The name is simple, accurate, not the slightest bit hyperbolic. They’re a compact, thrifty jazz orchestra, getting the maximum of variety and orchestral scope — not to mention a plunging swing on hot tunes, a delicate depth on slow ones — out of this apparently-improbable combination of instruments. Bent Persson plays trumpet, cornet, occasionally Eb alto horn (at Whitley Bay, he borrowed a valve trombone from Mike Durham); Frans Sjostrom is majestic yet mobile on the bass sax; Jacob Ullberger holds it all together on banjo and guitar. Sadly, their schedules keep them from playing together: Frans said that they have sessions like this only once a year, so I was delighted to be able to capture this one on video. But they did record an extraordinarily fine CD on Gosta Hagglof’s Kenneth label under this title: look for it wherever better books and records are sold!
The critical viewer might catch a fluffed note or a missed cue — but I have chosen to post their entire hour-long set because this group gets together to play so infrequently. And I think that the without-a-net quality of these performances makes them irreplaceable.
Their Whitley Bay program alternated between Jelly Roll Morton, early Ellington, and Bix — to great effect. Here they are on KANSAS CITY STOMPS, summoning up a seven or eight piece band. I didn’t miss any of the Red Hot Peppers in this version:
Early Ellington followed, the pretty but moving BLACK BEAUTY:
Bix was all around us, so the Hot Jazz Trio took off on SOMEBODY STOLE MY GAL:
Sidney Bechet’s pretty SOUTHERN SUNSET (WHEN THE SUN SETS DOWN SOUTH):
Bix and Company again (as well as Eddie Condon) on Hoagy Carmichael’s RIVERBOAT SHUFFLE:
Their adaptation of Frank Trumbauer’s take on JAPANESE SANDMAN:
PEE WEE’S BLUES featured Frans and Jacob, while Bent rested his lip for a few minutes:
STEAMBOAT STOMP, complete with whistle, returned to the world of Jelly Roll Morton, with the Hot Jazz Trio becoming a whole roomful of Red Hot Peppers:
On DUSK, they magically evoked the 1940-1 Ellington band, with Bent picking up a valve trombone he had borrowed from Mike Durham for the occasion:
MOVE OVER returned to an earlier Ellington Era:
CLARINET MARMALADE for Bix, Tram, and Lang:
Finally, a jubilant BLACK BOTTOM STOMP to conclude the hour:
Is it hot in here ot is it just the Trio?