Algiers Strut at The Peartree Tops the Jazz&Jazz YouTube Parade


It’s surprising what a bit of top rate promo can do! For instance this from Martin Bennett:

“Blistering session yesterday at The Pear Tree, Welwyn Garden City, organised by Smiffy. A very generous reception given to the band by some very enthusiastic supporters and a gang of onetime neighbours and good friends of mine from when I was living in Essendon, Herts, 40 odd years ago.

“Peter Butler (Jazzers) was in there in the front with a brand new machine that transfers sound and film directly to YouTube. He was delighted with his new toy and as far as I could understand, he has put a lot of the concert on YouTube. I’ll be more exact once I have heard from him. This magical device of his is about the size of the bottom half of a half-pint glass. It could be dangerous!”

Blistering Drum Solo

With that, Martin, you’ve shot The Old Green River’s performance of “The Algiers Strut” to the top of the “Jazz&Jazz YouTube Parade” at the same time as giving Smiffy’s Peartree Jazz Club in Welwyn Garden City a well deserved plug. Also because it features Stuart Smith’s blistering drum solo.

I’ve videoed a selection of YouTubes of equally powerful performances by various bands using my “magical half pint glass” but they will follow later as they take time to process. However, a bit more praise like Martin’s and others too could jump the queue!

By the way, please excuse the step ladder behind the set. I have to have a means of escape should the musicians cut up rough!


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  1. Louis Lince says:

    Sorry Martin, you’re incorrect. The tune was originally a waltz entitled “You’re all I want for Christmas”. It was Kid Thomas (trumpeter) took it up and played it in 4/4 as “Algiers Strut”. NOT a clarinet player.

  2. Kevin says:

    Quite right Louis.

  3. I knew the tune had been nicked, as it were, re-titled and presumably claimed as an original. It happened more recently to Sweet Fields, according to a copy of the sheet music in my possession, itself originally a Russian folk song I have been told. My intention was to keep the perpetrator well concealed but now that Kid Thomas and his change of title have been revealed I am thinking of re-titling ‘When the saints go marching in’ as ‘Nights out in Bolton’. Presumably, Kid Thomas got away with it.

  4. Further to my previous comment, versions of All I want for Christmas (now known as The Algiers Strut) can be found on YouTube sung by various contemporaries of Kid Thomas, (Bing Crosby, Eddie Fisher, The Andrews Sisters, Brook Benton, Rico J. Puno, Al Martino et al). It wasn’t as though the song was an unknown number and resurrected from from obscurity and re-named – it was a current one, written by Benjamin Bennie and Marcus Sol, according to my copy. One can only wonder if they were ever recompensed.

  5. Claude A “Bennie” Benjamin started writing songs in 1941, (three years before Kid Thomas recorded the melody) often in conjunction with Sol Marcus, George David Weiss, Ed Durham and others. He was born in the West Indies and moved to New York in 1927 and studied and played banjo. In 1984 he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Amongst the many songs he wrote is ‘I don’t want to set the world on fire’. He died in 1989 aged 81. My recorded comment was intended to hide the stark reality of what happened.

  6. Peter Butler says:

    This is the kind of exchange I like on Jazz&Jazz. It’s what the site is all about and I would encourage many more jazz fans and musos to participate. The more the merrier because then the site goes up in Google etc rankings, receives many more visitors and can begin to do a formidable job in helping to promote our kind of music. Perhaps even restoring it jazz to its former glories – where it belongs.

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