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Gin Bottle Jazz: CARL HALEN

RLP-117 118 A
RLP-201R front.jpg
Gin Bottle Jazz: CARL HALEN
RLP-117 118 A.jpg
RLP-117 118 B.jpg

The Gin Bottle Seven: Carl Halen (tp) (on Side 1) and (cnt) (Side 2) George Stell (tb) Martin Lollstedt (cl) Fred Gary (p) Jan Carroll (bj) Johnnie Pollock (tu) Tom Hyer (drs) (vocals on Aggravalin’ Mama and Pallet on the Floor by Jan Carroll, on Nagasaki by Carrolland Carl Halen)   Dayton, Ohio; July 3 (Side 1) and November 6 (Side 2), 1954


1. Four or Five Times (2:10) (Hellmaan – Gay)

2. Aggravatin' Mama (5:13) (Turk – Robinson – Britt)

3. Shake That Thing (3:16) (Charlie Jackson)

4. Nagasaki (3:00) (Dixon – Warren)

5. Angry (3:22) (Brunies – Yules)

6. Apex Blues (4:02) (Jimmy Noone)


1. Eccentric Rag (3:02) (J. Russell Robinson)

2. Wolverine Blues (4:05) (Spikes – Morton)

3. Pallet on the Floor (4:22) (traditional)

4. Dallas Blues (2:46) (Wand – Garrett)

5. Oh, Baby (3:30) (DaSuylva – Donaldson)

6. Milneberg Joys (3:09) (Rappolo – Mares – Morton)

   (The first four selections on each side have previously been issued on a ten-inch LP on the Emperical label. The remaining numbers are previously unreleased,)

   The Straws jauntily planted in the bottle on the cover of this album should be the tip-off that prevents anyone from drawing excessively alcoholic conclusions from the title. The "Gin Bottle" label that CARL HALEN's exuberant young group of Dixielanders attached to themselves does, however, amount to more than just a catchy name. The general idea is that this is free easy, uninhibited jazz music that has strongly traditional roots but does not settle for mere slavish imitation of early jazz forms. Music, in short, that happens to be Dixieland in style and happy in nature.

   Halen, the guiding spirit of the group, first came to the attention of Dixieland fans as a leading member of Gene Mayl's Dixieland Rhythm Kings, a youthful band that came out of Ohio to make quite a name for itself in the East in the early 1950s. Carl left the "D.R.K." for a stint in the Army, and then returned to his home state, where he organized the Gin Bottle Seven in 1953.

   With Cincinnati as its home base, the band developed a substantial local reputation in that city and outlying districts, and in the area around Dayton, Ohio. But their music has very little to do with any specific geographical location. Nor, actually, can it be described accurately by noting that two other of its members banjoist Jan Carroll and drummer Tom Hyers are also "D.R.K." alumni. The Gin Bottle Seven's approach to the recreation of traditional jazz is something quite its own. For one thing, they strive for the maximum amount of musical buoyancy: for a band with a banjo tuba rhythm section, they achieve a rather amazing degree of lightness. For another, they have chosen to draw upon a very wide range of early jazz for their inspiration. Whereas, for example, Lu Watters' celebrated Yerba Buena Band of the 1940s (the very first of the latter day groups to chose to play within the traditional jazz pattern) turned quite specifically to the music of the King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton bands, these young men seems to have considered just about anything that has gone before as potential grist for their mill.

   The repertoire they play here suggests this diversity. There are two of Jelly Roll's tunes; there are two very early blues (Dallas Blues is either the first or second blues ever published). There are jazz linked pop tunes of the '20s like Nagasaki and Four or Five Times; and numbers firmly associated with South Side Chicago (Shake That Thing and Apex Blues). The New Orleans Rhythm Kings recorded Eccentric; and Bix Biederbecke's Wolverines did a version of Oh, Baby.

   As such freedom of choice should suggest, this is lighthearted and unself-conscious jazz. Any lingering doubts on this subject can be dispelled by the free-wheeling vocal efforts of Carroll and Halen. It's good time music, without question; and as is so often the case, when it's fun to play, it is every bit as much fun to hear.

   Jazz in the Dixieland and traditional jazz idiom, recorded during the past decade, can be heard on several other outstanding 12-inch Riverside LPs, including –

DIXIELAND in HI-FI: Gene Mayl’s Dixieland Rhythm Kings (RLP12-210)

GEORGE LEWIS New Orleans Jazz Band and Quartet (RLP12-207)

Jazz at Vespers: GEORGE LEWIS and his Ragtime Band (RLP12-230)

JOE SULLIVAN: New Solos by an Old Master (RLP12-202)

Ragtime: TONY PARENTI’s Ragtime Band and Ragpickers Trio (RLP12-205)

WILD BILL DAVISON: Sweet and Hot (RLP12-211)

RALPH SUTTON: piano in the classic jazz tradition (RLP12-212)

San Francisco Style: LU WATTERS and BOB HELM; with Turk Murphy, Bob Scobey, Wally Rose, etc. (RLP12-213)

CONRAD JANIS: Dixieland Jam Session; with Bob Wilber (RLP12-215)


New Orleans Contrasts: PAUL BARBARIN and SHARKEY BONANO (RLP12-217)

   Riverside’s “Jazz Archives” series of 12-inch LPs offers reissues, reprocessed under the finest of modern engineering conditions, of great early-jazz performances by the giants whose work has inspired traditional minded young musicians like those to be heard in this album. These classic jazz originals include –


LOUIS ARMSTRONG: 1923 (King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band) (RLP12-122)

“N. O. R. K.” – New Orleans Rhythm Kings, with Jelly Roll Morton (RLP12-102)

Young FATS WALLER (RLP12-103)

JOHNNY DODDS: New Orleans Clarinet (RLP12-104)

MUGGSY SPANIER: Chicago Jazz (RLP12-107)

MA RAINEY: classic blues performances (RLP12-108)

The Amazing MR. WALLER: Fats Waller – Piano, organ, and voice (RLP12-109)

JELLY ROLL MORTON: Classic Solos (RLP12-111)

NEW ORLEANS REGENDS: Kid Ory, Bunk Johnson, Kid Rena (RLP12-119)

   Unique album sets in the “Jazz Archives” catalogue are:

COLEMAN HAWKINS: A documentary – the life and times of a great jazzman, newly recorded in his own words

(two 12-inch LPs: RLP12-117/18)

HISTORY OF CLASSIC JAZZ (60 complete selections; five 12-inch LPs, in deluxe album package. All the great

names of traditional jazz; plus 20,000 words essay by historian Charles Edward Smith) (SDP-11)


A HIGH FIDELITY Recording (Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve).

Issued by arrangement with David Jones and Empirical Records

Notes by Peter Drew

Cover by Paul Weller (photography) and Paul Bacon (design)


553 West 51st Street  New York 19, N.Y.

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