Barney Bigard

Clarinet Gumbo

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Clarinetist Barney Bigard only led one album during the 1961-72 period but, during 1973-76 (starting with this RCA Lp), he recorded a bit more often. The veteran swing stylist is matched with a top-notch rhythm section (pianist Ray Sherman, guitarist Dave Koonse, bassist Eddie Safranski and drummer Nick Fatool) for the Los Angeles date. However it is the underrated Dick Cary (heard on trumpet, piano and/or alto horn) who is the most impressive of the supporting players. Cary also arranged the 11 selections and contributed two tricky originals. The material in general is fairly obscure with only three conventional standards and Bigard (not really known as a composer) performing five of his own little-known songs. The music is therefore fresher than one might expect, containing a few subtle surprises and consistently strong playing from the great Barney Bigard.