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The Vitality Five | The Vitality Five

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Jelly Roll Morton Joe "King" Oliver Sidney Bechet

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Jazz: New Orleans Jazz Jazz: Ragtime Moods: Instrumental
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The Vitality Five

by The Vitality Five

The debut release from the London-based quintet of true hot-jazz-syncopators from three corners of the globe!
Genre: Jazz: New Orleans Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Moten Stomp
3:28 $0.99
2. Clarinetitis
2:40 $0.99
3. Black Rag
2:55 $0.99
4. Desdemona
3:20 $0.99
5. Steamboat Stomp
2:55 $0.99
6. Dixie
3:17 $0.99
7. East Coast Trot
2:52 $0.99
8. Reverie
3:18 $0.99
9. Mojo Strut
2:47 $0.99
10. Smoke-House Blues
3:50 $0.99
11. She's Crying for Me
2:37 $0.99
12. If You Want the Rainbow
2:33 $0.99
13. Retour Au Pays
2:02 $0.99
14. Kansas City Breakdown
3:58 $0.99
15. Wa Wa Wa
2:47 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
of London


Featuring internationally-renowned Syncopators from three corners of the globe:

Mr. MICHAEL McQUAID : Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
Mr. DAVID HORNIBLOW : Clarinet & Bass Saxophone
Mr. ANDREW OLIVER : Pianoforte
Mr. MARTIN WHEATLEY : Guitar & Banjo
Mr. NICHOLAS D. BALL : Percussion

Formed in 2015 and initially developing out of a series of informal workshop sessions in South London, the Vitality Five are an all-star quintet dedicated to performing and recording authentic 1920s small-group jazz. Specialising in the kind of blistering 'hot stomps' inspired by the records of the California Ramblers, Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers, Johnny Dodds' Hometown Band and others, the Five include sensational virtuosi from Australia, the USA and UK.


"RED HOT STOMPS are the order of the day, and constitute the majority of The Vitality Five's bill of fare on this debut Disc, rendered in London in the rainy October of 2015. Michael McQuaid's mellifluous clarinet and David Horniblow's fulsome bass saxophone lead us off into MOTEN STOMP, a statement-of-intent opener which leaves us in no doubt that the Five are hereby delivering an all-out assault aimed principally at galvanising the toes and buttocks of the listener. The neat Andrew Oliver arrangement also incorporates a filigree chorale section amongst all the stomping gutbuckettery. CLARINETITIS is a bravura feature for noted Melburnian reedsman McQuaid, stepping into the sizeable shoes of a certain Mr. Goodman and channelling some of that gentleman's sonorous Semitic musical influences to stunning effect. BLACK RAG - that archetypal trusty warhorse of the Tuxedo Orchestra, the first African-American band to wax a jazz record - shows off the Five in ragtime mode, with Horniblow switching horns for some sinuous clarinet-sparring with McQuaid before returning to the rhythm section to drive the band home on the bass. A constant ear-catching presence too is the powerhouse banjo playing of Martin Wheatley. Maceo Pinkard's DESDEMONA is an excursion into mid-20s urbanity reminiscent of the California Ramblers gang of Rollini and Nichols, with a whimsical clarinet solo by McQuaid and a Horniblow-penned arrangement brimming with imagination and detail.

The Jelly Roll Morton repertoire is an almost mandatory touchstone for any 20s jazz band following the stomp trail, and the Vitality Five is certainly no exception. STEAMBOAT STOMP is the first of a couple of Morton compositions here laid down, performed in a manner more or less faithful to the original (although perhaps wisely minus the truly irreproducible vaudeville skit.) We are also treated here to the unusual aural delights of not one but two scintillating rhythm-section solos, with a chorus of gallinaceous Wheatley banjo-picking followed up by another of dextrous hot-socking courtesy of drummer N.D. Ball. DIXIE, a romantic feature for bass saxophone (!) composed in 1928 by its foremost acolyte, Adrian Rollini (and named for his wife) sees David Horniblow achieve a Rollinian delicacy and lightness on an instrument that can sound ponderous and unwieldy in many hands. This side is also further distinguished by some exquisite guitar work by Martin Wheatley, most prominently during the introduction and coda as well as in a fine solo chorus. EAST COAST TROT returns us again to hot-stomp territory, propelled by the fabulous stride piano of Oregonian Andrew Oliver and featuring an ever-escalating clarinet duel of brio and exuberance entirely reminiscent of the Johnny Dodds/Junie Cobb original. The final result: a thrilling dead-heat with no loss of credit to either combatant.

During his long and distinguished career, the great Martiniquais clarinettist Eugène Delouche founded a particular and distinct style of Biguine music, and is a particular favourite of our own Michael McQuaid. The wistful REVERIE is the first of two Delouche compositions (along with the later RETOUR AU PAYS) arranged by McQuaid and recorded here by a banjo-less quartet. These Biguines add a welcome touch of tropical flavour to proceedings, whilst also serving to highlight the connections between the Creole musics of New Orleans and its Caribbean island neighbours. MOJO STRUT, a short but dense transcription by Ball from a Tiny Parham original, begins moody and menacing before exploding into a set of frenetic choruses over constantly shifting rhythms and textures. We now find welcome respite in the form of the second Morton number of the disc, the famous SMOKE-HOUSE BLUES, in which Messrs. Horniblow, McQuaid and Oliver take the opportunity to stretch out some languorous and authentically sultry blues choruses.

Santo Pecora's popular SHE'S CRYING FOR ME kicks off the last portion of the record; a tricky, switchback number based on an obscure recording by Wynn's Creole Band, which throughout its many sections never once settles into a full-tutti romp until the very last, jumping chorus. IF YOU WANT THE RAINBOW, with its refined alto saxophone lead and muted rhythm section, calls to mind the smooth sophistication of the great British dance bands of the late 1920s. The beautiful melody was the work of pianist Oscar Levant, composer of many Tin Pan Alley hits and later a Hollywood film actor. The Five deliver their last dose of Vitality via two Andrew Oliver arrangements; first the KANSAS CITY BREAKDOWN, a classic Bennie Moten number typical of the great jazz produced by that city in the late 20s, followed by King Oliver's hit WA WA WA, which features amongst its many fizzing delights a bass saxophone interlude, a clarinet/banjo duet and a tattoo on snare drum before the Five finally stomp home on a triple-charleston coda.



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