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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Reflections of Fats:
Music from Jeff Barnhartís
new Fats Waller show




  1. Honeysuckle Rose
  2. At Twighlight 
  3. Hold My Hand 
  4. Keepin' Out Of Mischief 
  5. Keep A Song In Your Soul 
  6. Moppin' And Boppin' 
  7. You Must Be Losing Your Mind 
  8. Blue Turning Gray Over You 
  9. Ain't Misbehavin' 
  10. Rump Steak Serenade 
  11. My Fate Is In Your Hands 
  12. Your Feet's Too Big 
  13. Twelfth Street Rag 
  14. Do You Have To Go? 
  15. The Joint Is Jumpin' 

Jeff Barnhart (piano, vocals): Jamie Brownfield (trumpet): John Hallam (reeds): Bruce Rollo (bass): Nick Ward (drums)
September 2011, Theatre Royal, Workington, Cumbria [70:26]


Jeff Barnhart's latest disc reflects his concert show celebrating the music of Fats Waller. This is not a huge stretch for Barnhart, whose astute musicality, stylistic grip, unwillingness to reprise set-in-stone models and whose yen for the pleasures of individual and corporate sonority, are widely evident in this excellently recorded set.

Certainly there are tried and tested standards-where would one be without those-but look closer at the track listing and you'll certainly encounter songs you've barely heard of, if at all. It shows the depth and breadth of Waller's compositional oeuvre that we run into, say, Do You Have To Go? and Hold My Hand alongside classics like The Joint Is Jumpin', Ain't Misbehavin',  Honeysuckle Rose and-not written by him but associated with him-Your Feet's Too Big.

The band offers sprightly, easily swinging well integrated pleasures. Excellent solos are well distributed. In At Twilight, for example, just to take one song at random, we hear trumpet and clarinet obbligati, which add sizeable timbral variety. Tempi are well chosen: a Jump style approach to Hold My Hand and a nice loping Keepin' Out Of Mischief, for instance. Young Jamie Brownfield, a rising British star, plays a firm, cleverly imaginative lead, playing with a `narrow bore' incision when necessary. He makes no attempt to copy Waller's small group trumpet lead Herman Autrey. Similarly whilst John Hallam must be well versed in the vernacular he is no mere cipher of Gene Cedric; rather he's very much his own man with taut, bustling Pete Brown sax solos. He can even mine Ben Webster, as he clearly does in the lushly romantic My Fate Is In Your Hands. Bruce Rollo provides sturdy support and drummer Nick Ward shows just why he is so valued-just listen to what he does in Keep A Song In Your Soul. Binding everything together is Barnhart, playing and singing with verve and communicative charm. He's a Stride practitioner of authority, and pays vocal homage when he exercises the larynx.

The show must be worth catching, as this disc assuredly is.

Jonathan Woolf

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