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Ben Cohen with the Sonny Dee All-Stars


Remembering Ben Cohen 2


LAKE LACD353 [67:18]



The Sonny Dee All Stars

Please Donít Talk About Me When Iím Gone

Mamaís Gone Goodbye

Everybody Loves My Baby

I Cried For You

Blue And Broken-Hearted

I Canít Believe That Youíre In Love With Me

I Want A Little GirL


Glad Rag Doll

Roses Of Picardy

At Sundown

If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight

Ainít She Sweet?

Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me

Laurie Chescoeís Goodtime Jazz

Heebie Jeebies


Potato Head Blues

Recorded 1990 except the last three tracks, recorded in 2000


Remembering Ben Cohen Volume 1 was issued on LACD334 and this release delves deeper into the nether reaches of a cassette recording made in 1990. In this session, which comprises the bulk of Lakeís disc, the cornet player leads the Sonny Dee All Stars, formed by drummer Stan Daly who had just given up long-time membership of Harry Goldís Pieces of Eight. Lake recorded the All Stars on a cassette so the CD restores a decidedly limited-availability item to greater reach. Daly was the titular Sonny Dee.

Though he was a disciple of Armstrong, the band ethos here is much Chicago-to-Dixieland. Cohenís punchy, no-nonsense lead suits the ethos very well. The strong solos and rich ensembles are vividly done, propelled by the rhythm sectionís crisp appreciation of their duties. Even in a piece which Cohen would habitually played in a style more orientated toward Armstrong, such as the Bocage-Piron tune Mamaís Gone Goodbye, Cohenís driving inspiration remains Wild Bill Davison, with an admixture of Jimmy McPartland, and Al Newmanís clarinet makes a suitably strong impression too. The All Stars were a fine, forceful band with Pete Hodge majoring on muted trombone and Austin Malcolm proving a deft stylist at the piano, notably so on I Cried For You.

The gentle melancholia of Blue and Broken-Hearted is taken at a ballad tempo whereas that standby I Want A Little Girl features Newmanís tenor sax Ė which is not at all reminiscent of Bud Freeman - and has a Cohen vocal. In the band book was Spain, a splendid old number, which receives a fine arrangement, wafting on a springy rhythm. Though the Davison-Condon axis was something of lodestar for the band they largely ignore their modelís occasionally interminable Ďgo roundí solos at the end of numbers. In fact, itís only during At Sundown that the All Stars especially indulge this tactic, and even here Ė because of its rarity during the set Ė it actually comes as a pleasant surprise. Meanwhile Malcolm can stretch out with the rhythm section on Ainít She Sweet?

Thereís a bonus of three tracks featuring Cohen with Laurie Chescoeís Goodtime Jazz. On the one track in which they duet on cornets Cohen and Dave Hewett sound not unlike an amalgam of Bunny Berigan and Ziggy Elman. This trio of pieces is also attractive though beware the tracking, which has gone awry. Track 15 is Stardust and not Heebie Jeebies.

With admiring notes and good sound quality Ė the tape has come up well - this is once more recommendable to Cohenís admirers.

Jonathan Woolf

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