[Dixielandjazz] Charlie Shavers

ROBERT R. CALDER serapion at btinternet.com
Sat Oct 13 08:51:37 EDT 2018

I underestimate Charlie Shavers at my peril?Dear Steve Voce, I don't !!!  I don't underestimate Charlie Shavers, ever!  I mentioned his session with strings for comparison with the wondrous dissonance and contrast between the strings and Wild Bill. I bow to nobody in my loving admiration of Charlie, not least that "Last Session" with Andre Persiany, Budd Johnson, and not to be confused with much the same programme recorded live and issued on another LP. 

My late friend Angus Calder, no relation and a prodigious historian, thought Charlie Shavers almost in the same class as Red Allen (Angus could also venture the same opinion of Louis Armstrong, Henry Allen was his hero) and one time moped that Charlie and Duke Ellington had not worked together. Angus had ascended to where the angels listen to Charlie by the time I received for review the Tommy Dorsey boxed set on which there is even some startling stuff, ensemble-enhancement, by Charlie on a title where the vocalist was one E. Presley. 
There is also a "Take the 'A' Train", which does have some interesting passages of arrangement, quite possibly misplaced Ellington, and very nice when the suddenly saddened innocent has been waiting for Charlie to come in where Ray Nance had done. Suddenly the strish of swings or the swish of strings ...  Eventually in comes Charlie, the opening chorus, and -- dammit rather than preceding a solo development it's just a structural rounding-off, THE END ...  or rather the disappointing conclusion. 
As the curate said to the bishop about his egg, "good, my Lord, in parts"...  I would not have wanted Angus to be disappointed by it, but I wish he had hung around longer, as indeed I wish Charlie had lasted longer, and we can be grateful to Frank Sinatra Jr. for having invited Charlie to come along with him on the trip to Europe and the lovely work with Jay McShann, and with Ben Webster (YouTube) in Copenhagen.And thanks to Steve for more on Wild William. "Christ!" said WB, swigging from a bottle, "when I think of all the stuff I've drunk, during prohibition, how am I still here?" And then there was the tale of how he planned to let his hair grow and learn "banjolele" and no longer able to blow become the oldest hillbilly singer in the West. Hillbilly Davison!

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