Various ‘Stirring Up Some Jazz – The Original Sound Of UK Club Land’ CD (Jasmine) 4/5

The ongoing re-investigation of how various constituent parts of the UK club scene continues with, on this occasion, how jazz music was incorporated via music that was played first on the juke boxes of major American cities and later by DJs in the hippest of London clubs. Among the cast are names familiar and obscure, but as a whole the overarching music constitutes a coherent whole. Where this compilation scores highly is in unearthing some oh-so-catchy and familiar songs, but with far less well-known alternative interpretations. These include a cool school late 1950s take on Horace Silver’s ‘Señor Blues’ from Jeri Southern and an instrumental of ‘Comin’ Home Baby’ from the Dave Bailey Quintet from 1961, which opens up proceedings on a lively setting. Elsewhere, Sarah Vaughan covers a famous number that Ray Charles immortalised in, ‘One Mint Julip’, and her 1962 offering swings like crazy with a big band with brass and guitar to propel her. Hammond organ was popular in the clubs and it is easy to hear why on a real favourite from Nat Williams and the Mellow-Tones with, ‘You Excite Me’. Haunting vibes are a feature of Johnny Lytle’s ‘Lela’, and drummer Billy Higgins proves to be an R&B vocalist of distinction on this writer’s personal favourite of all here, ‘Me And My Lover’, backed by the Teddy Edwards Quartet. In fact, much of the jazz has a strong R&B content and sounds all the better for it, with extended instrumental solos restricted. Not everything is for dancers, as illustrated by Earl Bostic’s ‘Flamingo’, but there is no diminution in the quality of the music, with a lovely rendition of ‘All Or Nothing At All’ by the wonderful Billie Holiday. On Elmer Crumbley’s ‘Man Want Water’, the trombone soloing and overall sound has a film soundtrack quality to it, that is sure to appeal, while the Latin lick drum touches on Harold Harris Trio trio offering, ‘Bluesville’, will impress in equal measure. Of note is the layout of the CD compilation, including the excellent notes, all of which have the feel of an ACE CD and that comparison is meant as a compliment to Jasmine.

Tim Stenhouse