Other Places: Chinatown/Sax No End

On his web site, Old And New Swingin’ Dreams, Bruno Leicht gathers together four versions of “Chinatown, My Chinatown” and its latterday nom de déguisement “Sax No End.” The clips run from Fletcher Henderson in 1930 to the Lockjaw Davis.jpgClarke-Boland band in 1967, the Oscar Peterson Trio a year later and, finally, an undated video performance by Clarke-Boland. Along the way, we hear solos by, among others, Rex Stewart, Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Johnny Griffin, Sahib Shihab, Ronnie Scott and the shamefully ignored alto saxophonist Derek Humble. The assemblage of these audio and video clips is a good idea well executed. I wish I’d thought of it. The public service aspect of Leicht’s idea is the reminder to jazz players of all generations that this is a great set of changes to blow on — if that’s not too old fashioned a concept.
Go here
to take the ride.
Nor should we overlook Louis Armstrong’s big band version from 1931, notable for his spoken nonsense, the glory of his long-lined trumpet solo when he finally gets around to it, the way he swings the band, and his splendid high D-flat at the end. To hear it, click here.

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