296

Bill Coleman: The Complete Philips Recordings

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

Sign in to view read count
Trumpeter Bill Coleman (1904-81) played in a host of orchestras (led by Benny Carter, Teddy Wilson, Luis Russell and Don Redman) in the 1930s, with the same vibrato and finesse as his contemporary, Buck Clayton, but not quite the same bravura and vocabulary. To make an analogy using trumpeters from another jazz era, Coleman is to Clayton as Kenny Dorham is to Clifford Brown.

Coleman would eventually settle in France, where these recordings were made and recently reissued, and where he would co-found the Marciac Jazz Festival. A geographical serendipity allowed him to entitle his memoirs De Paris (Kentucky) à Paris (France).

The Complete Philips Recordings centers around a somewhat rowdy (on and off-stage) October 1952 concert at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, an apparently totemic event for budding French jazz fans of the era. (At least that's the sense conveyed by veteran critic Michel Boujut's dewy-eyed review of this disc in Jazz Magazine.)

In addition to its sentimental value to listeners of a certain generation, however, the concert recording is of real musical interest as well. It's easy to joyfully submit to the crazy juxtaposition of styles in the set list. 1920s chestnuts are played with rollicking gusto, only to be followed by loping 1930s swing numbers, not to mention urbane 1950s vocal R&B.

Similarly, the musicians are a temporal and stylistic grab bag. Drummer Zutty Singleton, having wandered out of the Mezz Mezzrow band, pounds raucously through "When the Saints Go Marching In, "Idaho" and "Drum Face," sounding like a voice speaking to us directly from the New Orleans of another century (which, of course, he is). Trombonist Dicky Wells' playing does nothing to dispel the impression that he was, as he himself admitted, "half-high and half-frozen" during his European sojourn. This condition does not prevent credible, big-hearted solos on "Saints" and "Black and Blue."

Saxophonist Guy Lafitte is consistently good, offering easygoing solos in the Ben Webster manner. Randy Downes is a bop pianist—Singleton is alleged to have approved his membership in a cannabis-induced haze, only to judge him too modern once the smoke had cleared—with a nice feature on "Out of Nowhere." He deftly negotiates the swing numbers, even if Singleton is entirely uninterested in meeting him halfway.

Coleman weaves in and out of this vaguely chaotic mise en scène, playing his lovely solos ("St James Infirmary," "Red Top," "Royal Garden Blues"), singing blues affably, joking with the audience in good French with an upbeat but cool composure to which a Zen monk could aspire.

The two-CD package is complemented by six 1951 studio numbers. These septet tracks, with a far more coherent band and fine arrangements by trombonist Bill Tamper, present Coleman as a quite serious and forward-looking bandleader.

Track Listing: CD1: Jumpin' at the Pleyel; Si jolie; The Blues Jumped Up and Got Me; I'm Coming Virginia; Come On A My House; Tenderly; Knucklehead; Baby Won't You Please Come Home; One O'Clock Jump; Perdido; When the Saints Go Marching In; Ghost of a Chance; Basin Street Blues; Lover Man; Summertime; Jumpin' with Symphony Sid; Trombone Blues; St. James Infirmary; Sheik of Araby. CD2: Red Top; Royal Garden Blues; Solitude; Tea for Two; Chinatown; Drum Face; Muskrat Ramble; Black and Blue; Idaho; Out of Nowhere; Indiana; St. Louis Blues; Jumpin' at the Pleyel; Si jolie; The Blues Jumped Up and Got Me; The Blues Jumped Up and Got Me; Come On A My House; Come On A My House; Tenderly.

Personnel: Bill Coleman: trumpet, vocal; Bill Tamper: trombone; Jay Cameron: alto saxophone; William Boucaya: baritone saxophone; Art Simmons: piano; Jean-Pierre Sasson: guitar; Guy de Fatto: bass; Gérard "Dave" Pochonet: drums; Miriam Burton: vocal; Dicky Wells: trombone, vocal; Guy Lafitte: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Randy Downes: piano; Buddy Banks: bass; Zutty Singleton: drums.

Title: The Complete Philips Recordings | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Universal Music France


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Moment Frozen CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Minor Step CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read A Meeting Of Spirits CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read First Light CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Perceive React" CD/LP/Track Review Perceive React
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 31, 2016
Read "Where Is My Mind?" CD/LP/Track Review Where Is My Mind?
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 11, 2017
Read "Cub(an)ism" CD/LP/Track Review Cub(an)ism
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 17, 2017
Read "Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "Jailhouse Doc With Holes In Her Socks" CD/LP/Track Review Jailhouse Doc With Holes In Her Socks
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Wisdom Of Elders" CD/LP/Track Review Wisdom Of Elders
by James Nadal
Published: October 8, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.