Borneo, Blind Mice and Brits

by Nick Dellow

Here are a two Bix-related British recordings. First, "Three Blind Mice" by the Sioux City Seven from 1975, featuring Dick Sudhalter (cornet), George Elliott (guitar) and Harry Gold (bass sax):-

Next, "Borneo" by Spencer's Washboard Kings (recorded sometime in the 1960s) - featuring Carl Spencer (cornet), Brian Hills (clarinet/alto), Pete Kendall (trombone and vocals) and Don Weller (bass sax):-

Clarinet and sax man Brian Hills has a veritable collection of original Hot Fountain Pens and also makes his own!! I think he's also got an original Goofus. Brian sent me the above recording. Don Weller is far better known as a highly respected modern jazz (tenor sax) player, but I think he's pretty good on bass sax here. The side itself is certainly a bit rough and ready round its edges, but you've to admire the energy! And the vocal with a real Northern British accent! Usually these recreation bands want to go all Southern posh and RP frightfully spiffing, like what I am.

What tune does the coda of "Borneo" remind me of? It's been irritating me for years! Is it "Meadow Lark"?

While on the subject of bass sax players, there's some powerful playing by Colin Stetson on this version of Fess Williams' "Hot Town"…..OK, I agree that it takes far too long to get out of the engine siding (skip to about 1.10 if you get bored), but once it does it really builds up a nice head of steam:-

I'd like to hear Colin Stetson do some Rollini solos, or Rollini style solos. Whatever you think of his usual repertoire, this man is a phenomenal musician, especially on bass sax.

Posted on Nov 4, 2017, 12:07 PM

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