KEN COLYER ON VIDEO - Rare Footage From the Vaults
Respected broadcaster and trombonist in the band,Mike Pointon writes:
'By 1986,when this session took place, Ken was no longer leading a regular band and was suffering from ill-health,but his subtly dynamic performance reveals him to still be on authoritative form. He'd recently been re-united with Ray Foxley after Ray had left the Jazzmen in 1960 and by this time Ken and Colin Bowden worked together again after Colin had been recruited for the re-born Crane River Jazz Band.Both had been in Ken's classic late 50s line-up.John Griffith (to become a key producer for Upbeat) was a pupil of John Bastable, Ken's fine tenor banjoist, and Alyn Shipton, now a distinguished broadcaster and author/editor of jazz books, still is an accomplished bassist. George Berry had worked with Griffith in Kid Chapman's Olympia Band in the 60s. I was pleased to be an occasional member of Ken's line-up at the time after depping with the Jazzmen 25 years earlier.'
This monochrome DVD is compiled from rare footage of one of the few occasions Ken Colyer was filmed over the years. It was shot as an amateur video and therefore the sound and lighting quality are not of professional standard.But despite the graininess and variable focus in cinema verité style,its intrinsic historical significance documenting one of Europe's most revered and influential jazz figures makes it valuable for all those who appreciate Colyer's important contribution to the music he loved.
Personnel here are:
Ken Colyer cornet, vocals
Mike Pointon trombone
George Berry clarinet, tenor Sax
Ray Foxley - piano
John Griffith banjo
Alyn Shipton double bass
Colin Bowden drums
1.There's Yes Yes In Your Eyes
3.New Iberia Blues
5.My Life Will Be Sweeter Someday
7.Storyville Blues (a.k.a. Those Draftin' Blues
9.Just A Little While To Stay Here
Reviews of This Recording
This is a real find – a video recording of a Colyer session – all thanks to the diligence of Liz Biddle and the team at Upbeat. The DVD is taken from a home recording, never originally intended for issue, so the quality isn’t top-flight, but the music and general ambience more than make up for any lack of consistency.
It wouldn`t be an exaggeration to say that the line-up here was on a par with any of Ken`s ‘All-Star’ line-ups and everyone plays up to their own high standard.
The production team have done a wonderful job of enhancing the overall quality of the original tape. In some cases visual footage had to be left in for continuity’s sake, so at one point, there’s an opportunity to see someone knitting in time to the music. Ken would – on a good day - have accepted the sight philosophically, and at other times….. Musically, this was a good day.
Highly recommended and if you were present at the original session, you might just see yourself in the crowd! RAY SMITH