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George Chisholm: The Gentleman of Jazz - A Centenary Tribute



One month after saluting the artistry of Wilbur De Paris (Hot Mustard, RTS 4259), Retrospective presents another superb jazz release, this time celebrating the centenary of another great jazz trombonist – Britain’s finest ever – George Chisholm (1914-1997), the “Gentleman of Jazz”. Many remember him primarily as a TV entertainer on such as The Black & White Minstrel Show, yet Europe has produced few jazz masters to rival him. Disc one (1937-1944) of our 2CD survey presents George from his very first studio session as a trombonist (with Gerry Moore in 1937), through his notable early dates with such as Benny Carter, Coleman Hawkins, Fats Waller, and Danny Polo’s Swing Stars. Alongside his own 1938 Jive Five and 1944 Jive Eight recordings are some of the best from the many years he spent with the famous RAF band, The Squadronaires, plus a trio of surprisingly hot examples of Victor Silvester’s Jive Band. Disc two (1947-1962) shows how his style shifted in the 50s towards mainstream jazz, with eight fine numbers from his own 1956 group, as well as examples of his playing with Kenny Baker, Kenny Graham and others. But he never forsook ‘Trad’, and the disc also contains some delightful tracks with singers Denny Dennis, Michael Holliday and Clinton Ford. Throughout his life, George Chisholm brought happiness wherever he went; happily we can still enjoy it.

George Chisholm: The Gentleman of Jazz - A Centenary Tribute


George Chisholm was not only England’s top jazz trombonist for decades but one of its top musicians. When Benny Carter or Coleman Hawkins toured Europe in 1937 (when Chisholm was 22), they asked for the trombonist. He was equally comfortable in swing and Dixieland settings, with big bands and combos. Chisholm also hinted at bop in the 40s, sounded at home in mainstream settings in the 1950s and was a household name due to his work on television in the 1960s. Inspired by Jack Teagarden, he developed his own sound on the trombone and deserves Retrospective’s tribute. His two-CD set, which dates from 1937-62, has Chisholm playing with Carter, Hawkins, clarinetist Danny Polo, guitarist Vic Lewis, Fats Waller (“The Flat Foot Floogie”), the Squadronaires, the great trumpeter Kenny Baker, various combos and his own groups. Listeners not familiar with George Chisholm should go out of their way to pick up this highly recommended two-fer, which shows Americans that there was more to European jazz in the 1930s than Django Reinhardt. Scott Yanow, Los Angeles Jazz Scene