Ambrose (Big Band) Hors d'Oeuvres
- Released: February 10, 2009
- Originally Released: 2009
- Label: Dutton Vocalion Uk
- 1.Plain Jane
- 2.Early Morning
- 3.A Burmese Ballet
- 5.Deep Henderson
- 6.Message from Mars
- 8.Hick Stomp
- 9.Embassy Stomp
- 10.Memphis Blues
- 11.Champagne Cocktail
- 12.Fire Dance (Danse Rituelle du Feu)
- 14.The Night Ride
- 15.Wood and Ivory
- 16.Cotton Pickers' Congregation
- 18.Streamline Strut
- 19.Hors d'Oeuvres
- 23.Rose of Washington Square
- 24.Dance of the Potted Puppet
- 25.Swing Low, Sweet Clarinet
Personnel: Carl Barriteau (clarinet).
Audio Remasterer: Michael J. Dutton.
Bert Ambrose led one of the finest British dance bands of the 1920s and '30s. CD reissues of his extensive discography began to appear in the late '90s, and the Dutton Laboratories have done more to preserve his legacy than any other label. While most Ambrose collections are packed with period pop vocals, Hors d'Oeuvres is an almost entirely instrumental album. This is a very important development! The time line extends from January 1935 through the period immediately following the Second World War. The only vocal tracks are W.C. Handy's "Memphis Blues," with lyrics dutifully enunciated by the Rhythm Sisters, and "Swing Low, Sweet Clarinet," in which Reginald Kell's woodwind artistry is pitted against a carefully controlled choir. Ambrose's orchestra was a fabulous dance band with strong jazz overtones. Worthy examples of wordless delights are "Caravan," "Deep Henderson," "Message from Mars," "Copenhagen," and "Embassy Stomp," which was named after London's original Embassy Club in Bond Street. The swing element is strongly presented in this set, thanks largely to solid arrangements and skilled instrumentalists like reedman Danny Polo, trombonist Ted Heath, and trumpeter Kenny Baker, who pops up on "Dardanella" and "Rose of Washington Square." Shortly after these two sides were cut in 1945, Baker would become one of the great featured soloists with Ted Heath & His Music. The clarinetist on "Dance of the Potted Puppet" has been identified as Carl Barriteau, whereas Jack Simpson plays xylophone on the title track and "Wood and Ivory." This is an outstanding Ambrose collection, and with all due respect to everyone who ever sang with the band, one can only hope for further collections focusing upon its instrumental output. ~ arwulf arwulf
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