Sunday, December 14, 2008

Graeme Bell - All Recorded Compositions

Graeme Bell - Een Australisch Jazz Icoon! (Nederlands) Graeme Bell - Al Zijn Composities Vastgelegd (Nederlands) Graeme Bell - Australian Jazz Icon (English) Graeme Bell - All Recorded Compositions.(English)
GRAEME BELL: All Recorded Compositions.
Hans Koert

A year ago Bill Haesler, Australian producer, jazz historian and jazz musican contacted me with a request. He needed a clean copy of the Graham Bell composition Rocking Horse Rag as recorded in the early 1950s in Europe. He posted his request at a Keep Swinging blog, titled Rocking Horse Rag, which resulted in a clean copy of the tune played by the Paul Norman Orchestra. It is one of the 46 tracks of the Graeme Bell 2CD, titled A Compilation of his Recorded Compositions 1947-2007. Yesterday I introduced you to some early aspects of his career; today the final part. The Graeme Bell band was very popular in those days`and played all around Australia. In the 1970s Graeme Bell forms his All-Stars and is often to be seen on TV, concerts and tours, like a three month tour along US venues. In 1980 he is one of the guests at the Oude Stijl Jazz Festival (= Traditional Jazz Festival) in Breda, in het southern part of The Netherlands, where he played with The Dutch Swing College Band.

It must have been from that period that I became fascinated by the music of Graeme Bell, although I haven't heard him playing at the Breda Jazz Festival.
Graeme Bell at the Oude Stijl Jazz Festival in Breda ( The Netherlands) - May 1980
I really liked his ragtime-styled tunes and I had a Festival LP in my collection, titled The Music of Graeme Bell, subtitled featuring Ragtimes, Jazz and Cakewalks. I lost that album, but have some tracks left on a cassette tape. Thanks to a friend of Bill Haesler, I now have an image of it. The way this band played the traditional jazz, was not like most (Dutch) dixieland bands I knew, but had something extra, a flavor of its own - only Australian bands have, Horace Meunier Harris characterized it in the IAJRC Journal (autumn 2005) - the same flavor I tasted in the music of Dave Dallwitz, labeled as Daddy Long Legs in one of Graeme Bell's compositions, another Australian piano player who mixed ragtimes and jazz to a tasty meal.
Graeme played in Japan and took charge of a young dixieland band, named Dixie Jive, which played several times with him in Australia. In the 1990s he made tours with his All-Stars band to China and Japan and even returned to Czechoslovakia where it all began and played as one of the guests on the Humphrey Lyttelton 50th year-in-jazz celebrations.
Since 2004 Graeme Bell is a retired man, but that don't mean that he doesn't play anymore. This year his latest album was released, a compilation of al his recorded composition. This 2CD is not one of those numerous albums in the series "The Best of .... ", like Graeme Bell, the best of the EMI years wich contains his 1950s releases; Graeme Bell played and recorded hundreds of jazz tunes, standard and compositions made by others - this 2CD however contains all Graeme Bell own compositions; most played by himself; some by others. The first CD contains his first twenty years up to 1967. Some compositions, especially the first ones, are dated - dixieland music, popular in those days, but most tunes like the Square Dance Rag and the Rocking Horse Rag, the latter represented here in two versions: one by his Ragtime Four and one, as Le Cheval A Bascule as recorded by the Paul Norman Orchestra in Paris (1953) have that famous Australian flavor. His Skiffle Gang is represented with two tracks: Come Skiffle Chicken and Skiffle Board Blues. The second CD is more modern and has some surprises. It contains compositions that have never been recorded before, which are now available for the very first time, played by musicians like Ian Smith's Studio Scallywags, Peter Locke and Stephen Grant.
And, of course, he can't help it, despite his age, ninety-plus, Graeme Bell himself at the piano with the Robbers Dogs Jazz Band, featuring the producer of the album Bill Haesler on washboard. The second part of the 2CD sounds modern and fresh and learns that Graeme Bell's compositions are still entertaining and enjoyable. There is, however, one track, titled Dancing Avenue, played by Graeme Bell in the early 1990s, but now re-mixed by the Japanese DJ Hiroshi Yasukawa - a track that shows the wide range of styles in which Graeme Bell's compositions have been recorded, but it doesn't fit into this selection. Maybe you can use that track to convince your grandson to the importance of Bell's influences on modern dance music; the youth will like this one ......
This album,
Graeme Bell - a compilation of his Recorded Compositions 1947-2007 is a great homage to the music of this honoured Australian band leader, composer and jazz musician.

CD-1
01-lizard - graeme bell dixieland jazz band - sydney 11 apr. 1947
02-czechoslovak journey - graeme bell dixieland jazz band - paris 23 sep. 1947
03-chicken and almonds - graeme bell australian jazz band - sydney 10 mrt 1949
04-chicken and almonds - graeme bell trio - sydney 3 feb. 1956
05-jumbuck jamboree - graeme bell orchestra - melbourne 3 jun 1950
06-bull and blues - graeme bell australian jazz band - london 14 jul 1951
07-goanna march - graeme bell australian jazz band - london 25 jul 1951
08-take a note from the south - bell-lyttelton jazz nine - london 6 nov 1951
09-apples be ripe - bell-lyttelton jazz twelve - london 18 dec 1951
10-rocking horse rag - graeme bell ragtime four - sydney 23 apr 1952
11-rocking horse rag paul norman orchestra - paris 1953
12-square dance rag - graeme bell ragtime four - sydney 30 april 1953
13-airway boogie - graeme bell ragtime four - sydney 30 april 1953
14-bell's boogie - graeme bell trio - sydney 3 feb 1956
15-come skiffle chicken - graeme bell skiffle gang - sydney 8 aug 1957
16-skiffle board blues - graeme bell skiffle gang - sydney 8 aug 1957
17-petal's theme - graeme bell all stars - sydney 14-sep-1962
18-long john c - graeme bell all stars sydney 14 sep 1962
19-bottle top blues - graeme bell all stars - sydney 14 sep 1962
20-just jazz - graeme bell all stars - sydney 4 jul 1963
21-justine - graeme bell all stars - sydney 19 aug 1963
22-balthazar - graeme bell all stars - sydney 27 mei 1964
23-mount olive - smithy studio scallywags - melbourne - 20 dec 2007
24-mollie the monk - graeme bell all stars - sydney 3 juni 1964
25-corroboree in dixie - graeme bell all stars -sydney 28 aug 1967
CD-2
01-malloney's boogie - climax jazz band (feat. graeme bell ) - toronto - 28 jun 1975
02-his one's for eric - graeme bell all stars - sydney 28 feb 1980
03- blue mist - peter locke - bondi 20 dec 2007
04-my dreaming - smithy studio scallywags - mebourne 20 dec 2007
05-boab tree - paul furniss sessionmates - sydney 3 april 2008
06-happy cavaliers - dixie jive - sydney 5 jan 1991
07-here's one for jim - peter locke trio - bondi 19 nov 2007
08-dancing avenue - graeme bell (remixed by hiroshi yasukawa) - sydney 1992
09-tango moravia - smithy studio scallywags - melbourne 20 dec 2007
10-daddy long legs - smithy studio scallywags - melbourne 20 dec 2007
11-stopping on two paths - stephen grant - melbourne 20 dec 2007
12-flight of the broken wing - graeme bell - sydney 28 april 2004
13-touch of heather - graeme bell sydney 7 july 2007
14-kyushu dragonfly - tom gould - melbourne 27 dec 2007
15-bev's washboard stomp in b - graeme bell reunion band - sydney 28 april 2004
16-fairy night - kevin hunt trio - sydney 13 dec 2007
17-roundabout - allan browne sextet - melbourne 22 april 2008
18-is he back yet - george washingmachine-peter locke trio - bondi 19 nov 2007
19-is he back yet - stephen grant - melbourne 20 nov 2007
20-clea - paul furniss sessionmates - pymble 3 april 2008
21-pig's arse, he's in america - robbers dogs jazz band (feat. graeme bell) - pymble 22 jan 2008
Keep swinging

Hans Koert


keepswinging@live.nl

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