- Released: March 16, 2004
- Label: Delmark
- 1.High Society
- 2.Down By The Riverside
- 3.Gettysburg March
- 4.Ice Cream
- 5.Panama Rag
- 6.Careless Love
- 7.Red Wing
- 8.Just A Little While To Stay Here
- 9.My Old Kentucky Home
- 10.When The Saint's Go Marching In
Personnel includes: George Lewis (clarinet); Kid Howard (trumpet); Jim Robinson (trombone); Alton Purnell (piano); Alcide Pavgeau (bass); Joe Watkins (drums).
Recorded at NBC Studios, San Francisco, California on June 18, 1953. Includes liner notes by Wayne Jones.
Personnel: George Lewis (clarinet); Kid Howard (vocals, trumpet); Joe Watkins (vocals, drums); Laurence Marrero (banjo); Jim Robinson (trombone); Alton Purnell (piano).
Liner Note Author: Wayne Jones.
Recording information: NBC, San Francisco, CA (06/18/1953).
The Dixieland revival players of the '40s and '50s were to that time what the neo-Classicist hard bop and post-bop Young Lions were to the '80s and '90s: retro improvisers whose work was a throwback to an earlier style of jazz. There were some bop and cool jazz enthusiasts who, in the '50s, felt that Dixieland had outlived its usefulness, just as some fusion enthusiasts of the '70s felt that bop had outlived in its usefulness. But truth be told, no jazz style really outlives its usefulness -- it might cease to be cutting-edge, but it continues to have its place as long as it's well done. And during the Dixieland revival movement, clarinetist George Lewis was an expert in his field. What Lewis (not to be confused with the avant-garde trombonist with the same name) lacked in innovation he more than made up for with enthusiasm and passion, neither of which are in short supply on Ice Cream. Recorded in 1953, this release finds Lewis leading a cohesive septet that also includes trumpeter Kid Howard, trombonist Jim Robinson, pianist Alton Purnell, banjoist Laurence Marrero, bassist Alcide "Slow Drag" Pavageau, and drummer Joe Watkins. The CD isn't perfect; Howard's trumpet playing is mildly inconsistent, and Watkins' vocals on four selections ("Down by the Riverside," "Careless Love," "Just a Little While to Stay Here," and the title track) demonstrate that he was a better musician than singer. But Lewis' inspired clarinet playing makes Ice Cream well worth the price of admission, and that is true whether his band is embracing "My Old Kentucky Home" or Cy Seymour's "Panama Rag." All things considered, Ice Cream paints a favorable, if imperfect, picture of Lewis' contributions to the Dixieland revival movement. ~ Alex Henderson