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Nagel Heyer rarely has to stray from its Hamburg home to find top jazz people to record. At Europe's version of Birdland, the label has taped some excellent live performances and this one is no exception. A little ragged now and then - - lack of rehearsal time perhaps - - Dan Barrett heads the group for a very generous 77 minutes of modified traditional jazz. Not just New Orleans, nor Chicago, nor Harlem, but a mix of those styles with a bounteous dash of mainstream thrown in. Barrett not only plays the trombone and cornet, he vocalizes on a few cuts with a laconic style similar to Jack Teagarden's. One of the many assets this group possesses is that its members are handy with more than one instrument. Tom Baker spends time on trumpet and alto and tenor sax. His trumpet version one of Louis A favorite tunes "Dream a Little Dream of Me" is an album highlight. UK reedman Scott Robinson, in addition to tenor, alto and clarinet, picks up something called the normaphone on "Esquire Bounce:. A marriage between a valve trombone and saxophone, the instrument looks and sounds more like the latter than the former. There's some serious swinging with "Vic' s Spot" and "Jumpin' Punkins" , the latter as a trio with just piano, bass and drums, as the rhythm section gets a chance front and center. One of the more creative tracks is a muted Barrett trombone playing over the riffs of the ensemble on "The Lamp Is Low".
This album shreds the old saw that one should do just one thing and do it well. These crafty veterans show that one need not be so limited. Highly recommended.
Track Listing: Easy Street; Linger Awhile; `T'ain't Me; I'm on My Way from You; Vic's Spot; The Lamp Is Low; I Double Dare You; What is This Thing Called Love; Early Session Hop; Jumpin' Punkins; Hindustan; Esquire Bounce; Dream a Little Dream of Me
Personnel: Dan Barrett - Trombone/Cornet/Vocals; Tom Baker - Trumpet/Trombone/Alto & Tenor Sax; Scott Robinson - Tenor & Alto Sax/Clarinet/Normaphone; Chris Hopkins - Piano; Eddie Erickson - Guitar/Banjo/Vocals; Joel Forbes - Bass; Jeff Hamilton - Drums