Benefit Night/Parisian Room May 7, 1956

Monk Hazel

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Benefit Night/Parisian Room May 7, 1956 Review

by Scott Yanow

Drummer Monk Hazel was ailing in 1956, so a lengthy Dixieland tribute and benefit concert was held in his honor. Fortunately, Hazel soon made a complete recovery and lived until 1968. This two-CD set from 1996 releases all of the music that exists from the date (many of the songs had come out previously in piecemeal fashion), and there were plenty of good spirits (and alcohol) flowing throughout the performances. Although the collective personnel is given, the liner notes inexcusably do not bother to speculate about who is playing at what time; nor do they mention the barely adequate female vocalist who pops up on a few songs, or the odd bugle playing of Sam DeKemel. Clarinetist Pete Fountain (who had not been discovered yet) is the main star; trumpeter Tony Almerico is featured on the early selections, and among the other notables are trumpeters Sharkey Bonano, Mike Lala, and George Girard (in one of his final appearances before his early death eight months later), trombonists Jack Delaney, Santo Pecora and Joe Rotis, clarinetists Raymond Burke and Harry Shields, pianist Roy Zimmerman, Frank Federico on guitar and banjo, Joe Loyacano or Chink Martin on bass, and Johnny Castaing or Johnny Edwards on drums. There are some fine performances and also some that just meander. Interesting, if not essential.

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