Thursday, May 26, 2011

A hot jazz alliance...

Philippines-born Spanish pianist Elizalde led bands in the US before moving to Britain. There his band played at the Savoy Hotel in London during the late 1920s, featuring many of the best British jazz musicians of the time.

Three American stars moved temporarily to London to join him: Adrian Rollini on bass sax, Chelsea Quealey on trumpet and Bobby Davis on alto sax and clarinet.

I was listening to a CD of this band's work released on the Retrieval label when one particular personnel listing caught my attention, for Singapore Sorrows. It's a good enough record, but what's fascinating for me is that some great British musicians are joined by no fewer than FIVE of America's best jazz musicians: Rollini, Quealey and Davis plus Fud Livingstone and Rollini's brother Arthur on reeds. It's an astonishing roster for a regular working group in Britain in the 1920s.

But wait, there's more... Strumming away on guitar is Al Bowlly, soon to become one of last century's most admired singers. And playing trombone is Frank Coughlan, from New South Wales, Australia, an almost forgotten but major influence on Australian jazz.

Frank Coughlan's presence on this record serves as another reminder to me that the jazz world of the past is inseparable from the world in which I live now. Coughlan was born on 7 June 1904, in Emmaville. Google Maps tells me it's eighteen hours in the car to Emmaville. Coughlan, Elizalde, Rollini and the others are a lot further away. And yet here is the record:

No comments:

Post a Comment