Kid Bastien/Grossmans/Camelia Band – Eh La Bas!

My grandfather, Al Grossman can be seen in the yellow shirt around the 1:10 mark.

Here’s a little bit of Toronto jazz history for you. Regretfully the clip is all too short but it does show Grossman’s Tavern on one of its original Saturday jazz matinees, as Cliff vocalises on “Eh La Bas”.
Cliff “Kid” Bastien had brought his Camelia Band into Grossmans Tavern for the first time in May 1970. He had recently switched to cornet from banjo — which he had been playing with the short-lived Magnolia Jazz Band. In this film clip he is supported by Pete Savory on trombone; George Berry — tenor sax; Max Leggatt — string bass; Mal Dyson — tenor banjo and Robert Rayner was sitting in on drums.

This film clip is dated around December 1970. Pianist John Mathieson is not there yet – he joined the band a little later in January 1971. Regular drummer Geoff Baines is missing too but they both played with the Camelia on their first LP, issued in March 1971. Too bad the clip is so short and we do not hear a cornet solo!

There’s an earlier LP by the Black Eagle Jazz Band recorded December 16 1964 where “Cliff Bastin” (sic) is listed as playing banjo. There were two further LP’s by the Camelia. One recorded December 1972 and the other September 1975. By this time the band’s name had changed to “Kid Bastien’s Camelia Jazz Band”, with some personnel changes.

Thanks for the help with the history, from those who were around in those days – Max Leggatt; Bill Winters and the rest!