to put a smile on grandpa's face and set his toes a-tappin'.

3 Generations in Jazz, recorded live at Vancouver's Cellar Jazz Café, features this talented family romping through a set of traditional New Orleans jazz with a few Tin Pan Alley evergreens thrown in. On "See See Rider," "Swing That Music," "Just a Closer Walk with Thee and especially Jelly Roll Morton's "Winin' Boy Blues," Lloyd Arntzen's clarinet revives the spirit of The Hot Five's Johnny Dodds and the tasteful phrasing, romantic vibrato and soulful bending of Sidney Bechet. Trumpeter/vocalist Leif sings and solos on a sensitive rendition of "My Funny Valentine and his son Miles is impressive for his precociously swinging accompaniment. The front line work well together recreating the heterophonic texture of New Orleans-style group improvisation.

On Valentine's Day, the Arntzens gave a heartwarming performance at Symphony Space that showed the breadth of their collective artistry. Opening with a dynamic drum solo from young Miles, running through a few trad-jazz classics like "Red Onion Blues," "Si Tu Vois Ma Mere and "Struttin' with Some Barbeque," even including an acapella sea chanty "The Steamer Ground," the set also featured excellent original compositions: Miles' "We Circle questioned the ethical impact of technology, Lloyd's "The Thrift Store contained the memorable line "We'll be in style when the world comes 'round again and Leif's beautiful ballad "O Canada, Abide poignantly addressed Canadian-American biculturalism. Mom Georgina came out to close the night with a rollicking version of "My Castle's Rockin' and grandpa Lloyd never lost his smile.

Track Listing: Yacht Club Swing; See See Rider; Sweet Lorraine; Sidney Bechet & I (speech); Si tu Vois ma Mere; Somebody Loves Me; Swing that Music; The tender Trap; My Funny valentine; Winin' Boy blues; Bei Mir Bist du Shoen; Buddy Bolden's Blues; O, didn't He Ramble; Just a Closer Walk with Thee.

Personnel: Lloyd Arntzen: clarinet, soprano sax, vocals; Tom Arntzen: piano, vocals; Leif Arntzen: trumpet, vocals; Evan Arntzen: tenor & soprano sax, clarinet, vocals; Miles Arntzen: drums; Rick Kilburn: bass; Arnt Arntzen: drums (12); Simon Kendall: piano (12); Beverly Maize: vocal (14).

Title: Arntzen: 3 Generations in Jazz | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Gwendoline Records


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