Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Tommy Sancton Trio and Quartet: Riviera Reunion

Although his name is probably not familiar to most JazzTimes readers, New Orleans-born clarinetist Tommy Sancton has been an active member of the underground trad band scene for more than 30 years, having founded the still active Boston-based Black Eagle Jazz Band in 1967, then moving on to France and continuing involvement with “the movement.” With a slightly acidic, bluesy tone characteristic of one aspect of his native city’s reed tradition, Sancton, for 20 years a staff writer for Time, here reunites with pianist David Paquette, slap bassist Giles Chevaucherie, and drummer Stephanie Roger for a spirited 1998 session in Nice. The 14 tunes include “A Porter’s Love Song (To a Chamber Maid),” upon which Tommy plays tribute to Jimmie Noone’s classic recording, legendary N’Awlins homeboy clarinetist Raymond Burke’s “Gypsy Song” (recte Victor Herbert’s 1898 “Gypsy Love Song”) and “I Want Somebody to Love” (recte Glynn “Red” Long’s 1927 tune for The Halfway House Orchestra), and from the same point of origin, Creole clarinetist Louis Cottrell’s lovely ballad, “True.” At the very least, Sancton should have provided proper composer credits for the Burke rip-offs, but that’s no reflection on his playing, which in its own way is quite appealing.

Originally Published