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