After Beat Records, like its sister label, Little Beat Records, is dedicated to preserving highlights in the history of jazz in Denmark. Both ventures are the work of a consortium of jazz collectors, discographers and musicians. They were responsible in 2005 for the excellent compilation titled The Harlem Kiddies - 1940-45
, Denmark’s first Afro-Danish jazz outfit.
The story behind the new CD is an exercise in frustration. The Soren Houlind Copenhagen Ragtime Band was, in 1972, a bunch of youngsters with a great love for the music of George Lewis and the other New Orleans revivalists. They had been playing together for about two years and toured the clubs of Denmark and even played in Germany and Belgium. They were approached by a booking agent who wanted to handle the band. He wanted the musicians to record an LP that he would use as an aid in booking a tour. The young jazzmen hired an engineer and worked tirelessly in a Copenhagen club. When the material was half finished, they discovered the club owner had vanished leaving nowhere for the band to finish the record. After a bit of searching, they found another studio and completed the session. The boys waited patiently for the release of the album but their booking agent had pulled a disappearing act, leaving the band and recording engineer, Jorgen Vad, unpaid and holding the bag. Houlind’s young band soon broke up and the recording session was forgotten until recently.
Soren "Doc" Houlind went on to become one of the finest New Orleans style drummers in Europe. He worked with the famed Papa Bue Jensen outfit for many years and recently recorded a couple of CDs with Freddy Lonzo and Brian Carrick on Big Bill Bissonette’s Jazz Crusade label. Houlind plays drums less frequently having recently switched to trumpet. He continues to lead his own group playing in the tradition of Avery "Kid" Howard.
Most of the other players on this session are still involved in music. Cornet Ole Oveson led his own "LaVida Jazzmen" for many years and now works in a German band "New Orleans Quarter." Clarinetist, Johannes Wrisberg continues on clarinet and saxophone with the Carlsberg Brass Band.
Pianist, Jan Feldthusen passed away in 2001. Erik Hansen plays trombone with the "Theis Jazzband." Ole Olsen plays bass with the legendary "Papa Bue Band" and has recently become proficient on the clarinet. Banjoist, Hans Knudsen switched to piano and leads his successful "Hans Knudsen Jump Band."
The music on the CD is pure New Orleans fare, well played and authentic. Like the Crescent City revivalists, the band tackled a wide variety of popular songs, blues, rags and gospel tunes. We liked the Ragtime Band’s reading of James Scott’s 1914 "Climax Rag" in traditional stop-time. Houlind and his group delivered some familiar favorite traditional jazz pieces in the form of "You Shouldn’t Scorn Your Wife," "Cornet Ole’s Blues" and "Wrisberg’s Blues." All the aforementioned songs have been played by New Orleans bands for years and years. Everyone put their own title on them. "Wrisberg’s Blues" exists in this writer’s collection under several titles including "Olympia Special" when performed by Harold Dejan’s Olympia Brass Band.
Sonny Clapp’s "Girl Of My Dreams" and Harry Akst’s "Dinah" date back to the mid 1920s and both were often played in New Orleans dancehalls. Leon Rene’s "When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano" is an unlikely tune for a trad band but they do a great job with the WW-II song and it includes some interesting solos by Overson and Hansen. The rhythm section is featured in the little band’s hot version of "Who’s Sorry Now." It’s a fine example of Soren Houlind’s creative drumming. Collegiates 1972
is a nice example of how New Orleans music found a very happy home in Europe thanks to dedicated bands like this one. Thirty-four years after this recording session, New Orleans jazz still thrives in Denmark. Jorgen Vad, the recording engineer for the session is still producing exciting jazz recordings.
Any fan of N.O. revival music will enjoy this CD.