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Chuck Folds and his Sweet Basil Friends: Chuck Folds and his Sweet Basil Friends Remember Doc Cheatham

Mike Neely By

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In his solo work, Chuck Folds plays piano with a gentleness and grace that arises from the popular songs of faraway decades. He can then effortlessly shift into a rollicking New Orleans style solo, competing with the extraverted trumpets of Irvin Stokes and Spanky Davis. All of this fun can be heard on the new release: Chuck Folds and his Sweet Basil Friends Remember Doc Cheatham.

The great trumpet master Doc Cheatham played a regular Sunday gig in the Greenwich Village club Sweet Basil from 1980 to 1997, until his death at the age of 92. The musicians on this disc had various musical relationships with Doc Cheatham. Pianist Chuck Folds and the drummer Jackie Williams were regular band members throughout the Sweet Basil years. During this time either trumpet player, Stokes or Davis, would substitute for Cheatham or share the bandstand with him. Frank Tate, the bassist, was a regular sub during the Cheatham years, and since 1998 has been the house bassist.

These long musical relations have resulted in band with a comfort level that is palpable. Take a listen as “The Duke Ellington Medley” shifts from the delicately beautiful piano trio of “Drop Me Off In Harlem” to Spanky Davis’ warm trumpet solo on “Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me.” These are musicians who know where they’ve been and know where they are going. Irvin Stokes’ slowly unfolding trumpet solo on “Lover Man” is one of the highlights of this recording; it’s a heartfelt performance worthy of continual listening. The ease of exchange between these two excellent trumpet players is vigorously displayed on “My Buddy” in which the solos flash back and forth at an exhilarating rate. Throughout Jackie Williams’ and Frank Tate’s good sense and thoughtful touch keeps everyone on course. In short, this spirited tribute to Doc Cheatham is a CD full of delights from an era when the pianist could play sweet and then the whole band could play hot.


Track Listing: I Double Dare You; A Kiss to Build a Dream On; After I Say I

Personnel: Chuck Folds, piano; Spanky Davis, trumpet; Irvin Stokes, trumpet; Frank Tate, bass; Jackie Williams, drums.

| Record Label: Arbors Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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