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A Snapshot of His American Recordings 1995-1999

Upbeat URCD274



1. In the Good Old Summertime

2. Old Fashioned Love

3. My Wild Irish Rose

4. Ice Cream

5. Over the Waves

6. Does Jesus Care?

7. Someday My Prince Will Come

8. Storyville Blues

9. Fidgety Feet

10. In the Sweet Bye and Bye

11. Caldonia

12. I Want You

13. Where the Blue of the Night

14. Roses of Picardy

15. Where the River Shannon Flows

Sammy Rimington – Clarinet all tracks except alto sax track 11

Sarah Spencer – Tenor sax track 6

Big Bill Bissonnette – Trombone tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11; drums tracks 12, 13, 14, and 15

Eric Webster – Banjo tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6

Ken Matthews – String bass tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6

Colin Bowden – Drums tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 12, 13, 14, and 15

Fred Vigorito – Trumpet tracks 5, 7, and 8

Paul Boehmke – Tenor sax tracks 7, 9, and 10; clarinet track 11

Bill Sinclair – Piano tracks 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15

Emil Mark – Banjo tracks 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15

Arnie Hyman – String bass tracks 5, 7, 9, 10, and 11

Mouldy Dick McCarthy – String bass track 8

John Russell – Drums tracks 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11

Greg Stafford – Trumpet tracks 9, 10, and 11; vocal track 11

Colin Bray – String bass tracks 12, 13, 14, and 15

Recorded for the Jazz Crusade label at various locations in the U.S.A. and U.K. between 1995 and 1999.

This CD is a compilation of tracks featuring Sammy Rimington, recorded by and for the American Jazz Crusade label, which was then owned by Big Bill Bissonnette and is now part of the Upbeat stable. I was misled by the title at first, thinking it referred to recordings made by Rimington in the U.S. on various labels there, but not so. It turns out that the “American” of the title does not refer solely to recording locations (some were recorded in the U.K.) or to musical groups (which include some British musicians) but to the single label that commissioned and/or issued the tracks, as Liz Biddle informs us the booklet where she lists the relevant Jazz Crusade catalogue numbers of the CDs from which these tracks are taken: JCCD3011, 3038, 3045, and 3048.

On these tracks Rimington is accompanied by members of the various groups that came under the aegis of Big Bill Bissonnette,, including his Easy Riders Jazz Band and The December Band, and by others such as saxophonist Sarah Spencer from the U.K.—his former wife—her fellow countryman Colin Bowden on drums, and trumpeter Greg Stafford from New Orleans. Such stellar backing gives Rimington able support for the most part. However, some of the drumming left a bit to be desired. I found Bowden’s pounding 4/4 on bass drum a bit distracting on most numbers on which he plays, as well as the rather strange punctuation—toms, rim shots, cymbal crashes, etc.—he gave the Rimington original composition, I Want You. Also, Bissonnette’s “bombs” and “explosions” a là Sammy Penn did not enhance the numbers where he played drums. (For me, Russell was the preferred drummer—unobtrusive but not unheard.)

Such minor deficiencies did not deter Rimington, a magnificent clarinettist as these tracks clearly indicate, comfortable in all registers of the clarinet, obviously influenced by George Lewis, evidencing fine fingering and replete with interesting ideas. I particularly liked his low register openings on In the Good Old Summertime and Where the Blue of the NightI was almost surprised that on the latter Bing Crosby did not sing following Rimington’s opening chorus on this, Crosby signature piece! It does, however, contain splendid runs from high through middle to low registers by Rimington.. His treatment of Does Jesus Care?—all in the upper register and set off with a gentle vibrato—was most satisfying. He is also no slouch on alto sax, although here he plays that reed on only one track, Caldonia.

The play list is perfectly suited to showcasing Rimington’s talents. Probably most of the tracks will be quite familiar to most people, but possibly for interest a couple of less familiar numbers (in trad playlists, at least) are included: My Wild Irish Rose and Where the River Shannon Flows (usually limited to St. Patrick’s Day, if at all), Someday My Prince Will Come (quite often heard at trad. occasions in Europe, however), Where the Blue of the Night (almost indelibly marked “Crosby”), and, of course, Rimington’s own I Want You. Some of the waltzes that were taken in 4/4 time did not come off too well— My Wild Irish Rose and Where the River Shannon Flows—although the tempo each is taken at might have something to do with it.

None of that takes away from Rimington’s playing, and if one is unfamiliar with it, this CD would be an excellent introduction. For those familiar with Remington, this is a good collection to be savoured all in one place, even if one has the original Jazz Crusade CDs

More information is available at the Upbeat web site,

Bert Thompson

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