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Humph and Neva '53

The first time I heard of Neva Raphaello was March 16, 1953, when I recorded a night at the Lyttelton Club on my new B&O tape machine. I only had about five years of experience listening to jazz, but I knew instantly that this was not a singer whose career I would follow. I still haven't figured out why the Dutch Swing College Band recorded with her or, for that matter, what she was doing with Humph at 100 Oxford Street—she simply was not in their league. That said, here is Neva with the intermission group, Mike McKenzie's trio (he was a decent pianist) in a performance made listenable by Humph's participation. 


  1. Yes Chris, as you say Neva Raphaello was not in the same league as Humph, but she was seen as good enough at the time to record with Humph (and the Graeme Bell band) for Parlophone. Certainly Humph's trumpet makes your recording well worth listening to. Is there any chance of hearing any more of the Lyttelton recordings? I was interested to see that he plays "Jive At Five" which would have been fairly revolutionary stuff for a traditional band in 1953! And it would be wonderful at some stage to hear Humph's live version of "Mahogany Hall Stomp". But thank you anyway for what you have given us, Assuming the Bolden cylinder never turns up, Humph in Oxford Street in 1953 comes pretty close to our version of the Dead Sea Scrolls. (I remember Jack Towers saying that the Ellington band at Fargo were intrigued by the presence of a disc recorder at the Crystal Ballroom and wanted to hear the discs played back, I suppose you must have had a similar reaction from the musicians at the 100 Club?)

    1. John, thank you for visiting my blog, and for your comment. I was very new to jazz in 1953, but I had already come across Bessie Smith, so Neva didn't impress me. Of course there weren't many female blues singers around in Europe at that time.

      Unfortunately, I am not able to transfer the rest of my Lyttelton tapes at the moment. I bought a reel to reel on e-bay, which allowed me to get these recordings into MP3 format, but, alas, the machine soon ceased functioning. I think it is a belt problem and will attempt to have it fixed, so wish me luck—I hope Jive at Five and the other selections can eventually be posted. I have not had any requests for these tapes over the years, although Jepsen did list them in his discography.