Archive for the Percy France Category

Percy France Sextet at the West End, 1980

Posted in Bo Diddley, documents, Ed "Tiger" Lewis, Percy France, West End with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2014 by crownpropeller

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!

Doc Cheatham and Percy France at the West End (1980)

Posted in Doc Cheatham, documents, jazz, Percy France, West End with tags , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2014 by crownpropeller

cheatham_blow

(Click to enlarge): Doc Cheatham at the West End, N.Y.C., May 1980.
Photo by Otto Flückiger

In the early 1980s in New York the place to be when you were in the mood to listen to some legendary swing and bop veterans was the West End on Broadway near Columbia, where Phil Schaap was curating the program.

During his 1980 trip to the USA my friend the late jazz researcher Otto Flückiger went to the West End to see the band led by Doc Cheatham (1905–1997), who had been Cab Calloway’s lead trumpeter from 1932 to 1939. In the early 1980s Cheatham was said to play better then ever before, because he had started practicing again, in the process ridding his playing of any cliches that had crept into his work through the years.

As always Otto made some photos and recorded a little music at the West End.

cd_inlet

Inlet for the CD onto which Otto copied his original tape. Unfortunately the original photograph does not seem to exist anymore.

I have not yet found Otto’s original tapes, but I found a CD onto which Otto had edited the concert down. Since all the announcements have been edited out, I can not tell which of the tracks was recorded on May 21 and which on May 22.

The tenor player with Doc Cheatham was the totally underrated Percy France. Interestingly, France is announced with his own group at the West End for May 23 and 24! Was Cheatham France’s trumpeter then?

percy_france

(Click to enlarge): Percy France at the West End, N.Y.C., May 1980.
Photo by Otto Flückiger

Otto got to know Percy France a little (I do not know if they first met at this concert). France had been playing with Bill Doggett in the early 1950s. He told  Otto that the band had already played Doggett’s “Honky Tonk” while he was there. But since it looked like this band will never have the success it deserved, France left. Half a year later “Honky Tonk” became one of the biggest R’n’B instrumentals ever!

Back to the West End in 1980, here is Doc Cheatham’s band playing “Indiana”:

Unfortunately audio quality is not that good, especially the pianist is hardly to be heard. Maybe he was not to be seen either? At least Otto has no photograph of him and added a “probably” to Sonny Donaldson’s name. Maybe the pianist’s name was announced and Otto was not sure if he heard it right?

If we take the “probably” on the cover as pertaining to the pianist only, then this must be a photo of drummer Ronnie Cole at the West End:

cheathams_drummer

 (Click to enlarge): Ronnie Cole (or is he?) at the West End, N.Y.C., May 1980. Photo by Otto Flückiger

The bassist can be seen in the back of a photo that prominently shows Cheatham:

cheatham_to_the_sky

 (Click to enlarge): Peck Morrison (???) and Doc Cheatham at the West End, N.Y.C., May 1980. Photo by Otto Flückiger

 

Finally there are two photos showing a second trumpeter besides Doc Cheatham. There also glimpses of the drummer again.cheatham_and_2ndtp_wide

(Click to enlarge): Doc Cheatham and unidentified trumpeter at the West End, N.Y.C., May 1980. Photo by Otto Flückiger

Unfortunately I have no idea about the second trumpet man’s identity – and he can not be heard on the eight tracks saved by Otto. If you do have any suggestions, please let me know. 

cheatham_and_2ndtp

(Click to enlarge): Doc Cheatham and unidentified trumpeter at the West End, N.Y.C., May 1980. Photo by Otto Flückiger

Finally here are Doc Cheatham and Band playing “Rosetta”:

Enjoy!