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Classical Jazz 2005: Home

Sing Hallelujah, I'm Walkin' With The King

The highly successful, foot tapping, hand-clapping concert of Spirituals, Hymns, and Gospel Music, New Orleans Style

.In 1994 I put a handpicked band together to record a CD of Spirituals. "Walkin' With The King" featured Ken Sims, cornet, Barry Palser, trombone, Dave Bailey , clarinet, Louis Lince, banjo and Tim Phillips, bass, we got the session down in just a few hours. We recorded in the village hall in Great Hallingbury, Essex, and using only two microphones, direct to digital stereo, we captured the authentic echoey New Orleans sound of the 1940's.

George Buck of Jazzology Records, New Orleans, heard the CD and bought the American rights Subsequent dates have been played all over the UK. John started producing a series of concerts in Churches in 1995 - the first being at St. Peter's Church in Wisbech. This featured two distinguished guests - the late Lady Linda Young and Tuba Fats Lacen from New Orleans.

In November 1997 a second album of hymns and Spirituals, "Its Me O Lord", was recorded in Our Lady & St. Charles RC Church, Wisbech. The band was augmented by pianist Mike Kemp and vocalist, Stella Goodey. For this album a variety of material was selected, including two catholic hymns, "Hail Glorious St. Patrick" and "Bring Flowers of the Rarest", as well as New Orleans styled versions of "Abide with Me" & "The Lord's My Shepherd".

Bringing "Walkin' With The King" into churches has a two fold benefit. They encourage church goers, who are not necessarily Jazz fans, to go to a Jazz concert and jazz fans, not noted for being particularly religious, to attend, what is after all, a service of praise.

Review of Walkin' With The King Concert
26th April 1997

Saturday 26 April 1997 saw the welcome return of John Petters New Orleans Allstars. The line up was entirely different from last year, with the exception of Louis Lince (Banjo & guitar).

The members of the band were more familiar with each other, which produced a much 'tighter' sound. I was particularly impressed with the inclusion of a Sousaphone, which resulted in a much more authentic recreation of the New Orleans marching band sound. In the early part of the century, the Sousaphone was always used to provide the bass line, the string bass not being introduced until the advent of recorded jazz. It presents some difficulty marching with a double bass; if you doubt this, watch Woody Allen in "Take The Money And Run".

All the musicians were very accomplished, but for me the limelight was stolen by Dave Bailey on clarinet and Alto Saxophone. I can honestly say, that in thirty seven years of listening to Jazz, it is the first time I have heard a trio played with Sousaphone, Banjo and Clarinet.

The programme was much the same as last year, but the difference in style was most apparent. Ken Sims attacked his cornet to great effect, which perfectly complemented the very smooth sound of Len Baldwin on trombone, all the while Dave Bailey weaving a delicate melody between the two of them. Clive Payne (Sousaphone) displayed a deftness of touch not normally associated with the giant brass instruments, and Louis Lince once again gave a faultless performance on the banjo. John Petters showed us exactly why he is where he is with a ten minute show piece of drumming technique and virtuosity.

If they return again, make sure you don't miss them.

Mike Nash

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