Famed British jazz trumpeter Humphrey Lyttelton titled his memoirs I Play As I Please
. Mart Rodger & Manchester Jazz
might say, "We play whatever appeals to us." The band from Manchester is not tied to any sharply defined genre and the "tune" is all-important. As an example, the band turns out a knockout rendition of Joe "King" Oliver's "Snag It" then crosses the tracks to perform an equally hot reading of Eddie "Daddy" Edwards' "Sensation Rag."
Manchester Jazz is a band of polished musicians playing perfectly structured arrangements. It's also a group that plays happy jazz. You'll find no dirges on this CD. This reviewer was surprised to find a track occupied by Wingy Manone's "Strange Blues." I've loved the haunting melody for decades by Bob Scobey's Frisco Jazz Band of 1955. Mart Rodger penned a fine blues too, in the form of the pretty "Blues For A Viking." The band's bassist, Colin Smith contributes another original titled "Gospel Train" featuring nice solos by the very strong frontline and a vocal by pianist Roger Browne.
Novelty songs are not forgotten when the band attacks "What Do You Mean, You've Lost Your Dog", a tune typical of British music hall traditions. The leader takes the George Formby style vocal. Tasty Jazz
is a fine example of British traditional jazz performed by seasoned veterans who love their jobs. In a few weeks, we'll review more by this exciting band.