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Humphrey Lyttelton: In Canada

Hrayr Attarian By

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The most prolific of the British trad jazz revivalists, trumpeter Humphrey Lyttelton had a long and varied career both as a musician and a broadcaster. In 1983 Lyttelton lead a Toronto based group on a session for Sackville interpreting eight songs penned by him. In Canada now reissued on Delmark showcases not only Lyttleton's superb trumpet mastery but also his skills as a composer and a clarinetist.

The most memorable tune on the album is the Calypso flavored "Caribana Queen." It features the band's Caribbean beats and Lyttelton and saxophonist Jim Galloway both on clarinets. Galloway's lighter breezy tone contrasts nicely with Lyttleton's thicker more resonant sound as the two weave around each other dancing, flittering lines with thrilling agility.

On the bluesy "Sprauncy" Lyttelton's growling evocative horn matches Galloway's buttery thick baritone sax. The core of this loosely swinging piece is bassist Neil Swainson's gorgeously lyrical monologue. Lyttleton embellishes the theme with elegance and charming nostalgia but with a modern touch.

Swainson engages guitarist Ed Bickert in a lilting, warm and witty duet on the exuberant "Rain." Drummer Terry Clarke trades thunderous beats with the front line in an exciting and spontaneous performance. Lyttleton and Galloway overlapping phraseology form the captivating conclusion.

Lyttleton and Galloway open the Latin tinged "Squiggles" whimsically echoing each other. Bickert's eloquent and emotive improvisation and Galloway's expressive and organic lines transform the track from light and crisp to densely poetic.

Lyttleton marks the entire record with his joyous style and his burnished tone. His signature sound is best heard, however, on the brilliant "Lady Jeckyll And Mistress Hyde" and the languid "Looking for Turner." On the former he blows a delightful series of high notes over the rhythm section's syncopations. On the latter, after an intriguing call and response between Bickert and the band and Galloway's serpentine solo, Lyttleton nimbly brings the melody back to its source with his bright shimmering flourishes.

In Canada is an enjoyable and lively disc and one that captures Lyttleton in a rare, small group setting. Although his originals have not achieved standard status they are effective vehicles spotlighting both his and his sidemen unique musicianship.

Track Listing: It's A Thing; Sprauncy; Squiggles; Looking For Turner; Rain; Lady Jeckyll And Mistress Hyde; Lesiure Palace; Caribana Queen.

Personnel: Humphrey Lyttelton: trumpet, clarinet; Jim Galloway: soprano, baritone saxophone; clairnet; Ed Bickert: guitar; Neil Swainson: bass; Terry Clarke: drums.

Title: In Canada | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Delmark Records

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