|The Complete Sorgenfri Kirke Concert recordings with the Late Cliff Bastien and George Berry
During, what became his last tour, Cliff Bastiens Church Concert in Denmark was recorded. The session took place as part of the tour made with fellow musician George Berry as guests of The New Orleans Delight.
Cliff was very particular about his recorded work and had heard all of the tracks and liked them, but it was thought right and proper to seek the approval of Cliffs adopted daughter Rasha El Sissi and of course George Berry. We were pleased to say that this was given. The recording will form a documentary of the Church Concert and we are satisfied that there is a choice of material to choose from and the best will be produced on CD to honour the work of the late Cliff Kid Bastien. We were not to know that just a few weeks later that George Berry, who was just starting a new life in Spain would also pass away. This CD celebrates our memory of two outstanding musicians playing their music in the Sorgenfri Church in Denmark.
(Three tracks from the concert are at present available CD Sorgenfri Kirke sampler CD vol 3, Music Mecca label number 4023-2)
- Kjeld Brandt, New Orleans Delight.
|New Orleans Delight
Complete Church Concert in "Sorgenfri Kirke" featuring
George Berry & Cliff 'Kid' Bastien
Booklet 36 pages
Cliff 'Kid' Bastien (tp voc*) and slapstick
Total playing time: 79:37
Live recordings from Sorgenfri Kirke, Sorgenfri, December 1, 2002 by Kjeld Brandt
I met Cliff in Toronto in 1967. Cliff told me he had been in New Orleans in the 50s, and received lessons from George Guesnon on banjo. I first went to N.O. in 1969, and on hearing Emanual Paul with the Kid Thomas Band, bought my first Tenor Sax on returning to Toronto. After a few months I get a call from Cliff to say he is switching to trumpet and wants to form a Kid Thomas style band. He asked me to play tnr sax and Pete Savory to play tbn. It was hard to find musicians to play in this old Style, but with Cliffs patience and Perseverance we finally found a gig on a Saturdat afternoon at Grossmans Tavern.We were soon playing three sessions over the weekend. Cliff played in Grossmans Tavern to the time he died.
I knew Cliff for over thirty years. He was dedicated to the music and selfless, always taking time out with anyone who wanted to discuss N.O. music. I feel honoured, I was with him on the tour and to have this historical recording af the Band, under his exellent leadership.
- George Berry, Nottingham, 18.02.03
|Scandinavian tour a closing highlight in the careers of two great New Orleans styled jazzmen.
The late Cliff "Kid" Bastien always enjoyed performing jazz spirituals and gospel songs. Not surprising really because they are an essential part of a good repertoire. The true New Orleans jazz was always a functional music. Not just dances, concerts, parades, celebrations, picnics etc but also funerals. Be sceptical about those old myths that claim jazz was born in the brothels of Storyville! Not so! It is said that the style of the great Buddy Bolden himself was influenced by church music. Cliff, besides leading his "Happy Pals" also led the Magnolia Brass Band. I have memories of rehearsals at Cliff's work-shop in Toronto in the 1980's. We would learn those memorable hymns made famous by the "Eureka", such as "In the Upper Garden", "West Lawn Dirge" etc.
He was "down to earth" and natural, with a warm stage presence. We sometimes played in each other's bands. I would sometimes drop into "Grossman's" where he led his band on Saturdays. His exuberant presence was always a delight and his firm, straight trumpet lead was perfect for the ensembles. He radiated good will and a lively, vibrant energy.
He was also one of the best singers I have ever heard in a jazz band, amateur or pro'. On this CD you can hear him singing - he was at the "top of his game", to use a sporting term. His fun and sincerity comes pouring out. At times it is hard not to shed a tear! Our thanks to all those who have produced this superb posthumous tribute. It recognizes one of the great but "unsung" heroes of the New Orleans jazz tradition. We all miss him.
George played tenor sax and clarinet in "Kid" Bastien's Camelia Jazz Band in Grossman's Tavern, Toronto from 1970 to 1975, when, sadly, the band folded and he returned to England. I did not discover Grossman's until about 1976/77 and so, "dammit" I missed hearing him playing "live" in that tremendous "Kid Thomas" styled band. Our paths had crossed much earlier - in the late 1950's, when we were both in England. George belonged to a band called "The Northdown Stompers" which used to come to our Hastings Traditional Jazz Club and share the stage with our Dolphin Jazz Band.
Luckily two beautiful LP's were cut in the 1970's Toronto period and he was a real star. Marvellous to hear how he had absorbed the tenor playing of Manny Paul, with shades of John Handy's alto style. George made return vacation visits to Toronto and I was lucky enough to take part at a jam session in Toronto's "Jack Russell " pub in the 1980's. Among those taking part were Brian Williams, Cliff Bastien, Dennis Elder, Pat Kelly, Phil Pie and George Berry. All these jazzers are "upstairs" now and there must be some great celestial sessions going on these days! We are fortunate to be able to hear George "live" on this new CD, his last recording and a fitting testament to his skills. He and the "Kid" were really having a ball - re-united and playing the way they loved. Happy Days!
Brian Towers. Hot Five Jazzmakers. Toronto. September 2004
What the Music Meant to Cliff Bastien
by his adoptive daughter Rasha El Sissi
Cliff Kid Bastien, born in 1938, first heard jazz music as
thirteen-year old in England when a friend invited him to listen to some records. He was totally captivated and set out to hear to as much jazz as he could. His early exposures to jazz spanned different styles, but he eventually fell in love with the traditional New Orleans style. Cliff told my mother his girlfriend for many years that he was not really a musician, though. He thought of himself as a jazz player in the Kid Thomas tradition: All I want is a nice, slow beat. (That steady beat was so important to him, as anyone who got to play with him would soon realize.) Had he not heard jazz as a youth, he believed he would not have played any other type of music. He loved the music and strived to re-create it faithfully with his bands.
Cliff wanted New Orleans jazz to thrive. He would teach anyone to play the music who showed the slightest interest and never charged a penny. Many members of his bands over the years started their musical careers that way and he remained their guru for the pure, traditional New Orleans style. For the fans, he was a great entertainer. He had a magnificent voice, which really
conveyed his love of the music and his happiness at entertaining the crowd. His regular Saturday afternoon gig at Grossmans
Tavern in Toronto was the party he looked forward to each week.
Cliff was proficient on the horns, strings and drums, and could also play some piano. Most of this was self-taught by playing along with recordings. It was never his priority to become a virtuoso at any one of these instruments. He was striving for a soulful sound and a certain combination with the band. In his later years, as he contemplated winding up his commercial arts shop, he practised trumpet two or more hours a day. I think he was very pleased in his usual modest way with how good he became by the time this concert was recorded. Surprisingly, however, when my mother once asked him what kind of musician he considered himself to be, he thought for a moment and answered, a drummer.
Cliff was constantly searching for new music to play in the old New Orleans style. He shared his little black book of chords with all the New Orleans jazz musicians in Toronto and beyond. In his late 50s, he taught himself how to read music so he could develop new songs from sheet music and fake books. His coffee table and desk were always heaped full of scraps of paper covered with half-worked-out song lyrics and chords. He also learned French from phrase books and dictionaries to help him figure out the words to Cajun and Creole songs, and to allow him to speak in French to his fans in Quebec City where he played periodic gigs. The music was an infinite endeavour for him; it was obvious to anyone who knew him that he would never quit his mission to play the music with its authentic soul and joyfulness.
Cliff stayed loyal to the traditional New Orleans style to the end of his life in February of 2003. He was an unusually disciplined and committed person, with a generous and cheerful disposition toward his fans and fellow musicians. He was at his best when it came to his music. We miss him very much.
Cliffs final resting place is the Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans. You can find him under Kid Bastien.
- Rasha El Sissi
Not a Jazz Museum
I sat next to Kid Bastien for twenty years, playing saxophone and sometimes clarinet with the Happy Pals since the early 1980s. By that time, things had settled down a bit compared to the early days. It was less common to see the band running across a field in the small hours of the morning, pursued by the police. Most of the musicians kept their clothes on most of the time, although members of the audience were still known to disrobe now and again. Cliff had settled in for the long haul.
Cliff had been playing at Grossmans Tavern more or less
continuously since the late 60s or early 70s, depending on who you ask. It was a pretty wild scene. Bobby the very large biker. Ozzie the thin-as-a-rail waiter dancing around in a black brassiere and a grass skirt. And Sid the bouncer, who incidentally tossed me out of the bar the first time I ever set foot inside. It was, as Cliff would often say, Kicks!
So why do I mention all this stuff? To point out that for Cliff, the tavern was not a museum. It was alive. The people would dance, drink and sing along. It was a party. Cliff was playing music he loved, but he was playing for the folks who came out to be part of it. The crowd was mixed diehard jazz fans, university students, professors, young kids toddling about, musicians, street people, you name it. The band rocked the house, and the appeal was universal.
I cant count the number of times Cliff said to me, Its not art! Its functional music. The music has to give the people the things they want and need. It has to make them happy, and let them be sad. It has to help them to forget and to remember. And it has to be fun. It has to be kicks!
It was never about virtuoso playing, or being more innovative than the next guy. Im a jazzer first and a player second, Cliff said. It was all about reaching people. It was amazing to watch him connect with the folks. He would sing in his old style and everyone in the room would swear he was singing to them only. He would make eyes at the ladies and joke with everybody. He would read the crowd perfectly and pick just the right song to do next. He would play without flash technique but with pure emotion that never failed. It was all about communication. Cliff onstage was a master communicator.
So many peoples lives were enriched by Cliff and the music that was his whole life. Thats kicks.
Early in 2003, after Cliff passed away, many people came to me and asked, Is the music going to keep on going? I was already stunned by the death of my friend and mentor, but these questions made me feel dizzy with the weight of sudden
responsibility. My first answer was, Youre damn right, or else hell come back and kill us!
I thought about this a lot, and eventually I changed my answer. Cliff was great, I said, but what Cliff built with Grossmans, with the Happy Pals, and with New Orleans music is even bigger than Cliff. What he built is big enough to keep on living even after hes gone. We should all hope to be able to say that.
- Patrick Tevlin
Patrick Tevlin played tenor sax and clarinet with Kid Bastien from 1983 up to Kids death in 2003. He now leads the Happy Pals at Grossmans, on trumpet.
|Remembrances of a Great New Orleans Musician:
I'll always remember the first time George came to play with my band in 1998, when Chris Blount became too ill to come to Switzerland for a tour. George stood in the kitchen in our house with me, we had only just met, and told me his life story in great detail for about an hour or so. I felt that I had known him for years and liked him instantly. And then I heard him play the music we all love so much and was completely taken in, especially by his saxophone playing. As soon as he started, I felt relaxed, the band was swinging and everyone just had a fabulous time.
After Chris died, George joined permanently, settled in the band quickly and became a very close personal friend and so did his wife Maureen. Everyone loved his stories and he would have us in fits, he would start on something, then within seconds get sidetracked, then again lose himself on something else and in the end wouldn't remember where he had started. As a musician he was just fantastic: he could build and build on a solo and take everyone in the band with him until one thought there wasn't anywhere else to go and then still build up more excitement. We will carry on, because I'm sure that's what he would want us to do, but without him it will never be the same again. He realised his dream moving to Spain, it's such a shame it only lasted a few months.
We feel privileged to have known George and to have been able to play with him and he will always be in our hearts.
- Barbara Widmer Taylor, Tony Taylor
- Patrick Tevlin. August 4, 2004
- Louis Lince. New Orleans Music
- Brian Wood, Jazz Historian & Collector
|Liner notes complete Sorgenfri NOD concert:
After all the sad news, finally some good news
Everybody knew that Toronto trumpet legend Cliff Kid Bastien didnt like to travel by air plane. Cliff wouldnt have liked that I call him a legend, but in the small but international and stubborn world of New Orleans jazz lovers he WAS. Every year, while in New Orleans for the French Quarter and Jazz & Heritage Festival, we wondered if he would come too. Most of the time he did! He made those annual trips to his beloved New Orleans by car. Theres no way to get from Canada to Denmark by car! So when Kjeld Brandt, leader of the Danish/Swedish band New Orleans Delight invited him for a tour in the Scandinavian area, his first reaction was a thank you, but no. Kjeld had another trump card hidden in his sleeve! When he mentioned the fact that Bastiens old side-kick, George Berry, with whom the Kid had worked and recorded many years ago, would also be part of the tour Cliff overcame his reluctance to fly and accepted the invitation. The next obstacle was the Kids conviction that all good New Orleans music had already been recorded by those old gentlemen in New Orleans, the ones who created this music. He loved to play it and make a whole bunch of people happy by doing so, but recording it no, thank you. When this obstacle was finally removed by an act of sheer friendship to the man who usually records the band on tour, the Kids conviction was proven wrong. The result of an impromptu live recording resulted in one of the best New Orleans CDs in years. Im talking now about Music Mecca CD 4024 New Orleans Delight with Kid Bastien and George Berry. You probably have it already. If not, hurry up and get it! It got rave reviews all over the world. Even the Kid himself thought it wasnt too bad. Unfortunately he only heard the test pressing. Before the CD was issued Cliff Bastien died from heart failure. New Orleans fans from all over the world lost one of the most authentic voices on the contemporary scene of New Orleans music. Those who knew him personally also lost a good friend. The musical combination of New Orleans Delight and Cliff and George, that had proved to work so well, can never be repeated.
This fact was mentioned again when the other guest at the tour, George Berry, died a little while ago unexpectedly in his new home country, Spain. Almost every obituary I saw mentioned the now famous Music Mecca CD. It was not only the last recording for both guests of New Orleans Delight, but everyone seemed to agree that it was also one of their best.
After all this sad news we were all longing for some good news to cheer us up a little bit. Well, here it is, youre holding it in your hands! The recording at the Seaside Jazzklub (Music Mecca CD 4024) was not the only recording made on that memorable tour. There also had been the recording of a church concert at the Sorgenfri Kirke. Four tracks had already been issued on Music Mecca CD 4023, together with tracks by the Rae Brothers New Orleans Jazz band, Max Lagers New Orleans Stompers and Jensens Jazz Serenaders with Brian Carrick. Kjeld Brandt had contacted both George Berry, shortly before his untimely death, and the family of Kid Bastien to ask their permission for putting the complete Sorgenfri concert on a new CD as another timeless reminder of the great once in a lifetime partnership. Permission was granted from both sides and a great new CD was in the making.
Just like his model, Kid Thomas Valentine, Kid Bastien was not only one of the hottest trumpet players on the scene, but also one of the most lyrical ones. Both sides of his musical personality are heard on the present CD. Cliff never tried to imitate Kid Thomas, which he thought was impossible in the first place. Listening to songs they both recorded will reveal much more differences than similarities. What Cliff shared with the great trumpet man from Algiers was the conviction that the first duty of a musician is to keep the audience happy.
What I just said about Kid Bastien and Thomas Valentine can also be said about the tenor sax playing of George Berry and that of Manny Paul. For those unfamiliar with Georges work, I like to mention the fact that he was also a fine clarinettist and alto sax player as well. On all his instruments he showed his deep understanding of the reed tradition in New Orleans music.
We know one of Kjeld Brandts clarinet was made of 99% silver. All I can say is that his tone on the clarinet is 100% silver! In my opinion he is not only one of the leading exponents of this style of music today on his instrument, but also a very important band leader, who made New Orleans Delight the wonderful group it is at present. Listening to the music on this CD you will agree with me that it is a pity that trombonist Bent Hanssen has to leave the band for reasons beyond his will. He is the living proof that it is possible to sound completely authentic without copying either Big Jim or Louis Nelson. Im sure that Kjeld will find a worthy replacement for Bengt. For the time being, this CD might also be the last one to hear pianist Göran Magnusson with the band. His chair has been taken by Hans Pedersen and the new kid on the block is doing very well. The rhythmic father and son team of Erling and Claus Lindhardt, respectively on banjo and drums, never ceases to amaze me. In this music a generation gap doesnt seem to exist! Last but not least there is that fantastic bass player Stefan Kärfve. Both his work with the bow and his pizzicato playing are of the highest quality.
My full story of Kid Bastien, George Berry and New Orleans Delight was told in the liner notes of the first CD and will not be repeated here. Fellow writers tell you more about them in these liner notes. I will try to tell you something about the repertory on this CD. Because this was a church concert all the songs, with one exception, were of religious nature. Nevertheless there is a lot of variety to be found here. Some songs are played with solemn and deeply touching reverence, some are as joyful, exuberant and hot as only true New Orleans music can be. Here were eight men from four different countries together to express their love for a simple, but perennial music, born in a city on the Mississippi some hundred years ago. This love, sincere study and countless hours of listening have brought them inside this music and they have become part of its history now.
What better way to start a church concert than with Just A Closer Walk With Thee, probably the best known hymn in the New Orleans repertoire. Although it has been recorded so many times, I will never get tired of this beautiful melody. Very little is known about its origins. Nobody seems to know who wrote the familiar lyrics. The melody was based on an old folk song, "Closer Walk" but the composer remains also unknown. It was first recorded by George Lewis at the famous 1943 Climax session in a faster than usual tempo. Bunk recorded it with his brass band in 1945 for American Music and later the same year with his jazz band for RCA Victor. From then on it has been a regular part of the repertoire of every New Orleans band on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. The version on this CD starts in a very subdued way. Listen to the exquisite variations by Kjeld and George! Later on Kid Bastien plays what Percy Humphrey called a whispering chorus. Not only Percy was a master of the whispering chorus, so was Kid Thomas and so was Kid Bastien. Gradually tension is built up and climaxes in a couple of ensemble choruses accentuated by Cliff using his metal derby.
Very little is also known about V.O. Fossett, the composer of the well-known I Shall Not Be Moved except that he was from Dekalb County, Alabama, was a member of the Baxter Quartet and wrote hundreds of songs. Another classic he wrote was Do Lord. He was also active as the editor of several inspirational songbooks. George Lewis recorded this one at his famous hymn sessions in 1964. Before that, in 1960, another great New Orleans clarinet player, Paul Polo Barnes, played and sang it at a now classic Icon session. Kid Bastien takes the first of his many vocals on this CD. Cliffs singing was just as important as his trumpet playing. Its warm, uncomplicated and straight from the heart. It invites to sing along!
We now enter the field of the lesser-known items with How Long Has It Been, a beautiful slow hymn in 3/4 time written by Hovie Lister ( September 17 1926 - December 28 2001), a true legend in Southern gospel music. Lister was born in Greenville, South Carolina. He took piano lessons from the age of six and was soon accompanying an amateur quartet, the Lister Brothers, that included his father and uncles. When he was fourteen he accompanied the composer Austin Miles of In The Garden fame. He moved to Atlanta Georgia, a city emerging as the center of professional gospel singing in 1945, where in 1948 he formed the first version of the Statesmen a gospel vocal group, named after a local newspaper The Statemen. Hovie was the leader and pianist of the group but took part in the singing too. In 1954 The Statemen started an 18 year association with RCA Victor. Hovie Lister also served as a Baptist minister and remained musically active until a few weeks before his death. In 1984 he was named to the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Ill Be Somewhere Working For my Lord (In The Highways) was written by Maybelle Carter (Nickelsville, Virginia 1909-Nashville, Tennessee 1978), the matriarch of the famous Carter Family. Affectionately known as Mother Maybelle she was the mother of June Carter and thus mother in law of country and western icon Johnny Cash. In 1929 she bought her F-hole Gibson guitar for several hundred dollars, the price of a car in those days. On that guitar, which she played until her death, she developed a particular style of playing that would stand model for most country and folk groups afterwards. She picked the melody on the bass strings and strummed the rhythm on the treble strings. In The Highways was last heard in the Coen Brothers movie
O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000), a film well worth looking for because of the fine old-time music in it and the devastating humour. The scene with the Ku Klux Klan dragon singing with a Negro voice while the clan members move around in military choreography is hilarious. Jim Robinson recorded the song in 1964 for Sonny Faggart's Pearl label. The version on this CD to use Bill Russells words once more when he was talking about Big Jims solo in the 1944 Ice Cream is a miracle of uninhibited joy. Trying not to sing along with it can cause serious harm!
We now come to San Antonio Rose, the only secular song on this CD. Well, there is a religious connection anyway: SAN Antonio was a Saint, wasnt he? It was one of the theme songs of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Wills (1905-1975) was the best known exponent of the Western Swing style, a mixture of folk, country, cowboy music, swing jazz and blues, which originated in Texas in the 1930s. His father was a fiddler and his grandfather was a fiddler. Musical family traditions existed not only in New Orleans. As a youngster in the cotton fields of Turkey, Texas, Bob Wills had been exposed to black music. He was a great admirer of Bessie Smith and was known to ride 50 miles on a horse to hear her perform live. Bob Wills wrote San Antonio Rose , both words and music, and recorded it for the first time in 1944. Its a great melody with a haunting bridge.
By And By, originally known as Well Understand It Better By And By and often misspelled as Bye And Bye was written by Charles Tindley (Berlin, Maryland 1851-Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1933), the son of a slave father and a free born mother. He taught himself to read and write at the age of seventeen. He earned his divinity degree through a correspondence course and in 1902 became pastor of the Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia where he had worked as a janitor for years. When he took over the church had 130 members. The congregation grew to more than 10.000, both Blacks and Whites, under him. He was a powerful preacher and a great song writer. His soulful lyrics were filled with love, tolerance and patience. One of his hymns, I Shall Overcome was later transformed and became as We Shall overcome the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
Rivers Of Babylon proves again that every good melody is a right vehicle for a New Orleans band to perform. It was written by Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton, both members of the vocal trio The Melodians, and adapted from Psalm 137:1. To my ears the melody resembles very much a part of the well-known Lily Of The Valley. Maybe they came from the same source? The Melodians recorded the first version. Later on it was also recorded by Linda Ronstadt and it became a big disco hit for the West-Indian group Boney M in 1978.
Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling dates from 1882 and was written by Will Lamartine Thompson (East Liverpool, Ohio 1847 New York 1909). When he failed in selling his songs to a commercial publisher, he started his own publishing company. He wrote a lot of popular and patriotic songs as well as hymns and made a fortune doing so. Softly And Tenderly was recorded by Johnny Cash on one of his last CDs (My Mothers Hymn Book, part of the 5 CD-box Cash Unearthed). Just like George Lewis recorded his hymn album near the end of his musical career and called it his favourite record, Johnny Cash did the same with My Mothers Hymn Book. If you are looking for some fine religious songs, you could do worse than listen to Cashs warm voice, cracked by age and health problems, accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. I would have sworn that Kid Bastien had been listening to the Cash record if it wasnt for the fact that the tour with New Orleans Delight took place before the Cash box was issued. So I guess Bastiens hymn book must have been very similar to that of mother Cash. The band plays it in slow 3/4 time as originally written.
Take Your Burden To The Lord (And Leave It There) is another composition by Charles Tindley and has the same hopeful thoughts in the lyrics.
Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight? was written by Robert Lowry (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1826 Plainfield, New Jersey 1899), a professor in literature and a Baptist minister who wrote many gospel songs, including the well-known Shall We Gather At The River. I first came across this haunting tune on the soundtrack LP of the 1978 Louis Malle movie Pretty Baby played by a brass trio, arranged by Bill Russell and consisting of Lionel Ferbos (trumpet), Paul Crawford (baritone horn) and Walter Payton (tuba). This soundtrack needs a CD version very badly. It contains great music by pianist Bob Greene, by the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra and by the Kid Thomas band with Raymond Burke. Paul Crawford told me that the white members of the NORO (Lars Edegran, Bill Russell, Orange Kellin and himself) had to have their faces blackened to appear somewhere in the background in a whorehouse scene of the movie! This is the third tune in 3/4 time on this CD. Im aware that some fans frown at the idea of waltzes played by a New Orleans band. I recognise their right to do so, but I also point at the fact that waltzes and other dances of the time were an integral part of the repertoire of a New Orleans band. Trombonist Bill Matthews is quoted by Don Marquis in his book on Buddy Bolden saying that Bolden himself was well known for the sentimental way in which he played those waltzes! In addition to that, a lot of the old hymns were written in 3/4 time.
Very little is known about George A. Young, the composer of God Leads His Dear Children Along, not even the dates of his birth and death. We do know that the song was published in 1903. Young was a poor preacher and carpenter who served the Lord in small rural communities. He wrote the song after some criminals had burned down the house he had built himself for his family. George Lewis recorded this song for Circle Records at the 1946 Eclipse Alley Five session with vocals by Brother Harold Lewis and Sister Berenice Philips. It has been in the repertory of New Orleans bands ever since.
Fred Rose (1897-1954), the composer of Highways Are Happy Ways was born in Evansville, Indiana. Without much formal education he worked early as a honky tonk pianist. In the twenties he made his mark as a song writer when he wrote Red Hot Mama for Sophie Tucker. He worked as a sideman for Paul Whiteman and played piano on some of Bing Crosbys Brunswick recordings. Later on he wrote songs for cowboy singer Gene Autry (Tears On My Pillow) and became active in country music. Together with country star Roy Acuff he started a music publishing firm in Nashville. In 1945 he wrote Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain which became a hit for country singer Willie Nelson and was brought into the New Orleans repertoire by a recording by Wendell Brunious for GHB.
Im sure that after this CD a lot of these songs will find their way in the repertoire of New Orleans bands everywhere.
In February next year Kjeld Brandt will be the featured guest at the second Kid Bastien Forever Kick-Ass New Orleans Jazz Party at Grossman's Tavern in Toronto, where Kid Bastien played for decades. So the story continues...
"Sorgenfri Recording" mentioned in the "Mississippi Rag"
Brian Towers, Canadian correspondent for the "Mississippi Rag" wrote about the "Sorgenfri Kirke " recording in the November issue. We thank Brian and the "Mississippi Rag" for allowing us to quote an extract from his column
Some good news for collectors of recordings by the late Cliff "Kid" Bastien. In November 2002, Cliff and George Berry (tenor sax and also now deceased) played a series of concerts in Sweden and Denmark with the Danish band "New Orleans Delight". After the tour, a CD was released from a live recording performance. I personally considered it to be the most important New Orleans jazz recording issued last year (2003). The good news is that another CD is to be released from the same tour. It will feature the same band, with Cliff and George and the material will be taken from a church concert given by the band on December 1 2002 at "Sorgenfri Kirke" in Denmark. The content is almost all gospel and hymns, some of them were "dug out" by Cliff during his research of gospel music. Several of the numbers are new to me and I thought I had heard everything! . Four of the numbers on this new CD have previously appeared on Music Mecca 4023-2, in the "Hymns And Spirituals" series.
Cliff's adopted daughter, Rasha El Sissi, has given approval for the release and will contribute to the liner notes, along with Cliff's old "sideman" Patrick Tevlin, who now leads the band. George Berry dies on August 4 of this year but before he died he gave his "go ahead" for this CD. The recording should be available in the very near future. One can reserve a copy by writing to the leader of 'New Orleans Delight" - Kjeld Brandt. His e-mail address is [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> Considering that both Cliff and George are now deceased, this will be another important record from the collector's point of view. It is excellent listening too. I have heard a preview and it is very good indeed.
Featured Artist: New Orleans Delight with George Berry and Kid Bastien
CD Title: Sorgenfri Kirke Concert
Record Label: Music Mecca
Style: Traditional Jazz
Musicians: Cliff Kid Bastien (trumpet, vocal, slapstick); George Berry (tenor sax); Kjeld Brandt (clarinet, leader); Bengt Hannsson (trombone); Goran Magnusson (piano); Erling Lindhardt (banjo); Stefan Karve (bass); Claus Lindhardt (drums).
Review: Most fans of New Orleans Revival jazz are aware of Cliff Kid Bastien. Although his home base was Toronto, Cliff made his annual pilgrimage to the Crescent City where he had once studied banjo with Creole George Guesnon. The Kid became a legend in Toronto and held his gig at Grossmans Tavern for more than 30 years. Thats possibly longer than Guy Lombardo hung onto his engagement at the Roosevelt .
Bastien always drove to New Orleans by car as he had a lifelong fear of flying. When New Orleans Delight leader, Kjeld Brandt wanted to invite the trumpeter to tour Scandinavia, he knew he had a difficult task. He sweetened the pot by inviting another of Bastiens old buddies from his original Camelia Band. George Berry had been in Toronto when Cliff put his Camelia band together. The British born Berry had recently been to New Orleans and met the legendary Emmanuel Manny Paul. Berry returned to Toronto with a tenor sax and was ready to help Cliff Bastien assemble his new band. It would be loosely patterned after Kid Thomas Valentines Algiers Stompers.
When Brandt played his trump card, Bastien relented and flew to Denmark for a tour in late 2002. New Orleans Delight booked concerts in various venues including the Seaside Jazzklub and some churches. The Seaside Jazzklub session was released on the Music Mecca label in 2003 with enthusiastic fan acceptance.
This session is from December 1,2002 at the famed Sorgenfi Kirke (Free Of Sorrows Church). Sorgenfri Kirkes use as a jazz venue was the brainchild of Kjeld Brandt and organist Levi Baek. The church concerts are designed to communicate the primitive jazz of old New Orleans to a wider audience. Vintage and modern American hymns are always part of the evenings set. Sorgenfri Kirkes wonderful acoustics add to the enjoyment.
The new CD begins with Just a Closer Walk a hymn and New Orleans jazz standard. Everyone knows the beautiful melody and it warms the audience from the first note. The band follows with a number of hymns and two secular pieces San Antonio Rose by Bob Wills and Highways Are Happy Ways by Fred Rose. Halfway through the concert, the band stuns the crowd with a great version of Rivers Of Babylon. Although a religious number, it made big bucks for the rock group Boney M during the disco era of the late 70s.
Kid Bastien handles the vocals on seven tracks of the dozen tunes presented. His voice and style are well suited to the predominating content of sacred songs. Sadly The Kid passed away suddenly in Toronto only about 40 days after the Sorgenfri concert. Cliff played drums, trumpet, banjo, bass and a little piano. He taught himself to read music in order to teach other aspiring musicians to master the New Orleans style. After his passing, the band continues to play at Grossmans. Each February, a big bash will be held in his memory. You can read a review of the 2nd annual Kid Bastien Forever Kick Ass New Orleans Jazz Party <http://www.jazzreview.com/articledetails.cfm?ID=3893> by Joe Curtis here on JazzReview. This years guest of honor was Kjeld Brandt who traveled from Copenhagen for the gathering.
New Orleans enthusiasts were further shocked by the death of George Berry in August of 2004. The reedman had just retired to his new home in Spain. Berry played beautifully on the Sorgenfri recording. The entire band seemed inspired in a near flawless performance.
I must acknowledge the beautiful packaging of this album. Major labels could learn a lot from the folks at Music Mecca records. A 36 page booklet with notes by Jazz Gazette writer Marcel Joly and other friends of George Berry and Cliff Bastien is tucked into the glossy digi-pack. Joly is one of the foremost authorities on vintage jazz in Europe. His exhaustive research into the origins of the compositions on the CD guarantees an interesting read. American fans may not be aware that, in Denmark, with a population equal to half of New York City, there is tremendous jazz interest. They have a glitzy jazz magazine titled Jazz Special published six times per year and it rivals our Jazziz and Downbeat in coverage and presentation. The magazine publishes in the Danish language.
This historic recording is the final document in the lives of two musicians who were loved by the jazz community. It deserves a place on the record shelves of die-hard New Orleans fanatics.
Tracks: Just A Closer Walk; I Shall Not Be Moved; How Long Has It Been; Ill Be Somewhere Working For The Lord; San Antonio Rose; By And By; Rivers Of Babylon; Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling; Take Your Burden To The Lord; Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight; God Leads His Dear Children Along; Highways Are Happy Ways.
Record Label Website: http://www.cdjazz.com
Artist's Website: http://www.new-orleans-delight.dk
Reviewed by: Richard Bourcier <mailto:[email protected]>
Kings Jazz Review
The Marcel Joly liner notes give a full, comprehensive narrative of important elements in the lives of jazz artists Cliff "Kid" Bastien and George Berry, inclusive of New Orleans Delight, and, a review of the eleven songs in the album.
Tenor saxophonist George Berry whose first visit to New Orleans was in 1969, and on hearing Emanuel Paul with the Kid Thomas Band there bought his first tenor sax on his return to Toronto, having been a member of the Cliff Kid Bastien Camelia Jazz Band in the early 70s that had a Saturday residency at Grossmans Tavern, Toronto, Canada, so when he, Kid Bastien, heard that George would also be a member of the proposed Scandinavian tour that Kjeld Brandt, leader of the Danish/Swedish Jazz Band, New Orleans Delight was undertaking, it was that, that put a strong influence on Cliff to overcome his dislike of air flight, and so the Brandt invite was accepted, which in my view, the event turned out to have promoted one of the greatest recording albums of New Orleans music this epoch - that is to say, it is reference to this one, and the Gospel Church Concert in Sorgenfri Kirke sequel to it, recorded the day following on the 1st of December 2002, reviewed by Kings Jazz Review among others.
The Emanuel Paul association with Kid Thomas Valentine started around 1942 lasting into the 1980s producing notable recordings such as Picayune Kid1 1983 with the Thomas Algiers Stompers, Lugano.
Live at SeaSide Jazzklub - Denmark
Here is a brief curriculum vitae as, as came to my ears on listening to the songs on this album being played in New Orleans music theme. At a dance quick-step time the CD opens on Algiers Strut by the trumpeter playing Kid Thomas style, followed by the trombonist, drum-sticks rim shots intro into slapsticks, tenor, clarinet, banjo prominent in the background, and given a solo, winding up in ensemble all with unique beautiful tempi.
Deep in the heart of Texas as San Antonio Rose steady as she goes go, the tune has haunting musical sounds.
All of the ten and a quarter minutes of Winin Boy Blues the Kid comes in with his first of seven vocals, followed with a call and response trumpet/clarinet voice with the tenor in line. There is a wonderfully even rhythm beat to it throughout. In 1939 Jelly Roll Morton recorded this number. Wining Boy was the name given to Morton when working at Hilma Burts sporting-house next to Tom Andersons Saloon. Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton did not deny the name, a name given by women to a young man with whom they got satisfaction. This rendition of the tune by the Bastien-Berry group, to a great extent gives great beauty to it, suffices that is to all of human delight.
"Highways Are Happy Ways has in speciality, nice vocals by a master trumpeter. During the clarinet melody of the tune, a neat offbeat slapstick movement prevails, and by the time the ensemble comes into force the SeaSide Jazzklub dancers must have if present all have been in an in-heaven element.
With the rhythm section creating a steady Cuban rumba beat John B Calypso takes on a special place in the album - a long jazz club applause supports that statement.
Its hallelujah in the way this very fine eight-piece handles the Gloryland number.
Ive got a soft spot for Blueberry Hill on hearing the mode operand that the jazz artists are giving to it, in which as I expect, youll have a thrill over it too - meadows.
The nine and a third minutes of the Last Mile Of The Way is definitely not to be missed as they contain as per throughout the CD, that is, the Bastien - sui generis - (the only type of its kind) vocals. The clarinet playing interpretation of this tune is truly breathtakingly wonderful to listen to; indeed, praise of the highest echelon can be meted out all along to each of the groups very fine musicians.
This CD twin set is a perfect candidate for a BBC Radio 2 jazz presenter like Mike P. to create a four half-hour series programme on it - really.
Kings Jazz Review
Wednesday the 13th of July 2005
EuroClub de Jazz
New Orleans Delight with Kid Bastien and George Berry - Somewhere Working For My Lord from the album Complete Church Concert on Music Mecca ref CD 4069-2 available from www.new-orleans-delight.dk
A delightfully happy foot-tapping bounce-rhythm track from a great church concert session that had Canadian Cliff Kid Bastien at his very best and Englishman George Berry almost equally inspired. I must also praise the New Orleans Delight band whose guests Bastien and Berry were for the Scandinavian tour during which this set was recorded. Of particular note is leader Kjeld Brandt?s wonderful clarinet which compliments not only the two visitors" but also the fine work of trombonist Bengt Hansson. Indeed the whole NOD band acquit themselves with honours here and that?s important because this is the last session that both Bastien and Berry recorded. We?ll miss them enormously but they have a fine epitaph with this CD.
- Brian Harvey
Geoff Boxell Jazz Reviews
Cliff Kid Bastien, well loved, much admired, and little recorded, was persuaded to overcome his dread of flying and leave his adopted Canada to tour Denmark when Kjeld Brandt of New Orleans Delight dangled the bait of the chance to play alongside Cliffs old friend and ex-band member, tenor player George Berry. Thank God he did, for within a very short period both of them had died and without the recordings made on that tour the jazz world would be much poorer.
All of the tracks on this CD are from a Sorgenfri Kirke concert the band performed in 2002. Some of the tracks have already been released on the Sorgenfri Concert Vol 3 compendium CD. This latest CD is, however, essential buying for all who love Kid Bastien, George Berry, New Orleans Delight, jazz in the Kid Valentine style, jazz gospel or just traditional jazz in general. It is even more essential in that since the Bastien/Berry tour both trombone player Bengt Hansson and pianist Goran Magnusson have left New Orleans Delight.
Everything I wrote about the previous CD of NOD with Kid & George stands. In fact the more I hear the recordings the more I love them. The style is that strange mix of relaxed and exciting that is rarely found, even in the jazz world where the exotic is common place. If this CD is not added to your collection you will be all the poorer for it. Let the moths out of your wallet and delight yourself with this great CD and let the music say it all.
Just Jazz. May 2005
This is a delightfully happy foot-tapping bounce rhythm session (on all but the few slow tracks) from a great church concert session that had Canadian Cliff Kid Bastien at his very best and Englishman George Berry almost equally inspired. I must also praise the New Orleans Delight band whose guests Bastien and Berry were for the Scandinavian tour during which this set was recorded. Of particular note is leader Kjeld Brandts wonderful clarinet which compliments not only the two visitors but also the fine work of trombonist Bengt Hansson. The whole NOD band acquit themselves with honours here and thats important because this is the last session that both Bastien and Berry recorded. Well miss them enormously but they have left us with a fine epitaph with this CD.
The wonderful aspect of Cliff Bastiens trumpet work and singing is that he is so subtly at home in the pure New Orleans idiom as epitomized by his idol Kid Thomas. Thats not to say that he is a slavish copyist - far from it. What I imply is that he so totally absorbed the Thomas credo of playing pure unadorned dance hall folk music that he is at home with it as was Thomas and indeed all the other New Orleans and Algiers musicians. They didnt have to make an effort to play this music - it was - is indeed - theirs and fitted them as closely as their daily clothing.
And theres more - another vital aspect of this CD and of all Bastiens brilliant work is that like Ken Colyer he had an exciting catalytic effect on those he played with. They might have started each session as men from different sides of the globe but after a few choruses they were united and sounded for all the world just like an Algiers dance hall band. That makes this a classic CD of wonderful New Orleans music and helps prove that George Lewis was right when he said that as the originators passed over the future of his music lay with the young men of Europe. He would have been proud of his legacy as demonstrated here just as we can be grateful that we have this wonderful session to Remember Kid Bastien and George Berry by.
- Brian Harvey
The Mississippi Rag. June 2005
View fro Canada by Brian Towers
There is an exciting piece of news for collectors of New Orleans jazz on record. The Danish band "New Orleans Delight" has produced a posthumous recording of a Church Concert from November 2002 with Toronto jazz legend Cliff "Kid" Bastien on trumpet and his buddy from the old Camelia Jazz Band - George Berry on tenor sax. This follows the highly successful CD from the same tour which was released in 2003. This Church concert is a "must have" item, being the very last recording of these two before their untimely deaths. I have my copy and it is very good indeed - Cliff was in terrific voice and at the top of his game, though I must confess to feelings of sadness, as I listened to him singing spirituals like "Jesus Is Calling" or "Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight?" This CD is an opulent production, in book form, similar to the previous recording. It is very positively reviewed in the May 2005 edition of "Just Jazz" by Brian Harvey. Visit www.cdjazz.com <http://www.cdjazz.com> for purchase details or check the New Orleans Delight Web site - http://www.new-orleans-delight.dk <http://www.new-orleans-delight.dk
When one afternoon the video tape of this church concert arrived, I eagerly put the tape in the machine. After a few notes, my wife came running out of the kitchen and we both sat there listening with open mouth to this wonderful music.
So you can easily understand that I was very happy when Kjeld send me this review copy.
Most readers will know I am a great admirer of Kid Thomas Valentine. Kid Bastien also was a great admirer of the Kid from Algiers. And although you can hear this in his playing, he is no slavish follower or copier. He adds his own ideas and contribution to this wonderful music.
But there is more Thomas Valentine in Kid Bastien's approach of this New Orleans folk music. Bastien, like Thomas, is a great bandleader, instructor and musical agitator. He 'shares' his ideas about how this music should be played with the band members. I remember seeing Kid Thomas doing the same thing in Belgium and all over Europe.
There are some well known songs on this CD and some lesser known such as 'How Long It Has Been', 'Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling' and 'Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight'.
Do not let the fact that there are two titles on this CD , 'San Antonio Rose' and 'Highways Are Happy Ways', that were published on the first Bastien New Orleans Delight CD (Music Mecca CD 4024-2) prevent you from buying this one. The approach, the atmosphere and the place on this CD is completely different.
Listening again to this CD and the first one, confirms my opinion that Kid Bastien was the best trumpet player for New Orleans Delight. The I know that there are some other recordings by Bastien, Berry and the New Orleans Delight, some recorded at a dance and I know Kjeld told me once that he does not want to overexposure the music that was recorded during this trip, but that recording of 'One Night Of Sin' still gives me the shivers.
Get this CD in your collection.
- Jempi De Donder
Idag kom våra CD och ikväll har jag och min man lyssnat på den och jag blev ..... bara alldeles lycklig .... och berörd ... Jag tror det säger allt ... Av alla underbara CD vi har av er är det här den underbaraste, hela vägen! Varmt TACK!
Kram Elisabeth Andersson
It really is a superb recording, as are all your others, and is a great memento of two superb New Orleans' style instrumentalists. It's a genuine marvel that you were able to catch them on disc at such a crucial time, soon before their sad passing, and with your band playing so well and the amazing CD presentation and packaging, you have done your music a very great service.. .very well done|
- Gordon Hunt. The Panama Jazz Kings
Jeg har vist aldrig set så fornem en udgivelse (det skulle da så lige være Mosaic-sættene !!) Jeg glæder mig virkelig til at fordybe mig i teksterne - og så genhøre og nyde den helt igennem fantastiske musik. Det bliver én af juvelerne i min musiksamling.
Så en stor og dybfølt TAK !
- Peter Langhorn
Congratulations on the CD - especially the amazing packaging.
You deserve a design award from that and as for the music - I wish they had
jazz Oscars. Well done
- Brian Harvey
- Brian Wood
Den är ju helt underbar! Astrids spontana kommentar när vi lyssnat igenom CDn var: "Detta är nog en av de bästa skivor jag någonsin hört!", och jag kan ju inte annat än hålla med!
- Astrid og Bo Löfgreen
Den følger i et og alt den første mht. kvalitet, udstyr osv. Især det 3.die nr. er utroligt smukt. Da vi kom til Highways are happy ways var der ikke et øje tørt.
- Torben Haag Kreiser
Another winner, with the lovely sacred music and your two old friends' last statement. I truly believe this shows that your group is among the finest in the World at keeping the TRUE spirit and sound of Old New Orleans alive, and once again you are to be heartily congratulated.
We will miss the Kid's soulful vocals, won't we? It is very difficult to listen to the beautiful vocal renderings of Cliff's on those sad sacred songs, even for a tough old Canadian like me. Brings tears to my eyes.
Your metal clarry simply gets better with time, (as you know many musicians simply stop at a point, you do not, Kjeld)! You continue to learn and to interpret, and I am proud to call you my friend.
I forgot to mention the usual brilliant artwork and entire make up of the new cd package. No one presents a piece of art the way you do, sir. The case for the cd belongs in a museum, but then you ARE an ARTIST!. Simply beautiful.
- Dick Luker, Canada, Jazzologist.
En outstanding CD med våra vänner Cliff och George från kyrkokonserten. Det hade varit ett brott mot mänskligheten att ha undanhållit oss den härliga musiken! Denna CD kommer att bli en hård konkurrent till den förra med Delight + Cliff & George, som snurrat ett par gånger per vecka sedan den kom. Tusen tack!
- Björn Bärnheim
I have listened to the CD with great pleasure, enjoing the sweet and gentle tones, and the swinging rhythms. I must confess to a few tears with Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling when I thought how first Cliff, then my Harry, then George.
- Claire Reid
Thanx for the Cliff Bastien CD. I wish it was on Jazz Crusade!
- B3 (Big Bill Bissonnette)
I have now had an opportunity to listen the New Orleans Delight CD with George Berry and Kid Bastien. I have, in fact, listened to it 3 times in quick succession. It gets better with each playing!
I like everything about the CD. I read the liner notes before playing it. It was just like reading a biography of both George and Kid. (I never met Kid Bastien but have met George on occasion. He was a lovely man). Lots of nice photos as well.
The music is terrific. It catches that laid back, relaxed rhythm so proper to good New Orleans music. The selection of tunes is excellent. Some well known, popular spirituals with a good choice of lesser known material. particularly like, 'I'll be Somewhere Working For The Lord' and Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling'. It always amazes me how many spirituals are played in waltz-time and how fitting it is. Who would expect to hear 'Rivers Of Babylon' played by a New Orleans band?
With the premature passing of both Kid and George it so fortuitous that you managed to do this CD and the at 'Seaside Jazzklub'.They are a great memorial to both musicians who will be sadly missed.
I can only give you my thanks for making available two great CDs.
- Norrie Thomson, Edinburgh
The CD is really beautiful and every bit as good as the earlier one with Cliff and George. I love the spirituals and it was nice to find three Id never heard before!
What a wonderful legacy these two great players have left behind with these two Cds but it takes more than these two players to produce so good a sound and Im sure you are very proud of the contribution your own New Orleans Deligh had in these very special recordings.
- Mrs. Heather Billingham, Birmingham
Cliff "Kid" Bastien Discographie
or at New Orleans Delight's hompage