Tag Archives: Butch Miles

Birch Hall Concerts Live

Birch Hall Concerts Live

Available on iTunes, Amazon and Innercityjazz.com

This is a new 2 CD set release on the Classic Jazz Label.  In my career I have had several musical “foils” starting with Benny Goodman but Bob Wilber ranks at the top.  We were together 5 years after forming the Bechet Legacy and this band gave me a chance to really spread my wings on my Louis Armstrong roots.  The simpatico Bob and I had together was unequalled and this album documents the pinnacle of this band. Definitely worth owning for your collection available from Classic Jazz Records , iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby.

China Boy :


first Review “All About Jazz”  :
The Bechet Legacy: The Bechet Legacy – Birch Hall Concerts Live (2013)By
Published: May 1, 2013Every so often a jewel of a recording is unearthed, prompting the obligatory question: “Why not sooner?” This wonderfully energetic, swinging effort is a treasure of an example.“The Bechet Legacy,” with woodwind artist Bob Wilber and trumpeter Glenn Zottola up front, delivers significant homage toSidney Bechet and to the Golden Era of hot jazz. The double-CD set, recorded live in England over three decades ago, is a home run of Ruthian swing.Somewhat overshadowed by his contemporary, Louis Armstrong‘s own legacy, saxophonist and clarinetist Sidney Bechet played a pivotal role in the development of the art form both here in the U.S. and as a longer-term resident and performer in Europe. His is the robust saxophone root of the tree that would eventually sprout Johnny Hodges(a Bechet student), Coleman Hawkins, and Charlie Parker.

Delivering an array of Swing Era standards from Bechet’s and others’ pens, Wilber, (a protégé of Bechet’s) and Zottola soar through the selections with enormous vigor. There’s significant swing across the two session dates where the musical magnificence—and joy—never ceases.

Legacy leader, Wilber, of World’s Greatest Jazz Band fame, swings heavy on both soprano and clarinet. His improvised lines burst with chops, innovation and expression. He’s got a gorgeous sound on both axes and is no “vibrato cornball” on either. Partner Zottola, a scion of Zottola trumpet mouthpiece fame, has all of the Armstrong vocabulary in his wheelhouse. He’s got a vibrant sound, chops galore and swings at a level that would send other trumpeters to the woodshed. Like Pops, he uses the upper register shrewdly to fire up his solo forays. These are two stellar musicians performing with the ultimate respect for the tradition at hand.

The selections include tunes associated with Bechet, Armstrong, Ellington and others (“China Boy,” “Lady Be Good,” “Memories of You). Supported by a cooking rhythm section of pianist, Mark Shane, drummer Butch Miles, guitarist Mike Peters and bassist, Len Skeat (and a vocal by Mrs. Bob Wilber, Pug Horton), this legacy creates its own.

There’s a timeless element to this wonderful music. With so much of today’s jazz over-intellectualized and sterile, Wilber, Zottola and team deliver a vivid, swinging exposure to a timeless musical tradition in a romp.

Track Listing: CD-1: Oh, Lady Be Good; Down in Honky Tonk Town; Coal Cart Blues; Egyptian Fantasy; Lazy Blues; Summertime; The Mooche; Daydream; Si Tu Voi Ma Mare; Dans Le Rue D’Antibes; I Keep Calling Your Name; Sweet Lorraine CD-2: I Let A Song Go Out of My Heart; China Boy; I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good; Just One of Those Things; Polka Dot Stomp; Happiness Is Just A Thing Called Joe; Dear Old Southland; Promenade Aux Champs- Elysees; Georgia Cabin; Memories of You; Swing That Music.

Personnel: Bob Wilber: soprano saxophone, clarinet; Glenn Zottola: trumpet; Mark Shane: piano; Mike Peter: guitar, banjo; Len Skeat: bass; Butch Miles: drums; Pug Horton: vocals.


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Bob Wilber /
Glenn Zottola

Birch Hall Concerts Live

Classic Jazz CJ 4

Bob Wilber formed The Bechet Legacy in honour of his former teacher, Sidney Bechet. Although Bob’s playing doesn’t sound at all like Bechet’s, he keeps the great man’s memory alive by playing his compositions and other music from the era when Bechet flourished. In fact Bob Wilber has a calmer approach to the clarinet and soprano sax than Sidney Bechet did. It was therefore a good idea for Wilber to recruit Glenn Zottola as his colleague in the front line of The Bechet Legacy, because Zottola has a very contrasting style.

Whereas most of Bob Wilber’s playing is legato, Glenn Zottola’s is generally the precise opposite – staccato. In fact Glenn might be called a disciple of Louis Armstrong, because his methods are so similar to Satch’s. While Bob Wilber charms with subtle romance and lyricism, Glenn Zottola astounds with high notes and hugely impressive displays.

This recording was made by an enthusiastic amateur at two concerts in Lancaster in the early 1980s. True to its name, The Bechet Legacy plays no fewer than eight compositions by Sidney Bechet, including the mysterious Egyptian Fantasy, the poignant Si Tu Vois Ma Mère, and the evocative Georgia Cabin. This is a reminder, if it were needed, that Bechet could compose atmospheric pieces.

Other highlights include Summertime, a tune which Sidney Bechet memorably recorded. Wilber follows in Bechet’s footsteps with several emotional choruses. The first CD ends with a cherishable version of Sweet Lorraine, starting at mid-tempo but hotting up when Zottola’s trumpet solo brings on the melodrama. Glenn also features in Memories of You, where he is backed simply by the rhythm section.

We can be glad that these recordings were dug out of the archives and made available for us all to enjoy.

Tony Augarde

Christmas in Jazztime

Christmas in JazztimeI loved doing this Christmas Album which was unfortunately never re-issued on CD with all my dear friends and some real jazz legends that are no longer here with us. I went to my friend Rick Petrone who was the program director for the jazz station in Stamford CT WYRS and they helped on funding the project along with Dreamstreet Records as a holiday promotion.  Everyone was Continue reading Christmas in Jazztime

George Kelly Plays the Music of Don Redman

George Kelly was the saxophonist and singer with the Savoy Sultans and a beautiful man. On this date for Stash Records  It was cool that I got to play alto with George Kelly and he wrote some really nice charts for the album on great Don Redman songs.  On “Mickey Finn” I am playing alto and trumpet on the opening line and this was done without stopping any tracks or editing, an interesting quick change !!   Continue reading George Kelly Plays the Music of Don Redman


On This Album I used Norris Turney who was the lead alto player in the Duke Ellington band.  Also I did a few originals one written by Harold Danko and another written by Mike Hall.  The great jazz writer and reviewer Leonard Feather gave this album 5 stars and remarked on my solo on “Stardust” that had Louis Armstong as inspiration which felt very good. Continue reading Stardust

Butch Miles Salutes Count Basie

What a thrill to do this album with all these stars. I will never will forget seeing Freddie Greens hands around the neck of his guitar after playing Rhythm Guitar for Basie for 50 years. I never met Freddie before and after the first tune in which i had a trumpet solo i overheard him turn to Milt Hinton and say “he reminds me of Buck” meaning Buck Clayton.  It is hard to describe how that made Continue reading Butch Miles Salutes Count Basie

Secret Love

This was a very special album with my daughter Christine on the front cover. I moved from Manhattan to Connecticut and didn’t want to travel so much anymore so I could spend more time at home with the family. It was a period of tremendous expansion as i started my own production company and teamed up with Bobby Rosengarden and went into the Rainbow Room in NY with my own Big band a first Continue reading Secret Love

Steamin’ Mainstream

This was a quartet i put together with some of my favorite players and one of my favorite bands.  I booked a 5 night a week jazz gig and then recorded a live album. That was the end of the band and we moved seperate ways Harold Danko doing his own band and Butch and I  joining Bob Wilber. Great quartet and can you believe Butch singing like this and playing at the same time wow ! The Continue reading Steamin’ Mainstream

Butch Miles Salutes Chick Webb

This was one of my early albums for Famous Door.  Butch Miles is a totally amazing drummer with so many wonderful influences.  Chick Webbs band was one of the most swinging bands happening and they would challenge any band in the famous Savoy ballroom.  Eddie Barefield on tenor who was in Chick’s band brought in these arrangements. The great Milt Hinton on bass and Norris Turney who Continue reading Butch Miles Salutes Chick Webb