Steve Lane's Red Hot Peppers"In Memoriam Brian Chadwick"
Steve Lane, a Londoner, led his revival band, the Southern Stompers in the fifties. In the mid sixties his name was associated with the West London Jazz Society, and as a hot cornetist, his dedication and conviction to producing classic historical jazz was, an still is, among the UK's best. In the mid eighties the Stompers became known as the Red Hot Peppers - it is that today.
The sad loss of drummer Brian Chadwick through his sudden and unexpected death this year, must have been a big shock to the group, as this CD tribute to him shows how well his talents and skills, provide a splendid understanding of his fellow musicians, which have led to the making of these recordings, and thus, an enviable collection.
I've had several approaches recently from young ladies seeking an insight as to how best they can become singers with a jazz band, and on reflection in listening to vocalist Pam Heagren, this CD would give them a perfect vehicle to help achieve their aims. A good example "It Had To Be You" mature, mellow, good timing and swing movements - galore. A notable ensemble sound.
About five-eighths of the tracks are arranged by Steve and that much feature Pam on vocals. The younger jazz enthusiast of today will not be aware of how the style of the band has changed since the days of its VJM Label links. Composers, song writers, Irving Berlin, Hoagy Carmichael, Walter Donaldson, Isham Jones, Gus Khan, Cole Porter, and, Rogers and Hart, form the basis of these Lane arranged recordings, which lend to 16 swell jazz performed tracks with fine feeling - a developing jazz style.
I'm just a gigolo - quote - tenor sax - "Say It Isn't So" - piano - worthy of note. The trombone on "The Blues Have Got Me" the banjo on "Most Gentlemen Don't Like Love" the band gels beautifully. The CD holds good sound quality and generous listening time.
"Solaris" and "You" feature the French Horn which works well, as anyone familiar with the countermelody played by it on the Colonel Bogey March will acquiesce - fine muted cornet and nice sousaphone. "Red Dwarf" - boogie woogie piano by Fergus Read to the fore - drum solo, it's all adding flavour to this album.
Recorded by Artie Shaw and by Benny Goodman in 1940 at New York, "Frenesi" has a Latin American tinge about it where the flute comes into play. Steve Lane's "Benny's Gone" hears the clarinettist Pete Bennetto, covering the three octaves and more of his instrument in exquisite pitch overall which does great credit to the late maestro Benny Goodman, but the trio of Bennetto, Read and Chadwick on Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust" is sheer brilliance. A fine tribute.Ian King
Kings Jazz Review
16th November 1998
Recorded over the 24th and 25th of January 1998 at Red Cables Studio, London by Dick Hammett
Azure Records, 32 Kenton Lane, Kenton, Harrow, Middlesex HA3 8TX : tel:- 0181 907 5583