Can't We Get Together
Chris Barber's Jazz Band with Ottilie Patterson / The Chris Barber Jazz & Blues Band with Guests (Dr. John, Ken Colyer, and Monty Sunshine)
LP (double album): Timeless TTD 517/518; CD: Timeless CDTTD517/518
The music on this double album spans approximately thirty years, although it is a sampling of material recorded more or less at two separate points in the Barber Band's history rather than a continuous snapshot of music over a three-decade period.
The first part, recorded in the last days of 1956, shortly after Eddie Smith joined the band on banjo, is made up of the soundtrack from a publicity film, Holiday, complete with narration by the actor Robert Shaw. There are ten short tunes, all but one being re-recordings of tracks recorded and commercially released by the band over the preceding two years. The exception is a lovely song by Ottilie Patterson and the band, "Goodtime Tonight". This deleted double-LP, or the slightly different CD version, is worth searching for if only for this one track.
But that’s not all, by any means. We also have a number of studio recordings by the 1984 band, with fresh approaches to old standards (“Just A Little While To Stay Here” and “Just A Closer Walk With Thee”), plus a couple of concert recordings by the same lineup at roughly the same time, with Dr. John guesting on “Good Queen Bess.”
Sides 3 and 4 of the LP consist of seven tracks (unfortunately, not all of them on the CD) recorded in concert in Brighton and Croydon during the early months of 1984. Here, the front-line is a reunion of the Ken Colyer Jazzmen of 1953-54, with Colyer on trumpet and vocals, Barber on trombone, and Monty Sunshine on clarinet. It’s wonderful to hear these seasoned musicians playing together once again with such joy and enthusiasm, backed by the “new” rhythm section of Johnny McCallum (banjo), Roger Hill (guitar), Vic Pitt (bass), and Norman Emberson (drums).