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Scrote Bradshaw is apparently a whole lot more than a self-proclaimed legend. 97 years young at the time this disc was cut back in 2004, he received a new set of state-of-the-art wooden teeth thanks to friends and well-wishers. With these occasionally in place, he was able to take up the cornet again after a gap of some 26 years, each minute of which is abundantly obvious in the state of his lip, as it is in his weakness for splintering notes, though that may be as much to do with the inappropriateness of wood as a suitable material for the manufacturing of false teeth.
Forthright in his musical opinions, he regards Bunk Johnson as too avant-garde. Bradshaw sticks to a traditional programme here, leading his six-piece band by both ear and nose through a selection of warhorses, the age of which makes him appear a mere stripling. Two originals from clarinettist Simeon Musgrove are right in keeping with this venerable material, as is the accompanying booklet's dedication to the drug companies that make the medicines that have helped the band dodge coffins for as long as they have.
The likes of "King Porter Stomp" and "Porter King's Alto Saxophone," the latter one of Musgrove's originals dedicated to the memory of an instrument he threw down some stairs when he first heard Eric Dolphy, are given the kind of spirited renditions which are in themselves tributes to advances in medical science considering the way the band doesn't let a little thing like ineptitude get in the way of their zest and lust for life.
Chauncey Mara's banjo has all the rhythmic flair of a buffalo in heat, and the band as a whole is lifted by the spirited drumming of the enigmatically named "Man Off The Street," who is apparently something of a legend himself, at least in Des Moines, where the band insisted on recording, despite public demand.
"This music should be on the street," Bradshaw is quoted as saying in the accompanying booklet notes, apparently without a trace of irony. Anyone with a weakness for nodding sagely can only indulge in that pastime if they read those words.
Track Listing: Oh, Didnít They Ramble; Iím Crazy ĎBout My Baby; Limehouse Blues; King Porter Stomp; Come On And Stomp, Stomp, Stomp; Saturday Night Shellfish Fry; Porter Kingís Alto Saxophone; St James Infirmary; You Rascal You; West End Blues; Bourbon Street Parade; How Many More Years?; St Louis Blues; Dinah.
Personnel: Scrote Bradshaw: cornet; Cliff Edge: trombone; Simeon Musgrove: clarinet; Ralph Melly: piano;
Chauncey Mara: banjo, guitar; "Man Off The Street": drums; Clara Mara: vocals (1,8).
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.