Echoes of Harlem

Chris Barber

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Echoes of Harlem Review

by Richie Unterberger

As the title indicated, Echoes of Harlem was a tribute to Harlem jazz, specifically offering "eleven songs associated with Harlem in the 'twenties and early 'thirties," according to the liner notes. As a mid-'50s British re-creation of sorts, it couldn't hope to match the original fire of the music it was modeled after, but Barber and his jazz band did a respectable job of paying homage to the music with fairly hot spirit. The composers Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields received especially heavy tribute, with six of the 11 songs being covers of their tunes, several of them coming from the Broadway show Blackbirds of 1928; other major figures honored with interpretations were Fats Waller and Duke Ellington (the latter represented by the early composition "Doin' the Crazy Walk"). Ottilie Patterson's credible blues-jazz vocals are used sparingly, however, making appearances only on "New St. Louis Blues" and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love."

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