Many of the most admired jazz improvisers don’t sit down and “compose” music on manuscript paper; rather, they invent new compositions on the spot while playing.
The reed master Matthias Seuffert is a heartening exception, and this set at the 2012 Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party, “Forty Years of Jazz,” allowed him to show off more of his considerable talents. The premise was remarkable in itself: Matthias presented original compositions that evoked the first four decades of jazz and paid tribute to the great figures.
The set also displayed the marvelous professionalism of the players, for I suspect that some of them were seeing these scores for the second time in their lives. The music would have been more polished had there been several long rehearsals, but it exuberantly got to the heart of things.
The players are Matthias, reeds and a surprise vocal; Rico Tomasso, trumpet; Jean-Francois Bonnel, reeds; Kristoffer Kompen, trombone; Martin Litton, piano; Martin Wheatley, guitar; Manu Hagmann, string bass; Josh Duffee, drums.
For Louis and Earl, circa 1928 — SATCHELMOUTH STRUT:
Mr. Beiderbecke, meet Mr. Trumbauer — TAKE A TRAM TO BIXVILLE:
For Fats Waller and his Rhythm — a special tribute to Mike Durham, the generous genius of the Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party, with a heartfelt vocal by Matthias — WHERE WOULD WE BE WITHOUT YOU?:
The one, the only Coleman Hawkins — FOR THE BEAN (or TO FATHER BEAN):
Ditto for Edward Kennedy Ellington — SOPHISTICATED EDDIE:
For BG, Teddy, and Gene — OPUS 5/6 or 7/8:
And a mid-Forties reconsideration of “I’M COMIN’ VIRGINIA,” in which she definitely has a new outfit — VIRGINIA BOP:
What an imagination!
May your happiness increase.