This accurately named group came about when, following a European tour by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in the spring of 1974, British impresario Eddie Kennedy asked the orchestra's trumpeter, Pee Wee Erwin, to select a smaller ensemble for a tour of England, Germany, and Sweden later in the year. The resulting octet was basically a who's who of traditional jazz: in addition to Erwin, it included trumpeter Bernie Privin, trombonist Ed Hubble, Kenny Davern and Johnny Mince on clarinet and soprano saxophone, pianist Dick Hyman, bassist Major Holley, and drummer Cliff Leeman. This recording was made over the course of two nights in Stockholm and one in Hanover, Germany, and while the sound quality is less than sterling, it is nowhere near bad enough to mute the infectious joy or to obscure the blazing virtuosity of these top-notch players. Their touring set focused on New Orleans-style jazz rather than the more tightly arranged material that was typical of the Dorsey group, and although the program does run a bit toward rather tired material ("Sweet Georgia Brown," "Wild Man Blues," "[Back Home Again In] Indiana"), the group delivers everything with a truly amazing level of energy and invention. Highlights include Hyman's brilliant rendition of the Jelly Roll Morton piano showpiece "Fingerbuster," a tasteful but not overly reverent take on Duke Ellington's "Black and Tan Fantasy," and a thrilling version of "Oh Sister! Ain't That Hot?" A must for all fans of trad jazz.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson