My title summons up memories of the October 1936 record date for Lester Young, Carl Smith, Count Basie, Walter Page, Jo Jones, and Jimmy Rushing — but the little band that appeared at the November 2014 Whitley Bay Classic Jazz Party evoked music from an earlier generation: trumpeter Jabbo Smith’s Aces of Rhythm, a ferociously hot small band that was promoted by a rival record label as a virtuosic competitor for Louis Armstrong.
Trumpeter / scholar Peter Ecklund wrote of Jabbo, “[He] picked up on a style that Louis Armstrong was playing a couple of years back in the 20s — the hot stomp, two-beat style . . . Jabbo was playing brilliantly, but carelessly. Very exciting — frequently right on the edge of being out of control.”
Menno Daams, the twenty-first century evocation of Jabbo seen here, isn’t “on the edge” in any way; he handles the acrobatic (even exhibitionistic) rapid-fire turns of phrase masterfully. He is matched by Jean-Francois Bonnel (taking the Omer Simeon part) on clarinet and alto, Keith Nichols on piano and vocal; Martin Wheatley on banjo; Phil Rutherford, brass bass.
BAND BOX STOMP:
GOT BUTTER ON IT (vocal Keith):
LINA BLUES (vocal Keith):
LITTLE WILLIE BLUES (I know that the US character “Little Willie” and the UK description “Little willy” are two different things. Do you?):
SAU SHA STOMP:
Isn’t this brave hot music? Congratulations to the 2014 Aces of Rhythm, led so nobly by Menno Daams.
May your happiness increase!