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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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SAMMY PRICE

Three Classic Albums Plus

Avid AMSC 1078

 

 

CD1
Barrelhouse, Boogie-Woogie and the Blues
1. Jumpin' on 57th
2. Sam's Pretty Blues
3. If I Could Be With You
4. Pete's Delta Bound
5. Jonah Whales Again
6. Stormy Weather
7. Walkin' and Shoutin' the Boogie
8. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone
9. Manhattan Blues
10. Rockin' the Rocket
11. Shakin' and Rattlin'
 
Sammy Price - Piano
Vic Dickenson - Trombone
Jonah Jones - Trumpet
Pete Brown - Alto sax
Milt Hinton - Bass
Cozy Cole - Drums
 
A Real Jam Session
12. Swingin' Paris Style
13. Blue Berry
14. Big Mouth Steve from Baltimore
15. USA Romp
 
Sammy Price - Piano
Emmett Berry - Trumpet
George Stevenson - Trombone
Herbie Hall - Clarinet
Pops Foster - Bass
Fred Moore - Drums


CD2
After Hours
1. Roll 'Em Sam
2. Kansas City Boogie Woogie Stomp
3. Boogie Cha-Cha
4. N'Orleans Blues
5. Levee
6. Saint's Boogie
7. Blue Drag
8. Honky Tonk Caboose
9. Pack up `n Boogie
10. Chicken Strut
11. Boogie Woogie Slop
12. Wee Hours
 
Sammy Price - Piano
Mickey Baker, Al Casey - Guitars
Al Lucas - Bass
Panama Francis - Drums
 
Sidney Bechet and Sammy Price Bluesicians
13. St. Louis Blues
14. Darktown Strutter's Ball
15. Back Home
16. Memphis Blues
17. Yes, We Have No Bananas
18. Dinah
19. Tin Roof Blues
20. Jazz Me Blues
 
Sammy Price - Piano
Sidney Bechet - Soprano sax
Emmett Berry - Trumpet
Herbie Hall - Clarinet
George Stevenson - Trombone
Pops Foster - Bass
Fred Moore - Drums
 
A Real Jam Session
21. Paris Lament
22. Janine Boogie
 
Personnel as for CD1, tracks 12-15
 

 

I didn't really pay much attention to Sammy Price until I heard him in the small group on Henry "Red" Allen's album Feeling Good (which I am still waiting for someone to reissue on CD). As the title of the first LP here suggests, Price could play barrelhouse, boogie-woogie and the blues, as well as stride piano and various other styles as well as singing (as he does on Sam's Pretty Blues), so that he was conceivably an orchestra in hinself.

Tracks one to eleven illustrate a variety of styles. Jumpin' on 57th is virtually rock 'n' roll, while Sam's Pretty Blues is a simple blues featuring Sammy and If I Could Be With You is a Dixieland warhorse in which Vic Dickenson and Jonah Jones both growl on their instruments. Sammy's boogie piano is prominent in Walkin' and Shoutin' the Boogie. Jonah Jones and Pete Brown only appear on four of the eleven tracks, so that the main musicians are Price and Dickenson, who are spotlit in such numbers as Stormy Weather.

Some tracks from A Real Jam Session are spread across both CDs. It was recorded in Paris in 1955, with rather primitive sound quality, but it has the free-for-all atmosphere of a real jam session. Emmett Berry supplies outspoken trumpet to Blue Berry, which also contains some good examples of the way that Sammy Price could strum the piano as if it was a guitar. George Stevenson's gruff trombone is a highlight of Big Mouth Steve from Baltimore.

As After Hours only uses a quintet, I hoped it would provide more examples of Sammy Price's unmatched bluesy piano, but it turned out to consist mainly of rhythm-and-blues treatments of boogie-woogie tunes. The predominance of the blues makes for a rather samey session, although Boogie Cha-Cha has a Latin tinge. This LP seems to have been designed more for dancers than for listeners.

We return to real jazz with Sidney Bechet added to the musicians who appeared on A Real Jam Session. Bechet takes his fair share of solos and his unique vibrato carries all before it. The tunes are mostly old New Orleans favourites but the band's enthusiasm makes them sound fresh. One exception is the unexpected Yes, We Have No Bananas, a novelty song dating back to 1923. It is played jauntily, and Bechet's solo sticks close to the melody. Bechet supplies an impressive cadenza at the end of Tin Roof Blues.

Let's hope this double album introduces more listeners to Sammy Price's individual pianism, which deserves to be better known.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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