Percy France Sextet at the West End, 1980

UPDATE: The trumpeter on the photographs is not Ed “Tiger” Lewis, but probably Francis Williams (thanks, Peter Vacher)! So photos and music are not from the same session. This blog post has been entirely rewritten.

percy_france1

Percy France at the West End, N.Y.C., Spring 1980.
Photo by Otto Flückiger

As you may remember, in this post I suspected that Doc Cheatham might have been the trumpeter with the Percy France Sextet at the West End in NYC on May 23 and 24 1980 (France played in Cheatham’s group on May 21 and 22). I thought so because it looks like Phil Schaap who was doing the programmation at the West End employed a rather small circle of veterans.

But I found some  audio from either May 23 or 24. My friend the late Otto Flückiger taped enough music to fill two CDs of which I just found one. So on these two dates the Percy France Sextet consisted of France (ts), Ed “Tiger” Lewis (tp), Chris Flory (eg), John Ore (b), Samie “Sticks” Evans (dr). On some tracks they were joined by pianist Sonny Donaldson.

The CD I found carries the subtitle “Vol. 2” I am sure to find volume 1 one day. The band’s repertoire unfortunately is a little restricted, parts of the set list read like a tourist’s requests dream list.

– I’ll Remember April

– St. Thomas

– Tenderly

– Night Train

– Red Top

– C Jam Blues

– Honky Tonk

So they must have played “Satin Doll” in the first set right?

In fact there is no reason to be cynical. It’s not easy at all to get something fresh sounding out of those old horses after playing them each night for years. And these men succeed as recorded evidence shows.

So for your pleasure (sorry, sound quality is not really that good), here is the Percy France Sextet playing “Tenderly” at the West End, May 23 or 24, 1980.

 

[audio http://www.jazzdocumentation.ch/blog/tenderly.mp3]

 

I also found photos of another gig by a Percy France group at the West End, which also must be from spring 1980. Peter Vacher thinks the trumpeter is Francis Williams:

tiger_lewisProbably Francis Williams at the West End,
N.Y.C., spring 1980. Who is the drummer
visible on the right? Photo by Otto Flückiger

percy_france2Percy France at the West End, N.Y.C., Spring 1980.
Photo by Otto Flückiger

Then there is a nice a shot of the bassist. Is this John Ore?possibly_john_oreUnidentified bassist at the West End, N.Y.C., Spring 1980.
Photo by Otto Flückiger

… as well as a nice one of  prob. Francis Williams  and Percy France.

tiger_percyFrancis Williams (?) and Percy France
at the West End, N.Y.C.,
Spring 1980.
Photo by Otto Flückiger

 

Enjoy!

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5 Responses to “Percy France Sextet at the West End, 1980”

  1. Peter Vacher Says:

    Wonderful stuff but I think the trumpeter in Otto’s pictures is Francis Williams not Ed ‘Tiger’ Lewis. Just a thought..

    • Thanks, Peter!

      Comparing with the Tiger Lewis photos of April 1980, I think you are right. Tiger has grey sideburns and this man hasn’t. Since Otto knew Tiger Lewis I’d say he is on the CD because Otto’s CD cover says so. So these photos are probably from another gig at the West End? What about the bassist on that picture? Is he John Ore? And the drummer visible in the background of the 2nd photo. Is that Sticks Evans? Questions, questions …

  2. Guenter George Schmid Says:

    I saw this band at that time together with Otto.

  3. I was with Otti at the Westend Café and got to know Percy who also came to dinner at our apartment. I believe it was in 1979 and Otti also introduced me to the trumpeter named Ed Lewis, not the Basie Ed Lewis.
    Otti was then interested in, as he called them “in between men” i.e. between Swing and Bebop.

    Guenter (Guenti) Schmid

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