From the Record Shelves #57


LP Fountain DFJ-110

It must have been in the summer of 1975 that I had earned some money touring Sweden with my band and bought a new sound system. And this was the record that I chose to go with it. It’s a double LP very well produced.

When hard work gives result it sometimes becomes great fun, and I think that the small band records of Red Nichols reveal that they had a great time in the studio. The hard work of learning their instruments to the virtuoso level of Nichols’ cornet playing or Miff Mole’s handling of the trombone was behind them. Now they could take any tune and treat it in their way with a lot of musical humor involved. And luckily many different record companies gave them a chance to do so.

Of course, I listened to the music in small portions because four LP-sides at a time may be an overdose of tricky arranged passages, sudden key changes and instrument demonstrations. Today I have chosen the very last tune from the set, that is also the last one recorded under the name “The Red Heads”. We hear a most welcome addition to the group. The New Orleans born trumpet player Wingy Manone who had just arrived in New York, dropped by the studio and was invited to sit in. His breaks at the end clearly demonstrates the contrast between hot style and Red Nichols own cool playing. Pee Wee Russell’s clarinet breaks, Miff Mole’s trombone chorus, Arthur Schutt on piano and Vic Berton on drums are also to be enjoyed.

But as a note I must add that sometimes when you are a homogeneous group and somebody with a contrasting style come to sit in, the result is that you lose some energy and get less involved. I think that I can detect something of this at the end here.