Four saxophones revive the music of its roots .....
New record by THE BEAU HUNKS SAXOPHONE QUARTET: STYLES AND CHUCKLES
A few months ago the 5th album by the Beau Hunks Saxophone Quartet has been recorded, entitled Styles and Chuckles. The Beau Hunks is a well known retro band that made some great recordings years ago, which started with the Laurel & Hardy project.
The Beau Hunks at the Odeon Theater, Amsterdam - January 1992 ( photo courtesy: Evelien Schoondergang)
In the early 1990s a group of enthusiast musicians fascinated by the music of the Laurel and Hardy films transcribed the music composed by LeRoy Shields for these 1930s shorts. In January 1992 the Beau Hunks, of course named after one of the best known 1931 films by Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, made its debut at a concert at the Amsterdam Tuschinski Theater in a program to celebrate the fact that Oliver Hardy should have reached the age of 100 years that day. Thanks to some men from the very beginning like Gert-Jan Blom, Ton Van Bergeyk and Piet Schreuders ( and numerous others - one shouldn't try to make lists, Hans !!) the music of Stan and Oliver became hip! This concert was an overwhelming success and the band continued to perform and in the summer of 1992 the first album with the Original Laurel & Hardy music was recorded. It was the first record in a long series of projects. They recorded some more LeRoy Shield catchy film music scores, also labelled as the Original Little Rascal Music. Since the 1990s the Beau Hunks continued to record, like the Ferde Grofé symphonic jazz pieces, the Edward MacDowell's Woodland Sketches, the Raymond Scoot Kodachrome compositions and the re-executions of Paul Whiteman's Saxophone Soctette recordings, with a great recording featuring Al Gallodoro, then in his 80s, Whiteman's 1930s saxophone star as a guest. In March 2000 I heard the Beau Hunks Saxophone Soctette at the Chassé Theater in Breda - a great experience. In 2004 the Bo Van Der Hunk Quintette ( what's in a name?) played the music and musical effects for a radio play, entitled Het Bureau ( a NPS-radio play of a series of books by J. J. Voskuil). The last years the Beau Hunks seem to linger on with almost no public performances or recordings, up to ............. some times ago. The Beau Hunks Saxophone Quartet recorded a new album: Styles and Chuckles. The Beau Hunks Saxophone Quartet: f.l.t.r.: Sebastian Ohm - Robert Veen - Ronald Jansen Heijtmajer and Leo Van Oostrom ( photo courtesy: José van der Kieft)
This great band, its music is reissued on an Archeophone record ( Six Brown Brothers - Those Moaning saxophones) (Arch 6002) was one of those legendary bands that were extreme popular during the saxophone craze of the early 1900s because they could handle all types of saxophones - from the alto saxophone up to the monstrous bass sax. What a pity that Robert Veen didn't use this mastodon in the range of saxophones as he uses on the new record by the Delirium Tremolo, which will be released soon ( I hope to review it later). Mind, Robert, that both the Pussyfoot March as the Smiles and Chuckles originally had Harry Fink on bass sax!
As I wrote before the track list seems to be a hodgepodge of tunes. The selection opens with a saxophone quartet version of the Waltz For Debby, originally played by Bill Evans, a version which would suit well in the Anachronic Jazz Band repertoire. The track list contains vaudeville and novelty tunes, but also Dutch and Swedish popular songs like the Amsterdam Suite, a medley of four popular songs arranged by Sebastian Ohm: Als op het Leidscheplein de lichtjes weer eens branden gaan, a Cor Steijn composition; Aan de voet van die mooie Wester; The Kees Manders composition Amsterdam Huilt and the tune Oh Waterlooplein, mentioned before. And what to think from the Dutch tearjerker Veel mooier dan het mooiste schilderij played by the Ramblers (1944) and sung by Eddy Christiani (1944) or Willy Alberti (1946)? Vem kann segla förutan vind?, Fedja and Kärleksvals are tunes known in Scandinavia. The latter was played by Svend Asmussen and Ulrik Neumann in Alice Babs group The Swe-Danes.
Don't expect swinging jazzy tunes; the repertoire could be best labelled as salon music, vaudeville and novelty music. A music style which is seldom heard, played by four professional saxophone players who know its roots - the music of the early 1920s saxophone craze as represented by the Six Brown Brothers and saxophone legends like Rudy Wiedoft. If you are a Beau Hunks fan, you shouldn't miss this one. The record can be obtained from the Basta sites.
Some months ago I played myself some old Laurel and Hardy comic films and when I heard the music of the film I recognized the sound of .... the Beau Hunks. Isn't that a great compliment on the men of this Dutch retro-band, the Beau Hunks? Although it started to recreate the original Laurel and Hardy music files, the Beau Hunks now concentrate on the rich history of the saxophone music. In its latest record, Styles and Chuckles, they revive the music of the roots of Adolpho Sax's instrument ... If you don't want to miss it, ask for the Keep Swinging news letter.
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