1

Umlaut Big Band: Euro Swing Vol. 2

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Umlaut Big Band: Euro Swing Vol. 2 In Elvis Costello's autobiography, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink (2015), he writes about his mother working in a music shop in the 1940s in Britain, and how she somehow became an expert in acquiring American jazz records from musicians and other international travelers. Certainly, she learned her craft from other music sellers and fans, maybe a better word would be fanatics. That American invention spread through Western Europe (and Eastern) like a virus. The music of Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, and Louis Armstrong became synonymous with all that was hip. Records, sheet music and, finally, tours by ensembles led by  Paul Whiteman, Sidney Bechet, Ellington and Armstrong, kicked the door wide open. Much later (post WWII), there would be an exodus of African-American musicians, Dexter Gordon, Bud Powell, and Ben Webster among them, that would create an expatriate jazz scene in Europe. They did, however, have trailblazers, like Benny Carter to show them the way.

Needless to say, jazz became a thriving art form in Europe with its own big bands and orchestras. For instance, there is a marvelous reissue series Jazz In Italy from Riviera Jazz Records that remasters Italian jazz from the 1930, 40s and 50s. Like much of the original music of the 1920s through 1950s, the recording quality leaves much to your imagination. Just listening to Ellington or Armstrong's 78s from the 1930s makes most modern fans either nostalgic or wanting.

Never fear. The Umlaut Big Band rejuvenates the music of the swing era with its 14-piece ensemble. Like Chicago's The Fat Babies, who specialize in 1920s and 30s Dixieland, the UBB recreates an era without irony or satire.

On their first recording (2016), the band focused on early jazz in Europe. Orchestras, composers, and arrangers from Europe were recorded. focuses on the Americans in Europe. There are two Ellington compositions, "Hyde Park" (originally "Every Tub") and "Serenade To Sweden," Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose" performed by Coleman Hawkins in Paris 1937 and arranged by Benny Carter. Lesser known, and unfortunately lost to history (until now), are pieces from Fud Livingston, Hyde Livingston, Freddy Johnson and Sam Wooding.

UBB director Pierre-Antoine Badaroux tracked down the old recordings and has brought them to life, gloriously. It's not difficult to imagine that this is exactly how the music sounded back in the day. The band's music is presented with a meticulous rigor. Just as Ellington would rehearse constantly to obtain a precision to his sound, the UBB is punctilious, and in that punctiliousness an infectious swing is born. To quote Fats Waller, "yeaaaah."

Track Listing: Blue room; Hyde Park;Swinging At The Chez Florence; Blue Interlude; Bull Frog Stomp; Honeysuckle Rose; Sax Appeal; Shanghai Shuffle; Piccadilly Strut; Sweet Madness; Serenade To Sweden; I Wanna Go Places And Do Things; I’m Coming Virginia; I Got Rhythm; Farewell Blues.

Personnel: Pierre-Antoine Badaroux: direction, alto saxophone; Antonin-Tri Hoang: alto saxophone alto, clarinet; Jean Dousteyssier,: tenor saxophone tenor, clarinet; Geoffroy Gesser: tenor saxophone tenor, clarinet; Benjamin Dousteyssier: alto saxophone, baryton; Brice Pichard: trumpet; Louis Laurain: trumpet; Emil Strandberg: trumpet; Fidel Fourneyron: trombone ; Michaël Ballue: trombone; Nicolas Grymonprez: trombone; Romain Vuillemin: guitar; Bruno Ruder: piano; Sébastien Beliah: double bass; Antonin Gerbal: drums.

Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Umlaut Records


Shop

More Articles

Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Protean Reality" CD/LP/Track Review Protean Reality
by John Sharpe
Published: June 22, 2016
Read "Uncharted Waters" CD/LP/Track Review Uncharted Waters
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 11, 2017
Read "Proximity" CD/LP/Track Review Proximity
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 30, 2016
Read "Omío" CD/LP/Track Review Omío
by James Nadal
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Equal Crossing" CD/LP/Track Review Equal Crossing
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Plays New Zealand" CD/LP/Track Review Plays New Zealand
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!