The Great Reunion Concert
The Original Chris Barber's Jazz Band of 1954 / The Chris Barber Jazz & Blues Band
LP (double album): Black Lion BLP12140/141
CD: Timeless CD TTD553

The original Chris Barber’s Jazz Band of 1954 (Chris Barber: trombone & bass; Pat Halcox: cornet; Monty Sunshine: clarinet; Lonnie Donegan: banjo, guitar & vocals; Jim Bray: bass & tuba; and Ron Bowden: drums) was one of the great jazz bands of the 1950s. Formed on May 31, 1954, and recording is first LP, New Orleans Joys, in July of that year, the original band remained intact for a mere fourteen months, when Jim Bray left the band and was replaced by Micky Ashman (who had played briefly in earlier Barber bands some years before). Lonnie Donegan, too, remained for less than one more year, when he left to pursue his solo career, capitalizing on the success of “Rock Island Line”. Perhaps the most shocking personnel change was the departure of Monty Sunshine at the end of 1960 to form his own band. Some skeptics went so far as to forecast the demise of the band -- but, as we all know, Monty was more than adequately replaced by Ian Wheeler, and the band is still going strong over four decades later.

Over the ensuing years the original band reunited several times, most notably for a long series of British and European concerts in 1994, several of which are available on CD, and on at least one DVD. The first such reunion, however, took place in June of 1975, in an outstanding concert at the Fairfield Hall, Croydon, during which several of the best-loved tunes from the early recorded repertoire were re-created, including “The Martinique”, “Chimes Blues”, “The Isle Of Capri”, “Hushabye”, and “It’s Tight Like That”, as well as some Lonnie Donegan skiffle features. All of these have been reissued on Timeless Records CD TTD553, which also includes a few tracks from the then-current version of Chris Barber’s Jazz & Blues Band. Unfortunately, the concert was interrupted when the hall had to be evacuated because of a bomb threat, but, on the positive side, several excellent studio tracks were recorded at around the same time and were included on the double-LP original version of the concert recording (see below). While the studio recordings were omitted from the CD release of The Great Reunion Concert, they have all been released on other CDs.

Recording dates: The concert took place on 5 June 1975, and the additional studio tracks that appear on the LP (but not the CD) were recorded on 29 May 1975.

Music: Saturday Night Function (from the concert) and Jackass Blues (studio recording).
Details: For more details about this record, click on the thumbnail images below to see the sleeve of the original LP.
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