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The Allan Vach: Revisited!

Jack Bowers By

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The title of this session refers to the fact that Vaché's quartet is "revisiting" the music of the classic Sidney Bechet/Muggsy Spanier recordings without "recreating" it (which would have been not only foolish but unnecessary). Only two songs put on wax by Bechet/Spanier ("China Boy," "Four or Five Times") are included along with one of Bechet's compositions ("Promenade aux Champs-Elysées") and another by Spanier ("Relaxin' at the Touro"). As with the rest of this warm tribute to two acknowledged masters of early-years Jazz, the music recalls their spirit without slavishly imitating their styles or idiosyncrasies. Although Vaché and cornetist David Jones are somewhat more modern in conception (which is to be expected), it works. There to help ensure that it does are the levelheaded guitarist Bob Leary (who also sings appealingly on Clancy Hayes's novelty tune, "She's Just Perfect for Me") and the adaptable bassist Phil Flanigan who's at home in any milieu from trad to post-bop. Perhaps the most striking aspect of Vaché and Jones is the clear, bell-like tone that each one coaxes from his horn, which certainly makes listening easier and more pleasurable, especially as they must carry the lion's share of the melodic load. Jones employs the harmon mute only on "Touro" and the opening chorus of "China Boy," and lays out of "Louisiana Fairytale," which Vaché takes on a Bechet-like ride. Sure, it's all been done before, and one may understandably prefer to revisit the originals whenever possible, but Vaché and his bandmates have nevertheless fashioned an earnest homage within the framework of the Bechet/Spanier legacy that is well worth hearing too.

Track Listing: That Da Da Strain; Liza; Louisiana Fairytale; Promenade aux Champs-Elys

Personnel: Allan Vach

Title: Revisited! | Year Released: 1998


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