When Bob Koester founded Delmark Records in St. Louis in 1953 (before Koester moved his label to Chicago), one of his main areas of interest was Dixieland. Koester was not interested in Dixieland exclusively -- Delmark has always been as much of a blues label as it is a jazz label -- but documenting the Dixieland revival in the Midwest in the '50s is certainly among his big accomplishments. So it was quite appropriate that Koester himself wrote the liner notes for the Dixie Stompers' Jazz at Westminster College, which was originally released as a vinyl LP and reissued on CD (with several bonus tracks) in March 2007. Most of this Dixieland-oriented album focuses on an April 6, 1957, appearance at Westminster College in Fulton, MO, where the lineup includes Bill Mason on cornet, Norman Mason on clarinet, Jim Haislip on trombone, Glenn Tintera and John Chapman on piano, Pete Patterson on banjo, and Bob Kornacher on drums. The Stompers are in very good form at Westminster, bringing a lot of passion and energy to familiar standards such as "Fulton Missouri Blues," "Heebie Jeebies," "At a Georgia Camp Meeting," and King Oliver's "Dippermouth Blues." The previously unreleased bonus material, meanwhile, ranges from two live performances at a fraternity house that same night ("I Wished I Was in Peoria" and "That's A-Plenty") to an informal session in the home of jazz/blues supporter John Phillips (where the Stompers perform "Some of These Days" and Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin'"). Jazz at Westminster College is a pleasing CD that fans of the '40s and '50s Dixieland revival will be glad to have in their collections.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson