Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December 14

"Frosty the Snowman"
performed by Lars Edegran
& His Santa Claus Revelers
with Big Al Carson

This selection is for my dear old dad, who, while he may not necessarily approve of the song, will definitely enjoy the traditional jazz style in which it is played. When my brother, sister and I were very little, my father would put on a record for us to "dance" to after dinner every night, thus enabling our parents a little p&q in the kitchen while they did the dishes. We three monstrous children would proceed to bounce off of the walls in the living room, which was permitted, only because it would hopefully tire us out before the bedtime routine began.

I have very fond memories of many of the musical selections my father chose for us each night. It was he who introduced us to the entire canon of The Beatles-- and I am proud to say that I remember the words of every song by heart, with alarming accuracy. We also listened to a wonderful Spanish album, entitled "El Bandito", which was eventually banned, because of the damage the household incurred as we galloped around like wild masked desperadoes. The majority of music that we played was a reflection of our family's roots, however, and was mainly "English": Percy Grainger's "Country Gardens" became our absolute favourite, and not just because, as we were repeatedly told, it reminded my dad of his own father.

The album that sprang into my mind when I heard today's piece of music for the first time was "The Best of Barber and Bilk": a wonderful, "rag-time"-type jazz compilation. Both Barber and Bilk are Englishmen, but perfected the traditional "American" style, and perform with considerable aplomb. "Acker" Bilk became almost as well known for his attire as he did for his breathy, rich, low-register clarinet style: he sported a bowler hat, a striped vest, and his trademark goatee for every performance. Chris Barber is a stellar jazz trombonist, double bass player, and band leader. Both men continue to perform today... indeed, at the age of 80, Chris Barber will be releasing his newest album, "Memories of My Trip" (a double CD!) in 2011. Can't wait!

Yep, this one's for dad-- a little "payback" for my happy memories... and the memories his granddaughters will have of the fun they had last weekend, when they built spectacular snowmen (and snow cats) on the front lawn in Stratford, together.

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