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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



NEW BLACK EAGLE JAZZ BAND

At Symphony Hall -
10th Anniversary Concert

Own Label BE[LECD]4003

 

 


1. Buddy’s Habit (a)

2. Proctology (b)

3. She’s Crying for Me (a)

4. Polka Dots and Moonbeams (c)

5. Nuages (d)

6. Shake It and Break It (e)

7. Grandpa’s Spells (f)

8. Creepy Feeling (g)

9. Bogalusa Strut (h)

10. Apex Blues (i)

11. Old Rugged Cross (h)

12. Sweetie Dear (a)

Personnel:

a) Tony Pringle – Cornet and leader

Stan Vincent – Trombone

Brian Ogilvie – Reeds

Bob Pilsbury – Piano

Eli Newberger – Tuba

Peter Bullis – Banjo

C. H. “Pam” Pameijer – Drums

b) Terry Waldo – Piano

c) Dick Wetmore – Violin

Don Kenney – Bass

Eli Newberger – Tuba

Bob Pilsbury – Piano

C. H. “Pam” Pameijer – Drums

d) Dick Wetmore – Violin

Brian Ogilvie – Tenor sax

Don Kenney – Bass

Peter Bullis – Banjo

Bob Pilsbury – Piano

C. H. “Pam” Pameijer – Drums

e) As (a) except Butch Thompson – Clarinet

Brian Ogilvie – Soprano sax

f) As (a) except Butch Thompson – Piano

g) Butch Thompson – Piano

h) As (a) except Butch Thompson – Clarinet

Brian Ogilvie – Tenor sax

i) Butch Thompson and Brian Ogilvie – Clarinets

Terry Waldo – Piano

Don Kenney – Bass

Peter Bullis – Banjo

C. H. “Pam” Pameijer – Drums

Recorded live at Symphony Hall, Boston, Mass. on Oct. 7, 1981.

 

This is the third in a series of fourteen limited edition CD’s, reissuing material by the band that previously appeared on LP’s—mainly on their own label but also on a few other small labels, such as Philo, Philips, and Dirty Shame—and on cassette tapes. Some of these cassettes were issued simultaneously with the LP’s but also contained additional tracks. Other cassettes with different material were issued in that format only. When the company that produced the cassettes went out of business, the digital masters were returned to the band. These form the basis of most of the material on this CD set.

The first tune of the evening’s celebration of the band’s 10th anniversary was a jaunty, largely ensemble presentation of Buddy’s Habit , with Brian Ogilvie’s fluid, supple clarinet featured on the initial break sequence and then again in a solo and in backing Pringle’s solo. Crafty dynamics let us hear Newberger’s ascending and descending runs of four-to-the-bar notes, his circular breathing technique allowing him to defy the laws of breathing. It is a bravura performance that gets the party off to a rousing start, as one can hear from the applause of the two thousand or so in attendance.

Four other tunes are performed by the “regular” band. Bullis provides a solid anchor in She’s Crying for Me along with Pilsbury on piano, providing a base on which the front line can engage in several effervescent ensemble explorations, further enhanced by Pameijer’s gentle woodblocks ministrations. The next, Bogalusa Strut, conjures up reminders of the Sam Morgan band which gave it immortality, although the New Black Eagles here play it just a bit faster than did the Morgan group. On this track Ogilvie switches to tenor sax and Thompson plays clarinet, demonstrating his facility on that horn. Another track with the same personnel is Old Rugged Cross. It is rather unremarkable, consisting of a series of solos, the most interesting being Pilsbury’s where the rest of the rhythm section drops out for several bars and, later, a sequence where the tuba and tenor trade two’s. This track is the longest in the set, coming in at almost ten minutes. The last, Sweetie Dear, which ends the CD, is taken at a brisk tempo. Although being a rousing closer for the CD, it was not the final number of the concert. That belonged to Shake It and Break It, another cooker which featured Butch Thompson on clarinet and Brian Ogilvie on soprano sax. At its conclusion, the giant American flag dropped down from above the stage, just as it did to end the Stars and Stripes Forever when played by the Boston Pops Orchestra. However, on the CD Shake It and Break It is placed in the middle of the tune list for some reason.

Invited by the band to help mark the occasion were several guests who either joined the rest of the band or most of its rhythm section on some numbers. Two of them, Terry Waldo and Butch Thompson, were featured in solo performances on piano. The former played his own composition, Proctology, which, with its ragtime feel and percussive effects as well as its cunning breaks, displays well Waldo’s talents, especially for musical comedy. (And we won’t get into the significance of the tune’s title!)

The other pianist is Thompson, who has long been a devotee of Jelly Roll Morton and selected a seldom-heard Morton tune, Creepy Feeling, for his solo. Pervading it is one of Morton’s favored rhythms, the habanera, and along the way it features the hanging breaks, another Morton device. Thompson’s technique is sure and he has no difficulty whatever in providing a performance of which I am sure Mr. Jelly would have approved. Thompson also replaces Pilsbury on piano on one track here, Grandpa’s Spells, another Morton composition, and has no trouble executing the various runs that abound in that tune.

Although most bands do not employ a violin these days, it was an instrument included in many of the early jazz bands which included musicians such as A. J. Piron, Manuel Minetta, and Peter Bocage, and a little later Stuff Smith and Joe Venuti, to mention just a few. Here Don Wetmore plays violin, joined by Don Kenney on bass and three of the band’s back line—Newberger, Pilsbury, and Pameijer—on Polka Dots and Moonbeams, which opens with Newberger taking the lead, then being joined by Wetmore on the bridge. The next chorus is a solo by Wetmore, plucking the strings on his violin so that it sounds extraordinarily like a guitar, following which the lead is traded back and forth, all in all making for a satisfying change of pace, as does Nuages, played by the same group, with the addition of Ogilvie on tenor sax.

This CD provides enough to make one wish he or she could have been at the concert that evening, because it goes without saying that there was much more that could not be included here. At the band’s web site <www.blackeagles.com> one can obtain more information.

Bert Thompson



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