2001 Loose Tie Records © 2001 Loose Tie Records.
As a jazz fan for over 50 years, editor of Jazz Guide for 25 and a former bandleader, I reckon I know good jazz when I hear it - and this IS good jazz. I have heard every line-up Pete has had since the beginning, over 22 years ago. As with any band, people come and go and this has been known to weaken it. Not in Pete's case though, for he has a happy knack of finding talent that keeps the standard of the highest. In Arthur Brown, Richard Leach, Dave Moorwood, Geoff Hull and Brian Price, Pete's done it again and leads with real flair.
The programme on this album has something for everyone - New Orleans, Street Parade, Good Time Jazz, Bechet, Oliver, Late Night and flat-out stomping Hot Music.
Everyone gets a taste of the spotlight. Arthur and Dave in 'Davenport Blues', Richard in 'Until the Real Thing Comes Along', Brian in 'Riverside Shake' and 'Caravan', Geoff in 'Copenhagen' and, of course, The Maestro with 'Buddy Bolden Stomp', 'Riverside Shake' and 'Caravan'; the latter exploring the full range of the clarinet and perhaps another octave.
The band is blessed with good vocalists. There's Pete himself, Brian and Dave, whose extra talents are well showcased here. The choice of three pop songs from the 30's makes a welcome change. To be able to turn on the heat one minute and relax into moving, sensitive expression the next is real musicianship and, on this showing, the whole Allen entourage possess it.
A word now about Pete himself. I and many others rate him as a great musician. Add this to a pleasing vocal style and, in anyone’s language, Pete is a man worth listening to. Happily for the future of jazz, Pete Allen has several more years to come than many. I have had the pleasure of playing on a couple of sessions with Pete. I can attest to his ability to lift a band to a higher level. Not by 'taking over' - just by example.
Louis Armstrong once said that every audience, large or small, deserves the best performance. Pete holds the same view, never letting up for an instant regardless of the 'house'.
From Police Officer to leader of one of the best bands I have heard has been a hard climb. Pete has met every challenge with courage and indomitable optimism - and every jazz fan should be grateful for it.
1. NEW ORLEANS WIGGLE (Armand Piron/Peter Bocage/Clarence Williams) Leeds Music 3’59
2. THE GYPSY (Billy Reid) Peter Maurice 4’57
3. BUDDY BOLDEN STOMP (Sidney Bechet) Warner Chappell 3’43
4. RIVERSIDE BLUES (Richard M Jones/Thomas A Dorsey) Herman Darewski/E H Morris 3’30
5. I WISH I WERE BACK IN PEORIA (Harry Woods/Billy Rose/Mort Dixon) Francis Day & Hunter/Redwood Music 4’26
6. DAVENPORT BLUES (Beiderbecke arr. Pete Allen) Paul Rodriguez Music 4’54
7. IN NEW ORLEANS (Hayes/King) Ardmore Music 4’29
8. SNAKE RAG (Oliver arr. Pete Allen) Paul Rodriguez Music 3’17
9. UNTIL THE REAL THING COMES (Saul Chaplin/Sammy Cahn/Mann Holiner/L E Freeman) Sterling Music 5’02
10. COPENHAGEN (Charlie Davis/Walter Melrose) Darewski Music/EMI Music 3’15
11. RIVERSIDE SHAKE (Bob Helm) Prestige Music 2’56
12. BOURBON STREET PARADE (Paul Barbarin) Peer Music 5’13
13. CARAVAN (Duke Ellington/Juan Tizol/Irving Mills) LaFleur/B&H 6’28
14. TWO SLEEPY PEOPLE (Hoagy Carmichael/Frank Loesser) Victoria Music 4’09
15. THE MARTINIQUE (Wilbur. De Paris) TRO-Essex 4’56
Pete Allen (Leader): clarinet, soprano sax, vocals on tracks 2/7/12/14
Arthur Brown: trumpet, vocals on track 12
Richard Leach: trombone, vocals on track 12
Dave Moorwood: banjo, guitar, vocals on tracks 5/9/12
Geoff Hull: double bass, sousaphone
Brian Price: drums, vocals on tracks 2/12