Wallace Davenport and His All Star New Orleans Band

Liner Notes

Wallace Davenport - trumpet; Orange Kellin - clarinet; Lucien Barbarin - trombone; Edward Franck - piano; Lloyd Lambert - bass; June Gardner - drums

A stalwart on the New Orleans jazz scene since the early 1940s, trumpeter Wallace Davenport brought a crew of Crescent City notables to Nice, France, for this lively performance at the 1977 Grande Parade du Jazz. They come out of the gate crackling with energy on the trad jazz number "Original Dixieland One Step," a tune that dates back to 1917, when it was recorded by the Original Dixieland 'Jass' Band (a New Orleans band of white musicians which billed itself as the "Creators of Jazz"). Clarinetist Orange Kellin is prominently featured here with a lengthy, vibrant solo, followed by trombonist Lucien Barbarin who adds some heat of his own inspired solo. Davenport is showcased with some dazzling Louis Armstrong-style high note trumpet work on this exuberant opener. Downshifting to a funeral "Tin Roof Blues," a 1923 composition by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, clarinetist Kellin is again featured blowing with soulful verve. Davenport's trumpet solo here is lowdown and imbued with a deep blue feeling, bringing an air of authenticity to the proceedings. A favorite of impresario George Wein, Davenport would also make appearances at the Newport Jazz Festival in New York through the '70s and '80s.

Born on June 30, 1925, in New Orleans, Davenport got his first trumpet at age seven and by age 13 was playing in the Young Tuxedo Brass Band. He joined Papa Celstin's band in 1941. Following a four-year stint in the Navy, he returned to New Orleans and began working in the band of blues shouter Roy Brown in 1947. He joined Lionel Hampton's Orchestra in 1953 and toured Europe and the United States with that popular big band through the '50s. He subsequently had and a brief stint in Ray Charles' group during the early '60s followed by a four-year tenure in Count Basie's band (he appears on the 1964 Count Basie-Frank Sinatra album, It Might As Well Be Swing, as well as on such lesser offerings as 1966's Basie Meets Bond and Basie's Beatle Bag). He was reunited with Hampton's big band at the 1967 Newport Jazz Festival n the late '60s

Davenport returned to traditional jazz in the '70s and began touring Europe with an aggregation of New Orleans all-stars. He continued performing through the '80s and '90s and was a favorite at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the French Quarter Festival. Davenport died on March 18, 2004, at age 78. (Bill Milkowski)