Big Bill Broonzy

In Concert

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This double-LP from 1988 was the first-ever release of a Big Bill Broonzy concert made in Dusseldorf, Germany with Graeme Bell's Australian Jazz Band. Bell's hot Dixieland band (an octet that includes trumpeter Roger Bell, trombonist Deryck Bentley, Don Roberts on clarinet and tenor, pianist Bell, and the remarkable Lazy Ade Monsborough on trumpet, clarinet, and alto) is well featured on half of the program, playing such numbers as "Muskrat Ramble," Jelly Roll Morton's "Kansas City Stomp," and "It Don't Mean a Thing." Broonzy, who at the time was portrayed as a folk and country-blues artist (never mind that he was really a sophisticated guitarist based in Chicago), mostly plays familiar standards including "John Henry," "Trouble In Mind," and "Mama Don't Allow"; on three of his seven songs he is joined by some of Bell's musicians. The proceedings end with everyone coming together for a spirited "When the Saints Go Marching In." Overall, the unique combination of Big Bill Broonzy (who usually worked as an unaccompanied solo act during this period) and Graeme Bell works quite well.