Here's something that DeParis fans may not have heard. The content of this new issue was recorded in 1960 when the DeParis band was on a European tour.
Sadly, Omer Simeon, the band's clarinetist of many years, had passed away in late 1959. He is replaced by Garvin Bushell, a big band musician who spent years with Fletcher Henderson and Chick Webb. As good as he is, Bushell can't quite fill the shoes of the giant Simeon. In essence, this is the same band that appeared on the celebrated 1957 tour of Africa.
The New Orleans born drummer, Wilbert Kirk and pianist Sonny White both joined Wilbur DeParis in the mid 1950s and know the book perfectly. The DeParis outfit usually worked with a single trumpet played by Wilbur's younger brother Sidney. Nobody really knows why Doc Cheatham was added for the 1960 tour but few will complain. Sidney and Doc show their stuff on That's a Plenty
and Found a New Baby
. You'll hear the odd harmonica solo by drummer Wilbert Kirk on several numbers although this reviewer could survive nicely without them. Kirk went on to perform with a family harmonica group in later years.
The "meat & potatoes" on this CD are provided by the DeParis brothers themselves. Wilbur was one of the most exciting players of his era and a faultless technician. Sidney's trumpet is as energetic as ever and his muted solos are extraordinary. Both are at their best on High Society
and it's a tune the band has played a thousand times. Battle Hymn
is another winner.
It's nice to hear bassist Hayes Alvis again. Alvis had to be one of the most interesting individuals in jazz history. He had done it all! Born in 1907, he worked with Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Earl Hines, Jimmy Noone, and Benny Carter. Hayes Alvis played bass, tuba and drums but it wasn't enough for him. He operated a successful interior decorating firm, was a Red Cross volunteer and a musicians' union rep for Local 802. The bassist studied dentistry and had a pilot's license. Hayes Alvis died in 1972.
Although not essential
DeParis, this is a most enjoyable album.