From the Record Shelves #123

Maryland, My Maryland

Jazztone J-12151

Ted Lewis used to ask the audience: “Is Everybody happy?” I guess that the answer was “yes”. Momentarily happy, because they had in front of them an entertainer with a good band that could spread joy around. I shun the term “happy jazz” as it’s often something superficial, and it could have made me pass over this LP.

But as long as the listener is the happy one and as long as you do not expect the musicians to look happy or wear funny clothes it’s ok. I don’t think that I look very happy myself on stage and Red Allen, one of the guys on this recording, was definitely one of the morose kind — in his looks but not the music!

And musically speaking he has many faces. On this recording he is stepping in his fathers footsteps as they march to one of the New Orleans brass band numbers. But the ensemble is not the only good thing here. There is a solo section where Allen plays a long trumpet solo and so does the other great musician here, Tony Parenti on the clarinet. The other musicians who also are heard in solos are Tyree Glenn, trombone, Hanc Duncan, piano, Milt Hinton, bass and George Wettling on drums.

The band is named Tony Parenti’s All Stars and the clarinetist is clearly the protagonist on the LP with some wonderful solo numbers. On the whole it’s a very good New Orleans inspired album. The session is from August 21, 1955.