All jazz fans have their own versions of Jazz Camelot — one bright shining hour when the greatest figures improvised together. For some, it’s Basie at the Famous Door 1938, or Ellington-Webster-Blanton 1940, Bird and Diz 1945, or even oddities such as Bessie Smith singing Cole Porter in 1936 or the Jimmy Ryan’s Sunday jam sessions.
But one particularly bright constellation is the early intersection of young Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet under Clarence Williams’ aegis — in the first half of the nineteen-twenties. Yes, they reunited twice — in a 1940 Decca studio session and a 1945 concert — but nothing touches the ardent intensity of those early sides, which this splendid band evokes once again: Bent Persson, cornet; Stephane Gillot, Thomas Winteler, reeds; Jens Lindgren, trombone / vocal; Martin Seck, piano; Henri Lemaire, banjo / string bass; Cecile McLorin Salvant, vocals — recorded October 28, 2012, at the Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party.
Fats Waller’s early WILD CAT BLUES:
The deep-down TEXAS MOANER BLUES:
Cecile, evoking the Twenties blues queens on CHANGEABLE DADDY O’MINE:
The incendiary CAKE WALKIN’ BABIES FROM HOME:
PAPA DE DA DA, irresistible as a song and perhaps as a model of behavior:
COAL CART BLUES:
DINAH, with a remarkable vocal by Jens:
CANDY LIPS, a reed riot:
PERDIDO STREET BLUES, in honor of the 1940 NEW ORLEANS JAZZ session for Decca:
May your happiness increase.