Spiegle Willcox

Jazz Keeps You Young

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Spiegel Willcox, who was 91 at the time of this 1994 recording, is probably the oldest trombonist ever on record. Despite the passing of over 60 years since his original decision to retire in 1927, Willcox (who returned to active playing in 1975) has a style that is essentially unchanged from the early days. By 1994, his technique may have slipped slightly, but he was still a pretty strong player with an appealing sound. For this exuberant date, Willcox was in Amsterdam and teamed with some excellent Dutch trad players: trumpeter Menno Daams, Robert Veen on tenor, alto and clarinet, pianist Joep Peeters, bassist Adric Braat and drummer Louis Deby with clarinetist Pim Gras guesting on "If I Had You." Although none of the sidemen display immediately recognizable sounds or innovative styles, they all prove to be excellent musicians who fit well into the Dixieland-flavored mainstream music. The leader has four good-natured vocals; his voice is raspy but listenable, although one really cannot buy his version of "Just a Gigolo." Meanwhile, Peeters scats effectively on "Somebody Stole My Gal." Highlights include "My Gal Sal," "That Old Green River," "When I Grow Too Old to Dream," "I Cried For You" and "Summertime," but all 15 selections are enjoyable. Spiegel Willcox, who on the cover photo looks like he is in early sixties, is in remarkably fine form for his age.

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