Barry Martyn

Legends of Jazz: In Chicago

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Legends of Jazz, which was founded in 1973 and toured regularly for a few years, was one of the top veteran New Orleans jazz bands of the era. Led by British drummer Barry Martyn, the group otherwise featured ancient veterans from New Orleans and Chicago, some of whom had been neglected for years. Trumpeter Andrew Blakeney was still in fine form, clarinetist Joe Darensbourg was fluent and had his slap-tongue features, and the rhythm section included 89-year-old bassist Alton Purnell, and Ed Garland, also on bass. Louis Nelson was the band's original trombonist but while he was recovering from heart problems, Preston Jackson was his able replacement. This live concert, Legends of Jazz: In Chicago, was released for the first time in 2005, and features the group in excellent form. Most of the songs are familiar standards, other than "Out in the Cold Again" (which has a vocal by pianist Alton Purnell), and the obscure "Conti Street Parade." The emphasis on ensembles and personable solos, with only three vocals (two by Purnell and one by Garland), makes this CD an excellent showcase for the band and a fine introduction for today's listeners to the Legends of Jazz.

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