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It is with extreme sadness that I announce that John Griffith died on 4th January at 4.30am. He had battled bravely and was cheerful throughout the traumas of a recurring brain tumour. John and I worked very closely together on many, many albums that he produced for Upbeat Jazz over the last 23 years. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of both classical and jazz music and was such an enthusiastic and lovely man. His sense of humour was quite unique – calling my office a dogstacle course as I have two dogs…..only John could have coined that phrase. John will be sorely missed. Indeed, I miss him already!

Welcome to the Upbeat Recordings website - home of the very best music recordings. UPBEAT JAZZ keeps on releasing great CDs so make sure you keep updated throughout the year. You will see that our Mail Order Shop has now moved to a dedicated site, so if you are looking to purchase from our catalogue, please enter via Upbeat Mailorder (the third button on the Home Page)..

URDVD267 KEN COLYER - Rare Footage from the Vaults While the visual aspect of this release is far from perfect, the sound is great and this is the only live footage of Ken on DVD.

URCD265 COLYER FROM THE ARCHIVES featuring Sammy Rimington with Ken Colyer's All Stars Previously unreleased live riverboat session from 1973 sees Ken in fine form! 72 glorious minutes.

URCD268D TJ JOHNSON IN RETROSPECT Double CD with 30 tracks celebrating TJ's 30 years in the business.

URCD266 THE RISE OF THE CROONER 1945-1975 - The London Swing Orchestra The fourth and final release in this history of 20th century jazz from the London Swing Orchestra.

URCD256 YOUNG SATCHMO - Birth of a Jazz GeniusThis unique compilation of early Armstrong features classic tracks with Bessie Smith,Fletcher Henderson, King Oliver,Clarence Williams and Sidney Bechet. CRITIC'S TOP 10 CHOICE 2014 Jazz Journal International

URCD263 THE BIRTH OF SWING 1935-1945 The London Swing Orchestra - volume 3 in their complete history of 20th Century popular music.

URCD262D KID ORY - STORYVILLE NIGHTS plus Kid Ory plays WC Handy and Dixieland Marching Songs. These are his last recordings....

URCD259 KID ORY and his ORCHESTRA - THE ORIGINAL JAZZ Recordings from 1957 of the classic Ory line-up, plus the final 2 tracks from Dance with Kid Ory or Just Listen and two more tracks from Kid Ory in Europe.

URCD255 THE ELEGANT THIRTIES Graham Dalby and The London Swing Orchestra in the second volume of their History of Jazz series, this time with a portrait of the music of the 30s.

URCD257 KEN COLYER'S JAZZMEN - LIVE REDISCOVERED TREASURES FROM THE CLASSIC YEARS - This new CD contains over an hour of previously unheard, digitally remastered tracks from what was considered to be Colyer’s ‘classic’ line-up from the late 50s playing standards, blues, spirituals and rags in their relaxed and inspired way!

TJ JOHNSON in RETROSPECT - A Celebration of 30 Years in Jazz and Blues - Double CD

TJ JOHNSON in RETROSPECT - A Celebration of 30 Years in Jazz and Blues - Double CD

CD Number: URCD268D

This is a wonderful double album of 30 tracks lasting just over two hours. As the title suggests, it is a celebration of 30 years of TJ Johnson’s life playing jazz and blues TJ Johnson is a very active solo musician as well as band leader playing all over London on a weekly basis. He also runs his own band which plays regularly at jazz festivals throughout the UK.

KEN COLYER ON VIDEO - Rare Footage From the Vaults

KEN COLYER ON VIDEO - Rare Footage From the Vaults

CD Number: URDVD267

Respected broadcaster and trombonist in the band,Mike Pointon writes: 'By 1986,when this session took place, Ken was no longer leading a regular band and was suffering from ill-health,but his subtly dynamic performance reveals him to still be on authoritative form. He'd recently been re-united with Ray Foxley after Ray had left the Jazzmen in 1960 and by this time Ken and Colin Bowden worked together again after Colin had been recruited for the re-born Crane River Jazz Band.Both had been in Ken's classic late 50s line-up.John Griffith (to become a key producer for Upbeat) was a pupil of John Bastable, Ken's fine tenor banjoist, and Alyn Shipton, now a distinguished broadcaster and author/editor of jazz books, still is an accomplished bassist. George Berry had worked with Griffith in Kid Chapman's Olympia Band in the 60s. I was pleased to be an occasional member of Ken's line-up at the time after depping with the Jazzmen 25 years earlier.'
This monochrome DVD is compiled from rare footage of one of the few occasions Ken Colyer was filmed over the years. It was shot as an amateur video and therefore the sound and lighting quality are not of professional standard.But despite the graininess and variable focus in cinema verité style,its intrinsic historical significance documenting one of Europe's most revered and influential jazz figures makes it valuable for all those who appreciate Colyer's important contribution to the music he loved.

The Rise of the Crooner - The London Swing Orchestra featuring Graham Dalby

The Rise of the Crooner - The London Swing Orchestra featuring Graham Dalby

CD Number: URCD266

In The Shops 18th September. Available from Upbeat Mailorder NOW!
The fourth and final chapter in the London Swing Orchestra’s comprehensive anthology of Jazz and Swing charts the rise of the crooner. Although crooners such as Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra had toured with band leaders in the thirties, it wasn’t until post 1945 that the vocalist totally eclipsed the band leader to become superstars.
From 1945 there was a distinct decline in Big Bands that had held popular music in sway in America: so many players were overseas involved in various conflicts of World War II it was difficult to keep the large eighteen-piece bands together. The difficult economic climate also made it easier for bands to survive as five-piece jump-jive combos that were a forerunner to rock and roll groups. Two such artists are featured on this album – Louis Jordan Is You Is, or Is You Ain't My Baby (1945) and Louis Prima Just a Gigolo (1956).
Frank Sinatra 'Ol’ Blue Eyes' had his career promoted by his 1930’s success with Big Bands such as Goodman and the Dorseys and his collaboration with Nelson Riddle in the ‘50’s is well represented on this album with classics like I’ve Got You Under My Skin and Come Fly With Me. Bing Crosby has just one feature from his 1956 film High Society Now You Has Jazz as does Tony Bennett from 1954 I Left My Heart in San Francisco. Into the early 60’s the velvety voice of the pianist/crooner Nat King Cole followed Sinatra into the pop world with a string of hits including Let There Be Love 1961 and Let’s Face The Music and Dance 1963. Bobby Darrin’s brief career as a crooner is marked by two huge hits of 1959 Beyond the Sea and Mack the Knife. The album closes with the iconic title song from Scorsese’s film New York New York before a 'lights out' trumpet feature from 1965 by Nini Rosso brings the anthology to a close.

COLYER FROM THE ARCHIVES - Ken Colyer's All Stars featuring Sammy Rimington

COLYER FROM THE ARCHIVES - Ken Colyer's All Stars featuring Sammy Rimington

CD Number: URCD265

Available by mail order and digital download NOW! In the shops from 8th June.

This live Thames riverboat session dates from the early 70s - a time when traditional jazz was fighting for its existence. Ken Colyer's Studio 51 Club in Leicester Square had recently closed after 20 years as a mecca for lovers of New Orleans music. Ken had given up leading a regular band, but was offered a regular weekly slot at the 100 Club in Oxford street and the All Stars were born. The stars on this recording were Sammy Rimington, Mike Pointon, Bill Stotesbury, Annie Hawkins and Colin Bowden. 72 glorious minutes of previously unreleased material!

HOT STUFF! Early Jazz Revival

HOT STUFF! Early Jazz Revival

CD Number: URCD264

Released March 2015!
HOT STUFF! was originally recorded in 1992 and was the brainchild of Chez Chesterman. We are releasing this fantastic CD to celebrate the reforming of the band (sadly not with all the original members) in May 2015.
The band here features Dick Charlesworth clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophone, Mike Pointon trombone, Chez Chesterman cornet, Pat Hawes piano, Jim Forey banjo and guitar, John Rodber double bass and Rex Bennett drums.
There are 15 excellent tracks and over 60 minutes of joy including Red Beans and Rice, Hey Fat Mama andStomp Time Blues.

LOUIS ARMSTRONG - Young Satchmo - The Birth of A Jazz Genius

LOUIS ARMSTRONG - Young Satchmo - The Birth of A Jazz Genius

CD Number: URCD256

CRITICS TOP 10 CHOICE 2014 - Jazz Journal International
This unique compilation of early Armstrong features classic tracks with Bessie Smith,Fletcher Henderson, King Oliver,Clarence Williams and Sidney Bechet. It includes many of the ground-breaking tracks that, with the ambitious influence of his wife Lil, showed the young Armstrong changing the face of jazz.

JASS AT THE OHIO UNION - The Historic George Lewis 1954 Concert - Double CD

JASS AT THE OHIO UNION - The Historic George Lewis 1954 Concert - Double CD

CD Number: URCD244D

Available by mail order only NOW! Watch this space for news of shop release...
This historic concert has been treasured by George Lewis fans for many years, and now we here at Upbeat are proud to announce the first UK release of this landmark recording of the Lewis band at its exciting digitally remastered best! An essential double-album for all lovers of authentic New Orleans music.
By the mid-50s the band often performed on the college concert circuit for their developing fan base of young, mainly white, jazz enthusiasts for whom genuine New Orleans music was a revelation and we can feel the warm rapport they had with their new audience. That evening Nick Gagliano (the band’s manager) introduced them and to our surprise we learned that the concert was being recorded. The concert was a great success.
We’ve used the artwork and extracts from the original sleeve notes of the first release LP, but for the sake of accuracy have corrected some mis-titled tunes in our updated running order.
Personnel: George Lewis clarinet leader, Avery ‘Kid’ Howard trumpet, Jim Robinson trombone, Lawrence Marrero banjo, Alton Purnell piano vocals, Alcide ‘Slow-Drag’ Parvageau string bass, Joe Watkins drums vocals.

SING, SING, SING - Prime Louis Prima

SING, SING, SING - Prime Louis Prima

CD Number: URCD243

In all of jazz’s turbulent history there have been few instrumentalist / performers who personified showmanship more than Louis Prima. In a positive way he brought many essential elements of New Orleans music to a wider public long before the roots of the so-called ‘Revival’ ever took shape. This CD traces the evolution of his charismatic talent, covering the years 1933 –1955, and includes rare tracks that have not been heard for many years.

Louis' award winning composition Sing Sing Sing – the title track of this compilation - was placed into the Grammy Hall of Fame, while another track Buona Sera was featured during the closing ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics! In 2010 he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

To younger audiences, Louis Prima will forever be the voice of King Louis in the 1966 Disney classic animation The Jungle Book – and he received a gold disc for the million selling soundtrack recording.

KENNY BALL AT THE BBC 1957-1962 - THE AIRSHOTS

KENNY BALL AT THE BBC 1957-1962 - THE AIRSHOTS

CD Number: URCD157

These recordings comprise broadcasts mostly for BBC Jazz Club and run from 1957-1962. They include some tunes that had not appeared on studio commercial recordings. They complement the sessions from our series of BBC Jazz Club and our special issues of Colyer and Barber from the same time. The personnel are Kenny Ball trumpet and vocals, John Bennett trombone, Charlie Galbraith trombone, Dave Jones clarinet, John Potter banjo, Dick Bishop banjo and vocals, Diz Disley banjo and guitar, Paddy Lightfoot banjo, Pat Mason piano, Colin Bates piano, Ron Weatherburn, piano, Vic Pitt, bass, Jack Fallon bass, Ron Bowden drums and John Welling drums (in varying combinations listed inside!)

Cliff 'Ukulele Ike' Edwards - I Did It With My Little Ukulele

Cliff 'Ukulele Ike' Edwards - I Did It With My Little Ukulele

CD Number: URCD254

Re-engineered version now in the shops and available by Mail Order!

This CD celebrates the unique talent of Cliff 'Ukulele Ike' Edwards, pioneer of an instrument once again in fashion, the ukulele, and one of the first true crooners. ‘Ukulele Ike’, as Edwards became known, was an entertainer whose inimitable style exuded a quality rare in today’s jaundiced world: charm. Edwards was a prolific recording artist in the 20s and 30s - by some accounts selling around three-quarters of a million 78s - and his vaudeville background made him an ideal performer for the early ‘talkies’. He appeared in over 100 'talkies', but today he is perhaps best remembered for his wistful vocalising of When You Wish Upon A Star as Jiminy Cricket in Walt Disney’s classic Pinocchio from 1940. This collection admirably showcases his innovative talent, his scat singing underlining his jazz credentials alongside the distinctive interpretations of his movie songs, and of course the sound of the uke. He sold in excess of three quarters of a million 78s, including the title track of this CD 'I Did It With My Little Ukulele'.
Cliff Edwards was inducted into the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum in 2000 and the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002.

THE MAGIC OF A THOUSAND STRINGS - FARYL SMITH with The International Harp Ensemble

THE MAGIC OF A THOUSAND STRINGS - FARYL SMITH with The International Harp Ensemble

CD Number: URCD250S

THE INTERNATIONAL HARP ENSEMBLE is unique in the Europe and was originally formed to provide professional training and introduce the full range of the harp to the general public. However its sound has resonated around concert halls across Europe and has left audiences clamouring for more ! Founded by award-winning solo harpist Luisa-Maria Cordell in 2002, The International Harp Ensemble is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and now numbers 33 harpists of all ages, all of whom are dedicated to bringing ‘the magic of a thousand strings’ to a wider general public. The sound of one harp is beautiful, but together the Ensemble has a depth and excitement that is truly amazing. The Ensemble’s unique style and rich repertoire are perfectly showcased on this CD – The Magic of a Thousand Strings – which is also the title of their current touring show.
The Harps are joined on both this CD and the touring show by special guest singer FARYL SMITH. Her youth and vocal timbre are the perfect complement to the Orchestra’s young talent and haunting sound. Faryl was a finalist in the 2009 Britain's Got Talent and her debut album was the fastest selling debut album EVER! It was nominated for a Classical Brit Award in the Best Album category, and Faryl herself was nominated as Best Young Performer. Now 16, Faryl is singing better than ever, and her haunting tone is wonderfully enhanced by the Harp Ensemble. This is truly a matching made in Heaven!

For a short snippet of the CD and the artists in rehearsal, click on the YouTube button in the left hand column below and follow the link.....

BARBER,  BALL and BILK AT THE BBC - Re-issue

BARBER, BALL and BILK AT THE BBC - Re-issue

CD Number: URCD230

The three Bs all together on one album - recorded by the BBC at their famous JAZZ BAND BALL sessions. Re-issued and re-packaged by popular demand. (Formerly URCD166). Full personnel details listed inside.

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