A highly accomplished trombonist from Guadeloupe par Blues & Rhythm

"Back around the time that this set was originally recorded, Paris was the jazz capital of Europe, attracting many Americans, some of whom settled there – but this CD shows that there was no lack of talent from elsewhere to be found in the French capital. The Brasserie De La Cigale was a prestigious club (though a flyer reproduced in the excellent and detailed booklet states, “We are a ‘café’, not a ‘night club’”) featuring musicians on long residencies and despite being a studio recording, this CD apparently captures the sound and ambience very well. I can certainly believe it. Al Lirvat, who died last year aged 91, was a highly accomplished trombonist from Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, equally at home with biguine as with jazz, though the focus of this set is firmly on the latter. His band comprises fellow Guadeloupeans Childebert Mourinet on alto sax and pianist Pierre Jean-Louis, bassist René James from Madagascar, and Trinidadian brothers Harold (drums) and Georgie Smith (vocals) – oh, and on tenor and soprano saxes and clarinet, Benny Waters.
Brighton, Maryland born Benny Waters had settled in France by the time of this session but he had taught future Duke Ellington baritone saxist Harry Carney, worked with Charlie Johnson’s and Fletcher Henderson’s bands and played on numerous recording sessions prior to World War II; post-war he had toured and recorded for a couple of years with Roy Milton and that influence certainly surfaces on a couple of items on this excellent blowing session. Most obvious of course is ‘Blues In The Groove’, a fine riffing instrumental, though the swinging Lirvat composition ‘No Work Today’ also finds Waters essaying R’n’B licks on his tenor sax. ‘Swinging’ does in fact nicely describe much of this album. There are also a couple of languid ballads, an excellent soprano sax feature for Waters on the opening ‘Summertime’, and Georgie Smith comes across sub-Louis Armstrong with his singing on ‘Yes! The Cigal Sings Again’; he also sings on ‘Saints’, really just an excuse for everyone to take a chorus or two.
This music was originally issued by the largely classical label Urania Records, and it seems most records were sold in the club itself. The sound quality is excellent, and any student of jazz in Europe – or lover of Benny Waters’ music - is recommended to pick up a copy."