Around About Dusk, Live at the Jamboree ***1/2

''Get your confession ready 1, 2, 3, I'm going to give you the third degree:'' Trad jazz beyond all faddery that caught us first here with a shanty-like motion scooped up and served impressively on 'Orchard Fruits' the west countryness of the …

Published: 24 Jul 2023. Updated: 9 months.

''Get your confession ready 1, 2, 3, I'm going to give you the third degree:'' Trad jazz beyond all faddery that caught us first here with a shanty-like motion scooped up and served impressively on 'Orchard Fruits' the west countryness of the Bristol band Around About Dusk part of the blend. Rachel Lawrence's cooing, neatly understated, vocal and deft accordion playing - and she writes some of the engaging originals on the album in addition - including a neat pen picture on 'The Mouse' the little creature ''surviving off a thimbleful of gin'' leading us into an antique sound that can go florid on clarinet and thumps along thanks to firm bass, guitar, drums and celebratory trumpet. Recorded live (the vocals are a bit too underamplified in the balance) last year at King's Cross London trad jazz redoubt the Jamboree on St Chad's Place, the band against the odds of the opening find a fetching foxtrot-like teeter sway to leap around on Lawrence original 'The Moon' and cover Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton's 'Wildman Blues' in a very English 1950s style sporting a trumpet line (from Joss Murray) that even gentleman of trad Kenny Ball could have delivered. Lawrence's voice works well on the love lorn trot-a-long 'Falling' and the band do a fabulous version of 'Who Walks In When I Walk Out?' introduced by Elsie Carlisle in the 1930s and covered later by Ella Fitzgerald the absolute highlight. Small caveat 30s novelty song 'I Like Bananas Because They Have No Bones' might get on your nerves after a few plays. But got your penance ready as the adultery confrontation song 'Who Walks In' lyrics have it? Clearly fess up. But mainly for the relief of japes and the gas rather than self-flagellation. Lawrence proves a characterful life force and moves the band along in buoyantly shipshape and Bristol fashion at all times. Imagine how Around About Dusk, photo: press, would sound with pukka studio sound and the right kind of ears in a producer steering the boat who doesn't iron out all the things here that make the band so appealing and ungeneric. Bearing in mind their obvious early jazz style preferences Lawrence's unique sound is just inching to emerge that bit more dialling in from such a classic Giles Gilbert Scott kiosk of a gem of an album to greet a whole new irony-loving generation that would make the joke at their own expense even if they were pulled up yet again by some bluff older geezer in a blazer indicting all of youthdom for not knowing what a red phone box let alone a phonograph looks like or even that Right Said Fred isn't their idea at all of Fred Astaire. Piled high with vim and full of fun filled moments the time travel imaginings of Around About Dusk do not come over at all hokey even when such a game crew are pelting along at full chug.

Live at the Jamboree is available here

  • Playing The Canteen in Bristol this coming Wednesday to launch the recording

Tags: reviews

Jack Jones featuring Joey De Francesco, ArtWork, Cavalry Productions ****

Marlbank album of the week for week beginning 24 July 2023 Classic crooning rooted in swing and the Great American Songbook is something of a lost art and Jack Jones, like Tony Bennett who sadly died this week, inhabits pop and easy listening …

Published: 23 Jul 2023. Updated: 9 months.

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Marlbank album of the week for week beginning 24 July 2023

Classic crooning rooted in swing and the Great American Songbook is something of a lost art and Jack Jones, like Tony Bennett who sadly died this week, inhabits pop and easy listening fans' consciousness as often as he does jazz fans', is the last in a line from the golden years. He was winning Grammys in the 1960s and still as this album shows is as formidable a taste as the most carefully coveted malt whiskey in your collection, a voice that most young male jazz singers would do much to emulate or give up entirely because few with the best will in the world can come close to owning a voice of the calibre of Jones' or able to use it with so much panache. Singers like Michael Bublé do nothing for me and cannot remotely compare. I haven't been as moved in a while given a soft spot for crooning since listening to some Jerry Vale on the soundtrack of The Irishman.

Equipped with John Clayton arrangements and the featured presence of Joey De Francesco who died last summer not long after ArtWork was recorded at a studio in Los Angeles, the fine pianist Tamir Hendelman is also on the album plus a lot of strings within a 50+ orchestra - what a sound they wrap Jones' voice in.

There is little that is unfamiliar to anyone who has switched on a radio in the last 50 years - the swagger of 'Fever,' an amused version of 'Hello,' that smile and laugh in Jones' voice will put a smile on anyone's face and De Francesco lights up the introduction to 'At Last' by bringing a lot of colour to the song that Jones responds to in very cool fashion.

A canny more recent inclusion of Gregory Porter's 'If Love Is Overrated' from All Rise where the horns in the introduction bring to mind the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra hearing Jones sing a song we know from Porter in recent years flips the same coin Jack Jones, who was 84 when this was recorded, playing the song far more laidback.

And laidback is what Jones does so well. 'This Masquerade,' 'If You Go Away' and interesting choice 'Empty Chairs' by Don McLean with sublime strings and harp at the beginning are also here. But the most moving choice of all is 'Free Again' (aka 'Non… C'est rien') where Jones goes incredibly deep down to the lowest reaches of his register on a song which he himself covered in the 1960s on Lady. Comparing the two is like dancing to the music of time. Nobody can keep up with the Joneses like Jack Jones and what a fine setting given the excellent arrangements and formidable fire power of the orchestra to remember De Francesco on this Paul Lowden produced affair - Lowden an owner of the Las Vegas jazz club, Vic’s. SG

Jack Jones, photo: Cavalry Productions