From the Record Shelves #223

Easy to Love

CD Collectables COL-CD-6400

Another thing that came with the CD was the possibility to present an original digitalized album and often, as in this case, there was space for two LPs.

“Wilbur De Paris Plays Cole Porter” was the title of this Atlantic LP.

The trombone player Wilbur De Paris (1900–1973) was playing in New Orleans in the beginning of the 1920s, and then during the coming decades he played with too many big names to mention. After leaving Duke Ellington in the late 40s, his highly successful “Dixieland” band was formed with a residency at Jimmy Ryan’s in New York from 1951 until 1962. The band made tours in Africa and Europe.

I think that they have pros and cons for the aficionados of classic jazz. I happen to like them, and I think that they are different from the average Dixieland music of the time because they have class and a solid background.

On this LP they show it by taking on difficult material. The Cole Porter songs are wonderful vehicles for melodic improvisation but demand high skills. The band treats the material with much variation.

Sometimes they step on the gas pedal and play freely, which could give associations to Spike Jones, which is not so bad as good times music. Then, in other places, they do more complicated arrangements and longer solos. In this rather short tune I came to think that they are like a modernized King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band of the 50s, with a harmonica intro that would have been a slide whistle back then. They have two cornet players that inspire each other: Doc Cheatham and Sidney De Paris, both with experience from McKinney’s Cotton Pickers in the 1920s. Omer Simeon is the clarinet player, and he and banjo player Lee Blair had memories from playing on Jelly Roll Morton’s classic sessions.