FOUR OR FIVE TIMES: THE BONNEL-HAGMANN BIG FOUR (RENE HAGMANN, JEAN-FRANCOIS BONNEL, MANU HAGMANN, ROLY VEITCH) at WHITLEY BAY 2012

BECHET SPANIER

I think many people who love jazz would agree that the 1940 sessions that brought together Sidney Bechet, Muggsy Spanier, Carmen Mastren, and Wellman Braud are a summation of what hot improvised music could be — easy yet intense, full of ensemble variations and surprises but leaving great open stretches for dramatic solos, four individualists jostling for space but working sweetly together as a cohesive community of sound and feeling.  The HRS records have been emulated with some success in this century (one memorable effort paired Jon-Erik Kellso and Bob Wilber one morning at Jazz at Chautauqua) — but one delicious evocation and tribute happened just a few months ago at the 2012 Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party.  The participants were Rene Hagmann, blowing mightily on cornet; Jean-Francois Bonnel on soprano saxophone and clarinet; Manu Hagmann on string bass; Roly Veitch on guitar.  Here are five truly inspiring performances — with some of the original details intact, but not repertory copies (at times, Rene leans much more towards Cootie Williams than Muggsy, to great effect) — stylish, fervent, and hot.

SWEET SUE:

LAZY RIVER:

FOUR OR FIVE TIMES:

SWEET LORRAINE:

CHINA BOY:

Heartwarming hot jazz!  (And there was a Bonnel-Hagmann Big Four performance of THAT’S A-PLENTY, which is being held in a safe place.  Details to come.)

May your happiness increase.

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