Chris Barber / Chris Barber & His Jazz Band

Nixa Jazz Today [Box Set]

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Although Chris Barber and his band had done some recording prior to moving to Pye Records, the period between 1955 and 1958 saw them record prolifically for the label both live and in the studio, as the popularity of both trad jazz and Barber specifically took off in the U.K. This six-CD box set contains everything Barber and his group did for Pye between 1955-1958, including no less than eight albums in their entirety. As a wrap-up package of an important part of Barber's career, it's definitive, with some newly penned historical liner notes by Spencer Leigh. For the record, four of these LPs -- Echoes of Harlem, Chris Barber in Concert, Chris Barber in Concert, Vol. 2, and Chris Barber in Concert, Vol. 3 -- are represented by one CD each (complete with original sleeve and liner notes) in this collection, while the four shorter 10" albums Barber cut for Pye are combined onto the final two discs. Like a good many box sets, it's way too much at once for many general fans, particularly as Barber's studied revivalism of early-20th century Dixieland-style New Orleans jazz didn't vary a whole lot during this period. It does, however, allow one to trace a slight evolution from the stiffer re-creations of the earliest studio recordings here through more swinging, energetic interpretations in the late '50s, particularly on the three live albums. "Petite Fleur," the Sidney Bechet tune that became Barber's only big British single (despite Barber himself not playing on the track), is here, though it didn't become a hit until more than two years after it was recorded as part of the Chris Barber Plays, Vol. 3 album. Lonnie Donegan, incidentally, only appears on the earlier of these sides (his last session with Barber was in March 1956), and then only on banjo, not on vocals. Also, Barber's future wife Ottilie Patterson only takes occasional vocal spots; most of the material's instrumental, though Barber himself takes a vocal now and then.

Track Listing - Disc 5

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:18 Amazon
2 3:32 Amazon
3 2:58 Amazon
4 2:48 Amazon
5 3:17 Amazon
6 3:31 Amazon
7 3:11 Amazon
8 3:05 Amazon
9 3:00
10 4:55 Amazon
11 5:53 Amazon
12 5:11 Amazon
13 3:40
14 4:07 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick