The splendors of the 2012 Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party continue in a set celebrating the compositions and recordings of Miss Lil — Lillian Hardin — in the Twenties. On the marriage license she was L. H. Armstrong, but she did more than keep house: she wrote songs and led hot recording sessions. And she was one of the few early women to do these things successfully. In addition, without Miss Lil, husband Louis might have stayed comfortably as Joe Oliver’s second cornetist for many years . . . material for an alternate-universe science fiction novel.
Lil’s recording career continued on through the Thirties — with a brilliant series of Decca sessions, a few featuring Joe Thomas and Chu Berry — and the Forties. As a child, one of my first jazz records ever was a 12″ Black and White 78 of “Lil ‘Brown Gal’ Armstrong” with Jonah Jones, J. C. Higginbotham, Al Gibson, and Baby Dodds — among others. She played and recorded with Sidney Bechet and Chicagoans . . . always exuberant, energetic.
Early on, I remember being swept up in the force and joy of Louis’ Hot Fives and Sevens, and only later coming to the sessions that paired Lil with Johnny Dodds, George Mitchell, and others — powerful music where the players’ delight was absolutely tangible. As it is here!
Here are a half-dozen 2012 performances featuring Matthias Seuffert, clarinet; Bent Persson, cornet; Staphane Gillot, reeds; Jens Lindgren, trombone; Martin Seck, piano; Martin Wheatley, banjo; Malcolm Sked, bass.
GATEMOUTH (or GATE MOUTH, one of those locutions designed to state that one had a large orifice up front):
PERDIDO STREET BLUES:
GEORGIA BO BO (from “Lil’s Hot Shots,” the Hot Five on another label, not well-disgused:
DROP THAT SACK (as above):
May your happiness increase.