Excerpted from THE SYNCOPATED TIMES (June, 2021) — Reviewed by Joe Bebco
Black Cat On The Fence
Hal Smith’s Jazzologists
So how does a remote recording sound? This one anyway is pleasantly and brightly improvised ensemble jazz fit for a New Orleans Dance Hall. Strong rhythmic melodies with a full spirited interplay driving them forward. You’d never know hundreds of miles were between the participants.
The album is a mostly instrumental romp, with only one of eight tracks having a vocal, the closer, “My Little Girl.” Their intent is to keep to Bunk Johnson’s revival style and they pay tribute in an enjoyable, perhaps more elegant way than the originals. “Arkansas Blues” is given an especially hot rendition I could listen to on repeat (and did).
This is an all around excellent little album that all of our readers are sure to enjoy and proof that physical distance is no longer a limitation when it comes to making hot ensemble jazz.
Here is a brand-new release by Sarah Spencer’s Global Ramblers:
This disc is available directly from Sarah:
The album below was released a short while ago. It features Sarah on reeds and vocals in trio and quartet settings with Hugh Crozier, piano and vocals; myself on drums and washboard and Jesper Capion Larsen on clarinet:
It is available from Bandcamp:
Perhaps it’s not surprising that a band led by a drummer would be noteworthy for its pulsing rhythmic feel, but there it is. This would be a good album for those keeping time to study from.
While there are some bands with 50 years in, or more, still playing in revival style, none are doing it with the intentionality of this group. That focus gives the music a freshness that will bring a smile to long time fans.
Joe Bebco – The Syncopated Times (June 2018)
The premise is a collection of rags that Jelly Roll Morton planned to record — or would have known and played. And it’s not a fanciful vision, as Hal Smith’s solid annotations show — in 1939, Morton discussed with Roy Carew his plans to play Joplin and others in his own style, because, as he told Carew, “he didn’t know of anyone more qualified to do it than himself,” and he envisioned recording thirty or forty rags. (Oh, had he lived for another decade!)
He didn’t live to accomplish this, but we have Tokarski, Gouzy, and Smith to make the fantasy real.
Michael Steinman — Jazz Lives Blog (Apr. 22, 2019) “What Would Jelly Do?”
This CD features brilliant clarinetist Jonathan Doyle, accompanied by a first-rate rhythm section. If you enjoy listening to the quirky sound of clarinet virtuoso Pee Wee Russell, or Chicago legend Frank Teschemacher (My Honey’s Lovin’ Arms) you will love these renditions.
Hal Smith has a reputation for putting together first – class outfits, and this one is no exception.
Neville Dickie — Just Jazz (November, 2017)
RECORDINGS WITH HAL SMITH ON DRUMS:
All of the albums listed above are available from BANDCAMP: https://bandcamp.com/
Roya Naldi: A Night In June
Available from: https://www.royanaldi.com/
Available from: http://www.timlaughlin.com/
Available from: http://www.floyddomino.com/products.htm
Available from: https://www.jazzology.com/item_detail.php?id=SACD-171
NOTE: Many of these recordings may be heard on The SYNCOPATED TIMES RADIO NETWORK: https://www.syncopatedtimesradio.com/