Tag Archives: Chicago Stompers

BENT PERSSON PLAYS LOUIS, Part Two

Still more from Bent’s recreation and reimagining of Louis’s classic early Thirties recordings — a Whitley Bay highlight from July 12, 2009.  I posted videos from the first part of this concert on August 2.  To refresh your memory, as they say in courtroom dramas, the band was international and truly “all-star,” including Nick Ward (drums), John Carstairs Hallam (bass), Martin Litton (piano), Jacob Ullberger (banjo / guitar), Jean-Francois Bonnel, Matthias Seuffert (reeds), Paul Munnery (trombone), Beat Clerc (trumpet), Michael McQuaid (trumpet / reeds), Ludvig Carlson, Spats Langham, Elena P. Paynes, and Bent himself (vocal), and one of two musicians whose names I didn’t catch or write down — being busy clutching my video camera like a man possessed!  (By the way, astute Louis-fanciers will note that Bent is often evoking Louis without playing the solos note for note, which raises these performances far above the limits of jazz repertory, or “playing old records live.”

Here’s a jaunty WALKIN’ MY BABY BACK HOME, no longer the property of Maurice Chevalier — now taken over by Bent and Spats Langham:

If that song celebrates the happiness of the end of a loving evening — infinitely expandable, with kisses and stops for barbecue — I SURRENDER, DEAR (which remains the property of Bing and Hawkins as well as Louis) depicts the lover’s swooning subjection, again offered with proper emotion by Spats:

WHEN YOUR LOVER HAS GONE is, as its title tells us, something very different — grieving and despondent, given a touching performance by Elena P. Paynes, temporarily on loan from the Chicago Stompers:

The destinies of Louis and Hoagy Carmichael were entwined early on, with the 1929 ROCKIN’ CHAIR (which Louis performed until the end of his life, with different bandsmen playing the other part) — but it didn’t stop there.  Carmichael must have been ecstatic to hear his songs immortalized by Louis, and Louis never got such good material.  This medley leaves out LAZY RIVER and GEORGIA ON MY MIND, but includes the rarely-heard MY SWEET and the pretty MOON COUNTRY, which Louis performed during his European tours but never recorded, as well as LYIN’ TO MYSELF and the exultant JUBILEE, sung here by Ludvig Carlson and Elena:

Many jazz wfriters have termed THAT’S MY HOME a brazen attempt to cash in on WHEN IT’S SLEEPY TIME DOWN SOUTH, and it does come from the same root — but what a pretty song it is, both here and in Louis’s 1932 Victor performance.  A pity he didn’t go back to it more often, although there is a 1961 version from the Ed Sullivan Show, full of feeling as always.  As is Spats:

WILL YOU, WON’T YOU BE MY BABY comes from the rare 1934 French Polydor session, and the song from the book of McKinney’s Cotton Pickers.  No vocal here, just romping solos by Bonnel and Seuffert:

Bent concluded the first half of the concert with a luxuriant evocation of the French Polydor ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET, originally a six-minute two-sided 78 disc.  Here Ludvig takes care of the vocal refrain:

The second half (from Louis’s Decca days) will appear soon. . . . till then, keep muggin’ lightly!

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PORTRAITS: WHITLEY BAY, 2009

Whose honey are you?  In the hotel breakfast bar, Billie oversees the butter, buttery spread, jam, and honey

Whose honey are you? In the hotel breakfast bar, Billie oversees the butter, buttery spread, jam, and honey

I’ve just returned from the nineteenth Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival, which was delightful.  I didn’t take as many still pictures as I should have, perhaps because I had my video camera glued to my eye . . . the results will, I hope, emerge soon.  But here are some portraits from the three days of elation and emotion:

Mike Durham's bass sax waits for true fulfillment -- to be played majestically by Frans Sjostrom

Mike Durham's bass sax waits for true fulfillment -- to be played majestically by Frans Sjostrom

Warming up before a rehearsal

Warming up before a rehearsal

Warming up with long tones

Warming up with long tones

Bent Persson listens

Bent Persson listens

Martin Litton

Martin Litton

Elena P. Paynes, vocalist with the Chicago Stompers, at rehearsal

Elena P. Paynes, vocalist with the Chicago Stompers, at rehearsal

Nick Ward, having a ball

Nick Ward, having a ball

John Carstairs Hallam, thinking it through

John Carstairs Hallam, thinking it through

In the brass section

In the brass section

Cousin Bob

Cousin Bob

Cousin John

Cousin John

On Bent Persson's music stand

On Bent Persson's music stand

Mike Durham (left) and Rene Hagmann listen intently to jazz erudition from an off-camera Norman Field

Mike Durham (left) and Rene Hagmann listen intently to jazz erudition from an off-camera Norman Field

Elena, onstage

Elena, onstage

Elena, successfully wooing the crowd

Elena, successfully wooing the crowd

Once more!

Once more!

Anna Lyttle (trumpet), Michael McQuaid (reeds)

Anna Lyttle (trumpet), Michael McQuaid (reeds)