Norman Thatcher

The Best of the Brits, Vol. 7

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It is easy to pick out the main influences on this English Dixieland group. Trumpeter Norman Thatcher mixes together Bunk Johnson and Ken Colyer, clarinetist Chris Blount is straight from George Lewis (reproducing many of his phrases and playing a bit out-of-tune) and Dave Vickers's percussive trombone sounds like Jim Robinson. The rhythm section chugs along with Malc Murphy relying too much on his bass drum (often making bassist Mick Kennedy's presence unnecessary) but keeping the ensembles from losing their momentum. One can criticize this outfit's musicianship a bit and its derivative nature but there is a definite charm to their performances. The repertoire has many songs that are rarely played (highlighted by "There's Yes Yes in Your Eyes," "Apple Blossom Time," "I'm Sorry I Made You Cry" and "Yes Lord I'm Crippled"), the melodies are kept close by and each of the members of the frontline use space well, leaving room for each other. Thatcher's clipped trumpet matches well with Blount's passionate vibrato and, although there are some solos, it is for the many spirited ensembles that this CD will most please trad jazz fans.