The Big Chris Barber Band: Barber At Blenheim (The Big Chris Barber Band At Blenheim Palace)
Chris Barber Collection CBJBCD 4004, Recorded at Blenheim Palace on 1st December 2007, and released in 2009.
Barber At Blenheim was recorded by band sound-man Barry Walker at a private function at Blenheim Palace on December 1, 2007, and later re-mastered for release on compact disc at Classic Media Group, the company responsible for such recent Barber issues as the Lost And Found CD-series and the DVD, As We Like It. Although there have been some personnel changes since the time of the recording, current Barber concert-goers will particularly enjoy this CD as a souvenir of their evening, as the programme of thirteen tracks is a snapshot of a typical Big Chris Barber Band appearance. It features long-time Barber standards such as Bourbon Street Parade, The Martinique, Petite Fleur and The Saints, as well as several examples of the more recent move in the direction of re-interpreting early tunes by or associated with Duke Ellington (Rent Party Blues, Merry-Go-Round, Jubilee Stomp, and Hot And Bothered).
The regular eleven-man line-up is slightly reduced to ten on this CD as, according to the notes, "John Slaughter was at the time not yet recovered from his serious illness and regular replacement Andy Kuc couldn't make it." Consequently Joe Farler doubles on banjo and guitar. Also, it's worth noting that, to the best of my knowledge, this was the last concert recorded for public release before trombonist Bob Hunt and reedman Tony Carter left the band, and just seven months before veteran trumpeter Pat Halcox retired after 54 years with the band.
Ed Jackson, May 2009