Don’t let the forbidding sign dismay you: I made it the title of this video-recollection simply because it was so irrelevant to the musical effervescence of this afternoon’s jazz. (I “saved my seat” by refusing to leave it until the set was over.)
That afternoon, July 11, 2010, seems far away now — until I listen again to the music and am transported to the 2010 Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival, and a long set featuring reedman Thomas Winteler (who can sound more like Sidney Bechet than anyone I’ve ever heard).
Much dramatic violence has been done on various reed instruments in the sacred name of Sidney, but Winteler’s approach is both balanced and impassioned. Alongside him is my hero Bent Persson, trumpet; Michel Bard, baritone saxophone and clarinet; Lou Lauprete, piano; Henri Lemaire, bass; Pierre-Alain Maret, banjo; Ron Houghton, drums.
Here are two performances recalling the somewhat uneasy reunion of Louis Armstrong and Sidney in the Decca studios in 1940.
First, PERDIDO STREET BLUES:
And a trotting DOWN IN HONKY TONK TOWN:
The band — with Ron Houghton changing over to washboard — went back to the Johnny Dodds repertoire (for one of the most-frequently played songs of that whole weekend) for FORTY AND TIGHT:
James P. Johnson’s rhapsody to amour-propre, OLD-FASHIONED LOVE:
CAKE-WALKIN’ BABIES FROM HOME again summoned up Louis and Sidney, energetically battling it out under the banner of Clarence Williams in 1924-5:
CHINA BOY, announced by Thomas as “An easy one,” reminding me of the HRS Bechet-Spanier Big Four:
PETITE FLEUR, Sidney’s late-in-life hit record:
VIPER MAD, that paean to muggles or muta, from Sidney’s brief career as a leader on records in the late Thirties (I can still hear O’Neill Spencer’s encouraging exhortations to become Tall):
A strolling ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET:
And, as an energetic set-closer, SWEETIE DEAR, homage to the 1932 New Orleans Feetwarmers session for Victor. The closing riffs (straight from Louis) point to the conventions of the Swing Era, as heard through the Basie band:
Rumor has it that Thomas and Bent have made a CD . . . details, anyone?