Chris Barber With John Lewis & Trummy Young – Swing Is Here (1978)

FrontCover1.jpgTaken from the original liner notes:

The only surprising thing about Chris Barber – according to BBC jazz presenter Peter Clayton – would be if he failed to surprise. “Surprise” puts mildly the initial reaction of many people when Eumig’s “Swing Is Here” package was first announced. After all, The MJQ, The Louis Armstrong All-Stars and “British trad Jazz” are still, in the minds of many so-called jazz fans as musically removed from each other as any three galaxies you may care to name.

Trummy Young does not live exactly a galaxy away from Britain – but he was persuaded away from his haven in Hawaii to join the tour – his first visit to Europe since touring with Louis in 1964. That he had turned down all previous offers of work in Europe is no small compliment to Chris and the Band. John Lewis has for many years been a confessed admirer of the Chris Barber Band – even before they recorded his “Golden Striker” in 1960. The suite that he composed specially for this tour was written with the sound of the original six-piece Chris Barber Band in mind. These days, of course, the Barber Band has evolved to an eight man line-up but the additional reed and string instruments have, naturally, been written into the suite.

In the year that Chris Barber was to form his first amateur band (1949) John Lewis was forming the MJQ and Trummy Young was embarking upon his marathon stint with the Louis Armstrong All-Stars. The backgrounds of John and Trummy in music prior to that time (Swing, be-bop, blues) make their coming together with the Chris Barber Band far less of a surprise than may at first sight appear to be the case.


The biggest surprise during the tour was to learn from John Lewis that when the package played at Southport we were just down the road from a venue where he had played his first ever gig in England: it was a Saturday night hop with a local dance band during the war! The pearls such as “Yes we have no Bananas” and “The Palais Glide” that John played in that Lancashire ballroom are NOT featured on this album! (Vic Gibbons)

The catalyst of Jazz and Jazz based popular music in Europe over the last fifteen years has been Chris Barber and his band. He has discovered that wonderful and rare experience of Jazz ensemble playing which can only be achieved by long time association (I know it from my years with the MJQ), and has also developed into one of the great and unique trombone soloists in Jazz. I enjoyed and appreciated the experience of performing with his great institution the Chris Barber Band. (John Lewis)

Recorded live during the “Swing Is Here” European tour


Chris Barber (trombone, vocals)
John Crocker (saxophone, clarinet)
Pat Halcox (trumpet)
Roger Hill (guitar)
Johnny McCallum (banjo, guitar)
Vic Pitt (bass)
Sammy Rimmington (saxophone, clarinet)
Pete York (drums)
John Lewis (piano)
Trummy Young (trombone, vocals)


01.  Home Folks (Lewis)
02. Time (Lewis)
03. Mood Indigo (Bigard/Ellington)
04.  ‘Tain’t What You Do (Oliver/Young)
05. Georgia (Carmichael)
06. Some Say You’ll Be Sorry (Armstrong)
07. Muskrat Ramble (Ory)
08. When The Saints Go Marchin’ In (Traditional)
09. Outro
10. Swing Is Here (part one)
11. Swing Is Here (part one)




Alternate frontcover

Chris Barber – Jazz Diaries feat. Mark Knopfler (2001)

FrontCover1This is a very nice radio show that Mark Knopfler did for Chris Barber in his radio show the Jazz Diaries. They recorded four songs exclusively for this show, two instrumentals and two with vocals.

Interesting to hear Mark Knopfler play with a jazz band and nice interview in this one hour show. Mark Knopfler joins at about half time in the show – the part about Mark Knopfler is from track 8 to track 18. Goin’ home is not the Mark Knopfler song, and it is played only by the Chris Barber Band, also recorded exclusively for this radio show. Perfect sound quality.

A more or less unknown Chris Barber album … with lots of personal memories of Chris Barber about his Career …

And … did you ever believe … that Chris Barber and Mark Knopfler … can play together ? …  YES … they can ! Listen !

Chris Barber (trombone)
John Crocker (reeds)
John Defferary (reeds)
Pat Halcox (trumpet)
Colin Miller (drums)
Vic Pitt (bass)
Paul Sealey (banjo & guitar)
John Slaughter (guitar)
Mark Knopfler (guitar, vocals)


01. Isle Of Capri (Kennedy/Grosz) 3.36 (2)
02. Talking 0.49
03. I can’t Be Satsfied (Morganfield) 2.39
04. Talking 1.08
05. Sweet Georgia Brown (Lewis) 2.42
06. Talking 0.48
07. Ory’s Creole Trombone (Ory) 3.03
08. Introduction 0.25
09. Blues Stay Away From Me (A.Delmore/R.Delmore/Raney/Glover) (1) 3.42
10. Talking 0.08
11. Sultans Of Swing (Knopfler) 1.58
12. Interview 4.01
13. Dallas Rag (Traditional) (1) 2.46
14. Interview 3.34
15. I’ll See You In My Dreams (Kahn/Jones) (1) 4.41
16. Interview 3.46
17. The Next Time I´m In Town (Knopfler) (1) 3.27
18. Talking 0.28
19. Goin’ Home (Dvorak) (2) 4.41
20. Talking 0.28
21. Better Git It In Your Soul (Mingus) 7.21

(1) Chris Barber Band  & Mark Knopfler – special recording for this Show
(2) Chris Barber Band – special recording for this Show



Donald Christopher “Chris” Barber (born 17 April 1930)
… he´s still alive and well … he´s  65 years on the road and he will play in September 2017 many gigs in Germany !

Chris Barber – Drat That Fratle Rat (1972)

OriginalFrontCover1None of the tracks on Drat That Fratle Rat used the complete band of the time, but instead
used selected members, augmented by guests — mostly well-known musicians on the Rock scene.
See the scan of the back cover, above, for exact details.

It’s also worth noting that three of the tunes were co-composed, and all but one produced, by
Steve Hammond, who joined the band in 1971, replacing Stu Morrison on banjo.

So, this a sort of jam session and a real exciting jam session and so this is a sort of jazz-rock session.

I guess most of all people forget, that Chris Barber was and is  very variable musician who was open for many different styles … and not only for the traditional jazz music.

Here´s he´s jamming with rock musicians like Rory Gallagher, Tony Ashton (with his friends Kim Gardner & Roy Dyke  = Ashton, Gardner & Dyke !)

And on drums we will here Colin Allen from Stone The Crows.

A hell of a session !

And the title track is of course a jazzy version of “Rollin´ And Tumblin´” featuring Rory Gallagher on slide-guitar.


Two different labels

Colin Allen (drums)
Tony Ashton (piano, vocals)
Chris Barber (trombone)
Paul Buckmaster (cello)
Graham Burbidge (drums)
John Crocker (saxophone)
Roy Dyke (drums)
Jack Flavelle (bass)
Rory Gallagher (guitar)
Kim Gardner (bass)
Brian Gullen (bassoon)
Pat Halcox (cornet, trumpet)
Mike Lieber (guitar)
Ann O’Dell (piano)
Martin Roke (piano, trombone)
John Slaughter (guitar)


01. Drat That Fratle Rat (Hammond/Barber) 4.00
02. The Falling Song (Ashton) 7.11
03. Fegalemic Pegaloomer (Hammond) 9.18
04. Earth Abides (Roke) 5.03
05. Sleepy Louie (Hammond/Barber) 4.52
06. O’Reilly (Buckmaster) 11.25


Chris Barbers Jazzband – Maryland, My Maryland + 2 (1955)

FrontCover1Donald Christopher ‘Chris’ Barber (born 17 April 1930) is a British jazz musician, best known as a bandleader and trombonist. As well as scoring a UK top twenty trad jazz hit, he helped the careers of many musicians, notably the blues singer Ottilie Patterson, who was at one time his wife, and vocalist/banjoist Lonnie Donegan, whose appearances with Barber triggered the skiffle craze of the mid-1950s and who had his first transatlantic hit, “Rock Island Line”, while with Chris Barber’s band. His providing an audience for Donegan and, later, Alexis Korner makes Barber a significant figure in the British rhythm and blues and “beat boom” of the 1960s.

Barber was born in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, the son of a statistician father and headmistress mother. He was educated at Hanley Castle Grammar School, Malvern, Worcestershire, to the age of 15, then St Paul’s School in London and the Guildhall School of Music.

Barber and Monty Sunshine (clarinet) formed a band in 1953, calling it Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen to capitalise on their trumpeter’s recent escapades in New Orleans: the group also included Donegan, Jim Bray (bass), Ron Bowden (drums) and Barber on trombone. The band played Dixieland jazz, and later ragtime, swing, blues and R&B. Pat Halcox took over on trumpet in 1954 when Colyer moved on after musical differences and the band became “The Chris Barber Band”. (by wikipedia)

And this is one of his early singles and the music sounds pretty good and this single is fun, fun, and fun only !


Chris Barber (trombone, vocals)
Jim Bray (bass)
Ron Bowden (drums)
Lonnie Donegan (banjo)
Pat Halcox (trumpet, vocals)
Monty Sunshine (clarinet)


01. Maryland, My Maryland (Traditional) 3.36
02. St. George’s Rag (Barber) 3.51
03. Wabash Blues (Ringle/Meinken) 6.04



Chris Barber Jazz & Blues Band (with specials guests) – Echoes Of Ellington (1977)

FrontCover1Taken from the original-liner notes:

One of the best qualities of Chris Barber, musician, is his imagination; an imagination which as easily moves from breathing life into a tired jazz standard to organising musical projects as ambitious as the ‘Echoes of Ellington’ tour of 1976. The tour brought together two seminal jazzmen – Russell Procope and Wild Bill Davis fusing neatly with Chris’s Jazz and Blues Band and the musical results are here: gloriously weathered Ellington jazz at its best.

It’s one of the accidents of jazz history that Russell Procope’s long and honourable service in Duke Ellington’s Orchestra occasionally hid him in the shadow of Johnny Hodges. An accident and an optical illusion, for as Procope told Stanley Dance in 1962 (The World of Duke Ellington, Macmillan, 1971), “We don’t have a first saxophone player or a second — we have things where anybody might be playing the lead.” But, no doubt because of Hodges’ opulent personality, the sound of Russell Procope, after 1946, became a musical delicacy rarer than it deserved to be. For by the time he joined John Kirby in 1938 Procope had matured from ‘a kind of child-wonder’ (in Duke Ellington’s words) into a master musician; a lythe elegant saxophonist whose tone and fluency recalled great contemporaries like Benny Carter and Hilton Jefferson, and whose contributions to the Kirby sextet would alone have qualified him for jazz immortality. It comes as something of a surprise therefore to learn that for Procope saxophone was, in theory, a second instrument, “I believe there’s so much more you can do on a clarinet than on a saxophone,” he told Dance in a statement that lends strange credance to an early and much criticised Rex Harris viewpoint. “You have so much more register, so much more tone. I believe that men with all the ideas Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins had would have found much more room to express themselves on clarinet.” An interesting debating point – but for Procope alto-saxophone was always much more than a reluctant double. And these recordings are an invaluable document of his later work and inspiration.


Wild Bill Davis

“Russell Procope was a man of dignity and gentility,” says Duke Ellington. “What is more he became a conscientious all round musician.” The same description applies to his partner on these records ‘Wild’ Bill Davis, the first great populariser of jazz organ, who by the age of twenty-two had already won a degree in music at Wiley College, Texas. That was in 1938, and nine years later Davis became intrigued with the sound of the Hammond organ, ran into debt to buy one, and began the long battle to win acceptance for his instrument. “Some people still won’t accept it,” he told Dance, “and in the early days it was tough.”

It took fifteen years and two generations of organists – Bill Davis, his pupil Bill Doggett, Jimmy Smith, and a whole cluster of rock musicians – to slowly legitimise the instrument for most jazz ears. Duke Ellington was a big admirer of Wild Bill’s work on piano and Bill deputised for Duke many times with the Orchestra when Duke was indisposed. Bill Davis was featured on piano during the ‘Echoes of Ellington’ tour playing in an intriguing style that occasionally recalled his main instrument. “Most of the time on organ I play in chord form,” he told Dance, “like a band, reed, or brass section,” and the approach works too at the piano providing a chunky swinging style at times reminiscent of Milt Buckner.

Aside from the contribution of the guests on this set, mention must be made of the new dimension added to the Barber Band by the authoritative, driving and ever tasteful drumming of Peter York captured here for the first time on record with Chris’s Band.

RussellProcopeRecord One of this set – from the Barber Band, shows off all the hallmarks that have for so long kept the Jazz and Blues Band at the head of its field; creative soloing amid witty arrangements that carefully avoid the obvious. After a headlong Stevedore Stomp and ravishing Jeeps Blues, listen to Slapping Seventh Avenue for the best of Chris Barber, a dancing Ellington vignette featuring leathery Lawrence Brown-ish trombone against carefully-crafted background, full-toned pawky Halcox trumpet, and wittily in-context drums from Peter York. Procope and Wild Bill are added to the band for Mood Indigo, a lush four-part arrangement, showcasing Procope’s woody clarinet (his approach occasionally recalls Darnell Howard, and it’s an interesting coincidence, if no more, that both began as violinists and both play Albert system clarinets), and reflective Davis piano. Shout ’em Aunt Tillie, a jaunty tune calls up the ghosts of jungle-nights in Harlem, this time with Halcox’s spritely trumpet against Latin-American rhythm.

Record Two spotlights the Procope-Davis Quartet (with marvellous interplay from Flavelle and York) and from the yearningly sensual Warm Valley to a happy Second Line (introduced with true Ellingtonian sophistication by Wild Bill) this is a set of performances that repays close listening; two master-soloists in maturity playing the music of a lifetime’s experience with every track producing magical jazz.

ChrisBarberBand1976Record Three is a happy equal-terms collaboration between band and visitors. Squatty Roo with relaxed chase choruses gives John Crocker a chance to play some booty tenor and Procope’s sensitive Blues for Duke are followed by Take the A Train arranged by Alan Cohen with a cheerful vocal by Chris and climbing trombone to a full-stop coda. A standard Ellington introduction (really from ‘The Duke Steps Out’) heralds another impressive Cohen arrangement, It Don’t Mean a Thing which frames Procope’s alto against Barber, Halcox and Crocker’s and Just Squeeze Me to follow, with familiar On the Trail under-riff and thick front-line voicing swings firmly and gently. The Mooche, a beautiful recreation combining academic perfection with heat, highlights duets from Crocker and Procope, Halcox and Barber, the latter a masterly brass conversation in appropriate jungle mood. And to conclude, a carefree romp through The Jeep Is Jumpin’ propelled expertly by Peter York and Jackie Flavelle.

Beautiful music, and thank you Chris Barber.(by Digby Fairweather)

What a fantastic tribute album to Duke Ellington !

Recorded in concert at the St. Ivo Centre, St. Ives, Huntingdon, 3rd June, 1976.

AlternateFrontCoversAlternate frontcovers

Chris Barber (trombone, vocals)
John Crocker (saxophone, clarinet)
Jackie Flavelle (bass)
Pat Halcox (trumpet)
Johnny McCallum (guitar, banjo)
John Slaughter (guitar)
Peter York (drums)
Wild Bill Davis (piano)
Russell Procope (saxophone, clarinet)


LP 1:
01. Stevedore Stomp (Ellington/Mills) 2.54
02. Jeep’s Blues (Ellington/Hodges) 6.00
03. I’m Slapping Seventh Avenue With The Sole Of My Shoe (Ellington/Mills/Nemo) 7.53
04. Mood Indigo (Ellington/Mills/Bigard) 8.28
05. Shout ‘Em Aunt Tillie (Ellington) 8.47

LP 2:
06. In A Mellotone (Ellington) 4.45
07. Prelude To A Kiss (Ellington/Mills/Gordon) 4.51
08. Second Line (Ellington) 4.54
09. Perdido (Tizol/Drake/Lengsfelder) 3.54
10. Warm Valley (Ellington) 5.40
11. Caravan (Ellington/Tizol) 6.00
12. Sophisticated Lady (Ellington) 4.51

LP 3:
13. Squatty Roo (Hodges) 4.54
14. Blues For Duke (Procope) 6.27
15. Take That “A” Train (Strayhorn) 5.05
16. It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing (Ellington/Mills) 4.03
17. Just Squeeze Me (Ellington) 5.17
18. The Mooche (Ellington/Mills) 5.12
19. The Jeep Is Jumpin’ (Ellington/Hodges) 4.02



The Big Chris Barber Band – European Tour (2011)

FrontCover1This new CD covers almost a complete concert of the present Big Chris Barber Band (What’cha Gonna Do and All Blues are missing). However, not all the recordings are from a single concert: all the recordings were made in January and February 2011 in England, Scotland and Germany. Rebecca Evans, the band’s sound engineer, mixed and put together the best ones from several concerts for the CD, supported by the band’s banjo player Joe Farler, known as a technical wizard. The sound quality of the live recordings is great.

The CD features the new faces among the band:

– David Horniblow, clarinet & saxes, since March 2010.
– Jackie Flavelle, bass/bass guitar, who joined the band in August 2010, but was formerly
on tour with Chris Barber from 1967 to 1977.
– Amy Roberts, saxophone and clarinet – the outstanding young talent joined the forces
of the Big Chris Barber Band in January 2011.
– Gregor Beck, drums, started in April 2010 with the band.

TheBand03Regular listeners to the band will be happy to have a CD that covers the most recent line-up of the Big Chris Barber Band. Different from previous recordings is Chris’s singing on Precious Lord, Lead Me On and the current version of Ice Cream, with the singing of Peter Rudeforth and Chris Barber. And of course, I personally miss one musician: blues guitarist John Slaughter, who died much too young in 2010. His blues parts have been taken over by others, for example by Chris Barber on trombone on Black & Tan Fantasy. (by Andreas Wandfluh)

Chris Barber (trombone, bass)
Gregor Beck (drums)
Richard Exall (clarinet, saxophone)
Joe Farler (banjo, guitar)
Jackie Flavelle (bass)
Mike Henry (trumpet, cornet)
David Horniblow (clarinet, saxophone)
Bob Hunt (trombone, trumpet)
Ami Roberts (saxophone, clarinet)
Peter Rudeforth (trumpet, fluegelhorn)

01. Bourbon Street Parade (Barbarin) 5.27
02. Rent Party Blues (Ellington/Hodges) 3.19
03. Jungle Nights In Harlem (Ellington) 2.45
04. The Spell Of The Blues (Johnston/Dreyewr/Ruby) 2.57
05. Jubilee Stomp (Ellington) 3,28
06. Precious Lord, Lead Me On (Dorsey) 5.28
07. Wabash Blues (Ringle/Meinken) 6.33
08. Wild Cat Blues (Waller/Williams) 3,28
09. Merry-Go-Round (Ellington) 3.42
10. Black & Tan Fantasy/TheMooche (Ellington/Wesley) 8.19
11. C JamBlues (Ellington) 5.01
12. Corn Bread, Peas & Black Molasses (Terry/McGhee) 4.13
13. Hot & Bothered (Ellington) 2.38
14. Petite Fleur (Bechet) 3.28
15. When The Saints Go Marching In (Traditional) 11.06
16. Ice Cream (Johnson/King/Moll) 3.58


Chris Barber – Jubilee Tour Album (1974)

ChrisBarberJubilee74FC This period of Chris Barber´s career saw the first reunion of the original Chris Barber´s Jazz Band of 1954 – 1955. So this live album is called Jubilee Tour Album featuring two really very interesting musicians: Ray Nance & Alex Bradford (which whom Barber played in the early 60´s):

Ray Nance was a multi-talented individual. He was a fine trumpeter who not only replaced Cootie Williams with Duke Ellington’s Orchestra, but gave the “plunger” position in Duke’s band his own personality. In addition, Nance was one of the finest jazz violinists of the 1940s, an excellent jazz singer, and even a dancer. He studied piano, took lessons on violin, and was self-taught on trumpet. After leading a small group in Chicago (1932-1937), spending periods with the orchestras of Earl Hines (1937-1938) and Horace Henderson (1939-1940), and a few months as a solo act, Nance joined Duke Ellington’s orchestra. His very first night on the job was fully documented as the band’s legendary Fargo concert. A very valuable sideman, Nance played a famous trumpet solo on the original version of “Take the ‘A’ Train” and proved to be a fine wa-wa player; his violin added color to the suite “Black, Brown and Beige” (in addition to being showcased on numerous songs), and his singing on numbers such as “A Slip of a Lip Will Sink a Ship” and “Tulip or Turnip” was an added feature. Nance was with Ellington with few interruptions until 1963; by then the returning Cootie Williams had taken some of his glory. The remainder of Nance’s career was relatively insignificant, with occasional small-group dates, gigs with Brooks Kerr and Chris Barber (touring England in 1974).

Professor Alex Bradford (1927 – 1978) was a multi-talented gospel composer, singer, arranger and choir director who was a great influence on artists such as Little Richard, Bob Marley and Ray Charles and who helped bring about the modern mass choir movement in gospel.

Born in Bessemer, Alabama, he first appeared on stage at age four, then joined a children’s gospel group at thirteen, soon obtaining his own radio show. He organized another group after his mother sent him to New York City following a racial incident; he continued singing after returning to attend the Snow Hill Institute in Snow Hill, Alabama, where he acquired the title “Professor” while teaching as a student.

He moved to Chicago in 1947, where he worked briefly with Roberta Martin and toured with Mahalia Jackson, then struck out on his own with his own group, the Bradford Singers, followed by another group, the Bradford Specials. He recorded his first hit record, “Too Close To Heaven” (1954), billed as Professor Alex Bradford and his singers, sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc,[1] then followed it with a number of other successes in the rest of the decade.

Artists such as Little Richard imitated Bradford’s energetic style, ranging from a gravelly bass to a whooping falsetto, and his flamboyant stage presence. Ray Charles, for his part, not only borrowed some of Bradford’s vocal mannerisms but based his Raelets on the Bradford Specials. His 1962 gospel song composition “Let the Lord Be Seen in Me”, recorded for his “One Step & Angel on Vacation” album, was also recorded in 1964 by an emerging force in Jamaican music, Bob Marley & the Spiritual Sisters. Marley later adopted the Rastafarian faith, but along with his mother, at first he sung gospel in the local Shilo Apostolic Church.

In 1961, when his recording career was in decline, Bradford joined the cast in “Black Nativity”, based on the writings of Langston Hughes. He appeared in Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, for which he won the Obie award, in 1972. He died in 1978 as the musical Your Arms Too Short to Box with God was in production.

Graham Burbidge (drums)
Chris Barber (trombone)
John Crocker (reeds)
Jackie Flavelle (bass)
Pat Halcox (trumpet)
Johnny McCallum (banjo)
John Slaughter (guitar)
Alex Bradford (vocals on 09. – 14.)
Ray Nance (trumpet, violin, vocals on 01. – 08.)

01.Take The “A” Train(Strayhorn) 5.53
02. I Can´t Give Anything but Love (McHugh/Fields) 4.51
03. Just A-Sittin´ And A-Rockin´(Ellington/Gaines/Strayhorn) 4.29
04. Blues For Yesterday (Nance) 4.35
05. Summertime (I.Gershwin/G.Gershwin) 8.17
06. Oh, Lady Be Good (Gershwin) 5.38
07. When You´re Smiling (Fisher/Goodwin/Shay) 3.22
08. Take The “A” Train (Strayhorn) 0.48
09. Just A Closer Walk With Thee (Traditional) 4.27
10. Lord, Lord You´re Sure Been Good to Me (Traditional) 5.10
11. Introduction by Alex Bradford/Shady Green Pastures (Traditional) 7.44
12. Couldn´t Keep It To Myself (King) 5.13
13. Introduction by Alex Bradford/They Kicked Him Out Of Heaven (Traditional) 5.50
14. Introduction by Alex Bradford/Precious Lord, Take My Hand (Dorsey) 8.30

This double-LP was reissued on a Timeless CD,
but it is unfortunately no longer commercially available.