The British born clarinetist, Sammy Rimington, entered the traditional jazz scene in the late 1950s with the U.K. bands of Barry Martyn and Ken Colyer. My first encounter with Rimington occurred in 1967 when I picked up a record produced by Johnson "Fat Cat" McCree. It was the first of a great series issued under the label "Fat Cat's Jazz Records" recorded in Manassas, Virginia. Sammy was paired with fellow clarinetist Tommy Gwaltney in a small group led by the late drummer Zutty Singleton (1898-1975). It was a hell of a memorable session and is on the turntable as I write.
Rimington was strongly influenced by New Orleans' own George Lewis and Cap'n John Handy. The Lewis style stayed with Sammy and has not diminished in any way. The session on this new CD is an attempt by Bill Bissonnette to recreate his own band called the Mouldy Five of the 1960s. Three original members are featured today in the persons of Sammy, Big Bill and Bill Sinclair. "Reed My Lips" takes the listener through 74 minutes of New Orleans Jazz. There are no tired versions of "Saints", "Muskrat Ramble" nor other overdone tunes in this session. Instead, the set includes 18 tunes which may surprise many but will not be considered "out of place" by the seasoned fan of classic jazz. There is not sufficient space to list all the songs here. Let it suffice to say that it includes Magic Is the Moonlight, Roses of Picardy, Should I?, Red Sails In The Sunset and even Bing Crosby's theme, "Where The Blue Of The Night Meets The Gold Of The Day. "But isn't that a waltz", you say. Certainly it is and the New Orleans bands played many waltzes without sacrificing any jazz content.
Sammy Rimington plays beautifully on this record. Bill Sinclair is a laid back pianist, and the rhythm section is equally relaxed. This is a "fun session" and leaves the listener totally satisfied.