Monday, 17 April 2017

Chris Barber born 17 April 1930

Donald Christopher "Chris" Barber (born 17 April 1930) is an English jazz musician, best known as a bandleader and trombonist

Barber was born in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, the son of a statistician father and headmistress mother. He was educated at Hanley Castle Grammar School, Malvern, Worcestershire, to the age of 15, then St Paul's School in London and the Guildhall School of Music. 
Barber played trombone with Humphrey Lyttleton in 1949 and began leading his own bands in which he played trombone and double bass. Barber and Monty Sunshine (clarinet) formed a band in 1953, calling it Ken Colyer's Jazzmen to capitalise on their trumpeter's recent escapades in New Orleans: the group also included Donegan, Jim Bray (bass), Ron Bowden (drums) and Barber on trombone. The band played Dixieland jazz, and later ragtime, swing, blues and R&B. Pat Halcox took over on trumpet in 1954 when Colyer moved on after musical differences and the band became "The Chris Barber Band". 

In April 1953 the band made its debut in Copenhagen, Denmark. There Chris Albertson recorded several sides for the new Danish Storyville label, including some featuring only Sunshine, Donegan and Barber on double bass. The year 1955 saw the arrival of Barber's future wife, vocalist Ottilie Patterson, a blues-based performer who sang duets with Sister Rosetta Tharpe when the gospel/swing star sat in with the band in 1957. 


 In 1959 the band's version of Sidney Bechet's "Petite Fleur", a clarinet solo by Monty Sunshine with Barber on string bass, spent twenty-four weeks in the UK Singles Charts, making it to No. 3 and selling over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. After 1959 he toured the United States many times (where "Petite Fleur" charted at #5). 

Ottilie & Chris Barber
Although the Barber band featured traditional jazz in the New Orleans style, it later also engaged in Ragtime, Swing, Blues and R&B and worked with other artists including Louis Jordan and Dr. John. After 1959 he toured the United States many times. 

In the late 1950s and early 1960s Barber was mainly responsible for arranging the first UK tours of blues artists Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and Muddy Waters. This, with the encouragement of local enthusiasts such as Alexis Korner and John Mayall, sparked young musicians such as Peter Green, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. British rhythm and blues powered the British invasion of the USA charts in the 1960s, yet Dixieland itself remained popular: in January 1963 the British music magazine, NME reported the biggest trad jazz event in Britain at Alexandra Palace. It included George Melly, Diz Disley, Acker Bilk, Alex Welsh, Kenny Ball, Ken Colyer, Sunshine, Bob Wallis, Bruce Turner, Mick Mulligan and Barber. 
Barber stunned traditionalists in 1964 by introducing blues guitarist John Slaughter into the line up who, apart from a break between April 1978 and August 1986, when Roger Hill took over the spot, played in the band until shortly before his death in 2010. Barber next added a second clarinet/saxophone and this line-up continued until 1999. Then Barber added fellow trombonist/arranger Bob Hunt and another clarinet and trumpet. This eleven-man "Big Chris Barber Band" offered a broader range of music while reserving a spot in the programme for the traditional six-man New Orleans line-up. 

A recording of the Lennon–McCartney composition "Catswalk" can be heard, retitled "Cat Call", on The Songs Lennon and McCartney Gave Away. Written by Paul McCartney the song was recorded in late July 1967 and released as a single in the UK on 20 October 1967.

Recent band members who have moved on: Pat Halcox, trumpeter with the Chris Barber Band since its formation on 31 May 1954, retired after playing his last gig with the Big Chris Barber Band on 16 July 2008. Halcox and Barber were together in the band for 54 years - the longest continuous partnership in the history of jazz, exceeding even that of Duke Ellington and Harry Carney (48 years between 1926 and 1974).Tony Carter (reeds) also left the band at this time.

In 1991 Barber was awarded the OBE for his services to Music. As a trombone player Chris's work is enhanced by his rich sound and flowing solo style. It is, however, as a Bandleader and trend-creator that he has made his greatest contribution to the jazz scene both internationally and in the UK.

The 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century found Barber carrying the torch of trad jazz into a sixth decade of creative professional activity, often expanding his group to include 11 players while consistently delivering music of unpretentious warmth and historic depth.

 Chris and his Big band are currently touring the UK.  (Info mainly from Wikipedia)


boppinbob said...

For Chris Barber Jazz Band Favourites” go here:

“Jazz Band Favourites” by Chris Barber’s Jazz Band, released by EMI (UK) in 1991, contains 22 songs. Below is a detailed song listing (including album & singles label and number, chart position, release date)(UK=UK Singles Chart; BB Pop=Billboard Hot 100):

01 PETITE FLEUR (Pye Jazz 7NJ 2026/Laurie 3022)(a-side, UK 3/January 1959; BB Pop 5/1959)*his biggest hit!
02 WHISTLIN' RUFUS (Pye Jazz 7NJ 2011)(uncharted UK a-side, February 1958)
03 WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN - PART I (Pye Jazz 7NJ 2023)(uncharted UK a-side, May 1958)
04 WHEN THE SAINTS GO MARCHING IN - PART 2 (Pye Jazz 7NJ 2023)(UK b-side, May 1958)*rare gem; CD debut
05 SWEET GEORGIA BROWN (with Ottilie Patterson)(Pye Nixa NH 5003)(uncharted a-side, 1958)
06 HIGH SOCIETY (Pye Jazz 7NJ 2007)(uncharted UK a-side, July 1958)
07 BUGLE CALL RAG*from album “Chris Barber Plays Volume 3” (Pye Nixa NJT 505)(1957)
08 MACK THE KNIFE (Columbia DB 7042)(uncharted UK a-side, May 1963)*rare gem; CD debut
09 HAMP’S BLUES*from album “Good Morning Blues” (Columbia 33SX 1657)(1965)
10 BILL BAILEY (featuring Monty Sunshine)(Pye Jazz 7NJ 2030)(uncharted UK a-side, May 1960)
11 I SHALL NOT BE MOVED (Columbia DB 7297)(UK b-side, June 1964)*rare gem; CD debut.
12 O SOLE MIO (Columbia DB 7196)(uncharted UK a-side, January 1964)*rare gem; CD debut
13 WINI WINI (LET’S DO THE TAMOURE)(Columbia DB 7042)(UK b-side, May 1963)*a-side “Mack the Knife” Track #8
14 BONSOIR MES SOUVENIRS (Columbia DB 7196)(UK b-side, January 1964)*rare gem; CD debut; a-side “O Sole Mio” track #12
15 GOOD MORNIN’ BLUES*from album “Good Mornin’ Blues” (Columbia 33SX 1657)(1965); rare gem
16 BAD LUCK BLUES*from album “Good Mornin’ Blues” (Columbia 33SX 1657)(1965); rare gem
17 MORNING TRAIN (Chris Barber's Soul Band, featuring Ronnie Scott & Brian Auger)(Columbia DB 7461)(uncharted UK a-side, January 1965)*from album “Good Morning Blues” (Columbia 33SX 1657)(1965)
18 FRANKIE AND JOHNNY*from album “Good Mornin’ Blues” (Columbia 33SX 1657)(1965); rare gem
19 IF I HAD A TICKET (Kenneth Washington with Chris Barber & the T-Bones)(CBS 202394)(uncharted UK a-side, October 1966)*rare gem; CD debut
20 THE GREAT BEAR*from album “Good Mornin’ Blues” (Columbia 33SX 1657)(1965); rare gem
21 JEEPS BLUES*from album “Good Mornin’ Blues” (Columbia 33SX 1657)(1965)*rare gem
22 SWEETEST LITTLE BABY*from album “Good Mornin’ Blues” (Columbia 33SX 1657)(1965)*rare gem

This is a good collection of Chris Barber’s singles, including his biggest hit, “Petite Fleur” plus most tracks from rare album “Good Mornin’ Blues” with Ottilie Patterson. As noted above, there are many rare gems, some making their CD debut even in 2017. The sound is very well remastered from original master tapes.

Pudge said...

As always, great music and notes. Thank you for your hard work.