Repost From Bruno Leicht’s Resurrected “Old & New Swingin’ Dreams” Blog: What became of CHINATOWN, MY CHINATOWN? — SAX NO END

Dear swinging friends,

This is my reply to Marc Myers’ recent article at JazzWax: JAZZ IS UNIVERSAL; which it is indeed.


I’m dedicating this entry to Sabina, and a good friend of mine, an American saxophonist, living in the beautiful Netherlands.

It’s been a very hot Summer, and I was at Sylt again, posting from an internet café (have prepared that post in advance).

The sea is blue, the seagulls scream, and the saxes are swingin’, aren’t they? — We will hear Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, a hard-driving Kenny Clarke, a bursting Oscar Peterson, who is playing the original sax-chorus on the piano, and we will jump right into the sea of saxes by starting off with John Nesbitt’s arrangement of Chinatown, My Chinatown on which Francy Boland’s Sax No End is based on.

Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra with solos from Rex Stewart (cnt), Benny Carter (cl), Claude Jones (tb), Coleman Hawkins (ts), recorded on October 3, 1930:


Now, directly to the year 1967. Francy Boland did a great job with this one. — I purchased the LP in London, while I spent some time there during the also very hot Summer of 1983.

The featured soloist here is Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, and the members of the sax-section were: Derek Humble, Carl Drevo, Ronnie Scott, Sahib Shihab and Johnny Griffin. — Recorded in Cologne, on June 18, 1967:

SAX NO END (studio)

The Clarke-Boland Big Band did the same tune in 1969, during a concert. But before we come to that, here’s the fabulous Oscar Peterson with Sam Jones and Bobby Durham on bass and drums.

This is from a semi-private concert, nevertheless for the purpose of being recorded. That’s the Oscar Peterson at the peak of his creativity.

He seems to have more than 10 fingers here. It was the year of rebellion, 1968, when Oscar transferred the 5 saxes to the 88 keys: SAX NO END (Oscar Peterson)

Here we go with the Clarke-Boland Big Band again, now sporting all five saxophonists, but no Eddie Davis: Derek Humble (as), Tony Coe (ts), Johnny Griffin (ts), Ronnie Scott (ts), Sahib Shihab (bs), live in Cologne/Germany, 1969, “Battle of the Bands”:

SAX NO END (‘live’)

Sounds a bit wild and uncontrolled, doesn’t it? But what would you expect from a band in a battle?!

UTuber “Cheeseford” wrote to the below video:

Based on the changes for ‘Chinatown’, here’s a 1968 recording (slightly abbreviated – live, it could go on for 20 minutes) of Francy Boland’s ‘Sax No End’, featuring one of the best saxophone sections of any jazz orchestra ever.

Soloists in order are: Johnny Griffin, Tony Coe, Ronnie Scott, Sahib Shihab & Derek Humble. The solos are great, but just wait for the soli section where all five play as one. Having Kenny Clarke and Kenny Clare behind you helps a bit too…


This entry was posted in All American Rhythm Section, Anniversary, Birthday Party, Blogging is swell!, Dedication, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Etymology, Francy Boland, It's been a ball!, Jazz Stories & Tales, Invented Truths & Actual Happenings, Kenny Clarke, Louis Armstrong, Sabina, Saxophone, Sexism, Summer 1983, Tongue In Cheek and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.