From the Record Shelves #133


LP Saga ERO 8018

I have listened many times to this record with, and it’s special. I probably found it at a sale for a low price. The music is recorded in 1953 and the album was originally called Syncopated Chamber Music.

Red Nichols became known to the wide public through the film about his life “Five Pennies” with Danny Kaye in the role of himself while Nichols provided the music. But that was some years later in 1959.

On those two session in Los Angeles made on consecutive days they play some free dixieland ensemble but mostly arranged seldom heard pieces of a varied kind. There is a “cool” feeling about their performance, far removed from the swing music and from the music of Louis Armstrong and other veterans of the early jazz.

This is most evident in Nichols own vibrato-less cornet playing. He is firmly leading the ensemble and playing “composed” dynamic solos. The rest of the band is presented thus on the sleeve:
Nichols chooses musicians who re-create much of the old style without losing their individuality. Nick Fatool was one of the most sensitive drummers of the swing era, the Bob Crosby Orchestra established Matty Matlock as one of the most inspired of white clarinetists. Joe Rushton is the natural successor to Adrian Rollini and the pseudonym King Jackson conceals the identity of one of jazz’s greatest trombonists. (Rushton plays bass sax).

Red Nichols life-long admiration for the cornet colleague Bix Beiderbecke is evident since they chose to play an arrangement of his piano piece Candlelights.

About this composition Bix himself said that he imagined a dinner conversation in the soft glow of candles.