While surfing the web recently, I stumbled upon the site of the Liberty Street Jazz Band
and was greeted by their rompin’ version of Clarinet Marmalade. Formed in 1993, the sextet performs regularly at gigs in Cardiff, Penarth and Swansea.
The U.K. has hundreds of traditional jazz bands and every pub seems to have a "house band." While the majority of the trad outfits follow the style of the New Orleans Revival, you won’t hear many Crescent City favorites from the Liberty Street band. In fact, this album contains only one tune penned by a New Orleans native. The Welsh band delivers their own delightful blend of Chicago and New York styles and it’s done with a difference. They include a few seldom-heard gems including Will Dulmage’s Dreaming The Hours Away
, a 1949 minor hit, and I Would Do Anything For You
made famous by Eddie Condon. I have collected many versions of Home (When Shadows Fall)
over the years. Written in 1931 by sixteen year old Geoff Clarkson, his father Harry and bandleader Peter Van Steeden, the song became a huge success and was recorded by many major stars of the era. Liberty Street’s fine rendition brings my collection to fifty versions.
Cornetist, Marcus Bridgeman
and bassist Derek Newton
worked out a fabulous duo rendition of Summertime
. The band delivers a precise treatment of the rag, Black Cat On a Fence
penned by New Orleans trumpeter Charlie Love.
The Liberty Street Jazz Band
offers two CDs on their website and sound samples are available. These are top-notch jazzmen with great ideas and clever variations. I’ll call them a "thinking man’s bar band" and hope you like them too.