The Gabadella Jazzband: The Gabadella Jazzband Med Chris Barber. Limited-edition LP recorded at a concert in Denmark in 1986, distributed privately.
Although the word has been used several times in this website to describe certain items from the Barber-Purser archives, this double-album 12-inch LP is indeed a true rarity. The Danish Gabadella Jazzband, apparently inspired to form in the early 1960s in whole or in part by Chris Barber's music, held a 25th-anniversary concert in 1986 at which Chris was invited to play. The concert was recorded on a tape cassette, but nevertheless the sound was good enough to be transferred to vinyl as a souvenir for the band, its fans and friends. To the best of my knowledge only five hundred copies were produced, and I was lucky enough to receive one as a gift from my good friend Poul Villum of Denmark, a long-time Barber fan, who found this copy (number 392) in a second-hand store.
The music is excellent. The first LP begins with three tunes by the seven-piece band before Chris came on stage, while the rest of the collection heavily features Chris in solos, ensemble playing, and a vocal or two, mostly on standards associated with the Barber band. A highlight is a beautiful version of Hoagy Carmichael's "New Orleans" – recorded some years previously by the Chris Barber Jazz & Blues Band with Dr. John for the LP, Take Me Back To New Orleans. The concert concluded with "Ice Cream", which is perhaps the only time on record that Chris took over Pat Halcox's vocal role on the song – and a great job he did, too!
The illustration to the above-right is not an exact reproduction of the LP cover but rather an excerpted version. You can see several of the photos from the inside and back of the fold-out LP cover below, plus a graphic that tells a little about the concert. There are also two musical excerpts, but in choosing these and the illustrations I have tried to achieve a balance between informing Chris Barber fans of an extremely rare item while at the same time preserving something of the mystique of this LP.
Ed Jackson (with thanks to Poul Villum), May 2009