In 1958, armed with a fistful of big-band arrangements, jazz/blues singer Jimmy Rushing arrived in London to appear with Humphrey Lyttelton's band on the BBC Jazz Club program. Tapes of these broadcasts sat in Lyttelton's desk drawer for more than 40 years before being resuscitated by reissuing them as this CD. At the time, Lyttelton had been in the forefront of British jazz for more than ten years, and he still is after more than 50 years of performing. The group that he had then included some present and future stars of jazz, including Tony Coe, Joe Temperley, and Duncan Campbell. Lyttelton takes most of the trumpet solos. Eddie Harvey takes on the function that Dickie Wells was responsible for by providing the trombone backing that Rushing favored for his blues numbers. Coe's clarinet is heard on "Stompy Jones." These broadcasts were obviously informal, freewheeling affairs. Lyttelton kicks off by announcing that they have a full program to present, but he's not quite sure what it will be. Lots of on the spot improvisation gives the whole proceeding that special feel of spontaneity. Rushing and Lyttelton are also heard going back and forth as they introduce each tune. Rushing is in fine fettle, as he shows on a swinging "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" and "Somebody Stole My Gal." But it's not the singer's show completely: The band gets in quite a few licks, as well as instrumental-only cuts such as "Mezzrow." This album is classic Rushing merged with classic English jazz and, while its evolution to CD status has been a long time aborning, the results were worth the wait.
The Humphrey Lyttelton Big Band with Jimmy Rushing Review
by Dave Nathan