New Releases: July 2010 -> March 2011
Jazz, Dance Bands & Vocalists
The Boswell Sisters  -> Various Artists

 

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS


THE BOSWELL SISTERS Superbird 020 That's How Rhythm Was Born ● CD $18.98
20 tracks, 60 mins, very highly recommended
A captivating collection of vocal harmony selections from Connie, Helvetia (Vet) and Martha Boswell recorded for Brunswick between 1933 and '35. As popular harmony groups in the 30s go, The Boswells were the best, hippest and most influential, with fantastic three-part arrangements and ultra-swinging accompaniments - usually by The Dorsey Brothers with guitarist Eddie Lang and violinist Joe Venuti often present. This superb collection opens with their 1933 recording of Rock And Roll - possibly the first song with that title. Other tracks include Louisiana Hayride/ Sophisticated Lady/ Sleep, Come On And Take Me/ The Sentimental Gentleman From Georgia/ Forty-Second Street/ Minnie The Moocher's Wedding Day/ If I Had A Million Dollars and others. More than 70 years after they recorded the music of the Boswells sounds fresh and contemporary. Sound is superb and there are informative notes by Malcolm Dome. (FS)

 
NAT "KING" COLE & HIS TRIO Hep 91 The Forgotten 1949 Carnegie Hall Concert ● CD $14.98
Reissue of recently discovered acetates of only full length concert by Nat King Cole & His Trio at Carnegie Hall in November, 1949. 14 tracks featuring the group at the peak of their powers doing tunes like Yes Sir, That's My Baby/ Tiny's Exercise/ Laugh Cool Clown/ Go Bongo/ Tea For Two/ Cuba Libre/ Bop Kick, etc. There is also a bonus cut featuring the Woody Herman Orchestra that appaeerd at the same concert. Beautifully remastered by Doug Pomeroy for crystal clear sound and with extensive notes by Will Friedwald.

 
THE NAT KING COLE TRIO JSP JSPCD 963 Rare Radio Transcriptions ● CD $28.98
4 CDs, 106 tracks, 4 hours 35 min., very highly recommended
Long before Nat King Cole was crooning Unforgettable and Mona Lisa, he was making a name for himself performing in a small jazz combo. It didn't hurt that he was one of the finest (if underrated) jazz pianists around. This JSP box features 106 rare radio transcriptions from among the more than 500 recorded by the trio for Standard, Keystone, Davis & Schwegler, MacGregor, and Capitol between 1938-45. These transcriptions gave the Trio a national audience at a time when most record companies were releasing very few titles, owing to wartime shortages. Disc A (1938-39) finds Cole, Oscar Moore, And Wesley Prince sounding more like Cats And The Fiddle or The Ink Spots than like latter-day Nat King Cole. The Trio swings in unison, intentionally avoiding putting the spotlight on Cole. They run through novelty songs and jump tunes, many written by Cole. The second (1939-43) CD follows suit, offering an even greater number of Cole originals. But by the third CD, the Trio covers hit songs such as How High The Moon and It's Only A Paper Moon, and only 4 Cole-penned tunes, including D-Day. By 1945 the recordings feature more Cole piano solos and, by Disc D, ballads showing off Cole's smooth vocals. The swinging and jiving are not all gone, but the change has come. The Trio was so practiced and tight, they could record transcription sessions quickly. Recording without the benefit of editing or multiple takes apparently made little difference for the Trio, as these performances are all but flawless, engaging, impressive. No wonder Ray Charles spent the early days of his career imitating Nat Cole's Trio sound. Incredible stuff worth discovering or rediscovering. (JC)
NAT KING COLE TRIO: 'Tain't What You Do (It's The Way That'cha Do It)/ (Back Home Again In) Indiana/ After I Say I'm Sorry/ After You've Gone/ Aint Misbehavin'/ Baby (We Could Have A Lot Of Fun)/ Baby Won't You Please Come Home/ Barcarolle/ Besame Mucho/ Black Spider Stomp/ Blue Skies/ Body And Soul/ Boogie A La King/ Bring Another Drink/ Caravan/ Close To You/ Crazy Rhythm/ D-Day/ Dancing In The Street/ Dark Rapture/ Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me/ Don't Blame Me/ Don't Blame Me/ Don't Take Your Love From Me-Anita Boyer & Her Tomboyers/ F.D.R. Jones/ Fudge Wudge/ Gone With The Draft/ Harem Sandman/ Honey/ Honey Hush/ How High The Moon/ I Can't Give You Anything But Love/ I Got Rhythm/ I Like To Riff/ I May Be Wrong (But I Think You're Wonderful)/ I Realize Now/ I Thought You Ought To Know/ I Wanna Turn Out My Light/ I'm In The Mood For Love/ If Yesterday Could Only Be Tomorrow/ Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby?/ It Only Happens Once/ It's Only A Paper Moon/ Jam Man/ Jingle Bells/ Just Another Blues/ Keep Knockin' On Wood/ King Cole Blues/ Laura - King Cole Trio/ Lester Leaps In/ Liebestraum/ Little Joe From Chicago/ Mexico Joe/ Miss Thing/ Music'll Chase Your Blues Away/ Mutiny In The Nursery/ My Heart Tells Me/ No Love, No Nothin'/ On The Sunny Side Of The Street/ Penthouse Serenade/ Please Consider Me/ Pogo Stick Bounce/ Rhythm Sam/ Rhythm Serenade/ Rib Town Shuffle/ Riffin' In F Minor/ Rosetta/ Rosetta/ Russian Lullaby/ Scategoria/ Shoo Shoo Baby/ Shoo Shoo Baby/ Smokey Joe/ Snug As A Bug In A Rug/ Some Like It Hot/ Someone's In The Kitchen With Dinah/ Speak Low/ Swannee River/ Sweet Georgia Brown/ Sweet Lorraine/ Sweet Lorraine/ Swingin' The Blues/ That'll Just About Knock Me Out/ The Blue Danube/ The Land Of Make Believe/ The Limp/ The Man I Love/ The Old Music Master/ The Sheik Of Araby/ Them There Eyes/ There's No Anesthetic For Love/ These Foolish Things/ This Side Up/ This Will Make You Laugh/ Three Blind Mice/ Too Marvelous For Words/ Trompin'/ Vine Street Jump/ Wild Goose Chase/ Windy City Boogie Woogie/ Wouldn't You Like To Know/ You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love)/ You Must Be Blind/ You Send Me/ You're My Life/ You're So Different

 
ELLA FITZGERALD Universal (France) 533 610-1 The Complete Masters, 1935-1955 ● CD $75.98
One of a series of 13 to 15 CD box sets from Universal in France devoted to providing a comprehensive overview of various major jazz figures. Each set comes in a handsome 5.5" x 7.5 x 2" box (equivalent to 8 CDs for shipping purposes) with seven double CDs housed in sturdy cardboards sleeves accompanied by a 68 page book with notes in English and French and many photos (some in color) along with complete discographical information. Sound quality is superb.
This volume is devoted to the great jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald featuring the complete master takes of all the recordings she made between 1939 and 1955 from her first session in June, 1935 when she was a vocalist with the Chick Webb Orchestra to an August, 1955 session with Toots Camera and His Orchestra. She is heard in the company of all kinds of great jazz musicians as well as vocal collaborations with The Mills Brothers, The Four Keys, The Ink Spots, Louis Jordan, Louis Armstrong, The Skylarks and others.

 
AL HIBBLER Jasmine 671 Unchained Melody - The Definitive Singles Collection ● CD $18.98
This two CD set with 55 tracks is the most comprehensive selection of recordings of the fine and distinctive jazz/ pop vocalist who got his start with the Duke Ellington band and is best known for his 1955 No. 1 R&B crossover hit - Unchained Melody - the first hit version of this song which has become a standard that has cut across several musical genres. It also includes other R&B and pop chart hits like He/ 11th Hour Melody/ Never Turn Back/ After The Lights Go Down Low and others along with versions of standards like All, Or Nothing At All/ All Of Me/ I'll Never Smile Again/ Honeysuckle Rose and others. Accompaniments are usually big bands or orchestral with production by Jack Pleis and Neal Hefti.

 
THE INK SPOTS Mr. Music 8001 The Original Ink Spots Live ● CD $14.98
21 tracks, 69 min., very highly recommended
Not quite the "original" Spots since Bill Kenny had already replaced Jerry Daniels, but these are the Ink Spots the way most remember them -- Charlie, Deek, Hoppy, and Bill. These four radio shows boast incredible sound and trade off between ballads and jumps. The first show (from 1938 in NYC) begins with some scat and jive on I'm Feelin' Like A Million and ends with no less a jive masterpiece than Slim Gaillard's Flat Foot Floogie. The second show (from Philadelphia 1939) is equally wonderful and includes Tiger Rag/ Pork Chops And Gravy and more. The other shows are from 1944 (one from Davenport, one from Milkaukee) feature the unforgettable Java Jive and a duet with Ella Fitzgerald on Cow Cow Boogie. The three bonus songs that adorn the end of the program find our men backed by the Cootie Williams Orchestra. Time travel for a song. Not to be missed. (JC)

 
AL JOLSON Soho 037 The Golden Years Of Al Jolson ● CD $15.98
3 CDs, 60 tracks, 2 hours 39 min., highly recommended
If all you know of Jolson is an image of a guy in black face, you've come to the right place. Before there was American Idol there was Jolson, the most famous singer/performer in America in the 1920s and 1930s and then again in the 1940s, during his "rediscovery." Even if you've never heard Jolson, chances are you've either heard many of his songs, or heard someone doing an impression of Jolson doing his songs. In fact, this set is like a guide to understanding Warner Brothers cartoons of the corresponding time periods. Daffy, Bugs, everyone else, they all did Jolson. And it wasn't just his voice; it was the two-minute drama played out in song. More often than not the songs were upbeat, stirring, cheerful antidotes to bad economic times and war. It's probably impossible to understand the arc of American music without knowing Jolson. He was that influential. It is, for example, easy to hear the influence he had on Dean Martin, and Elvis Presley cited Martin as one of his early influences. And so on. This set is priced well and covers most of Jolson's career. If there's a fault, its that most of the songs are from the '40s instead of during his peak. Thus, the Jolson connoiseur may want to think twice, but the novice is unlikely to find a better invitation, even if the booklet notes are on the skimpy side. Tracks include, Sonny Boy/ California Here I Come/ Alexander's Ragtime Band (with Bing Crosby), My Mammy/ Swanee/ Give My Regards To Broadway/ You Made Me Love You, the oft-covered I Only Have Eyes For You, Are You Lonesome Tonight/ April Showers, and many more. (JC)

 
GEORGE LEWIS Upbeat Jazz URCD 197 A Portrait Of George Lewis From Burgandy Street To Berlin ● CD $18.98
22 tracks, 72 mins, highly recommended
A great retrospective of recordings by this master of New Orleans clarinet playing ranging from 1942 recordings as a member of Bunk Johnson's Original Superior Band recorded in New Orleans to two previously unissued sides recorded live with Ken Colyer's Jazzmen in 1959. Apart from the Colyer tracks, most of the rest find him in the company of fellow New Orleans legends like Jim Robinson/ trombone, Walter Decou/ piano, Alcide "Slow Drag" Pavageau/ bass, Alton Purnell/ piano, Percy Humphrey/ trumpet, Avery "Kid" Howard/ trumpet and others. TUnes include Yes Lord, I'm Crippled/ Sobbin' Blues/ Weary Blues #2/ Willie The Weeper #1/ Burgundy Street Blues #1/ Chimes Blues/ Walking With The King/ Running Wild, etc. Exuberant music with excellent sound, detailed notes by Mike Pointon and full discographical info. (FS)

 
TED LEWIS Retrieval 79014 The Jazzworthy Ted Lewis, 1929-1933 ● CD $10.98
22 tracks, recommended
22 selections from this popular danceband leader, singer and clarinetist. Lewis' band was pretty straight-laced, but had plenty of authentic swing for a late-twenties/ early 30s outfit. Credit is due to musicians included on these sessions like George Brunies (ex-New Orleans Rhythm Kings), Benny Goodman, Jack Teagardenand Muggsy Spanier. Ted himself was no slouch on reeds, and, during his developing years as a "showman", thankfully kept his act free of cornball antics though Ted's vocals were nothing to write home about. The selection here features his most "jazzworthy" titles including Farewell Blues/ The Lonesome Road/ Somebody Stole My Gal/ Sobbin' Blues, Parts 1 & 2/ Egyptian Ella/ Royal Garden Blues/ Ho Hum!, etc. Sound quality is superb thanks to remastering by John R.T. Davies and there are extensive notes by Mark Berresford. (MB/ FS)

 
PHILIP LEWIS & THE RHYTHM MANIACS Retrieval 79064 The Hottest Recordings Of Philip Lewis & The Rhythm Man ● CD $10.98
24 tracks, 70 mins, recommended
When British Decca started in'29, its house band for chugging out stock arrangements of hits was Philip Lewis & His Dance Orch, with some tunes coming out as by The Rhythm Maniacs. Lewis, director of "light music" for Decca, had nothing to do with these, the band was led by Arthur Lally who allowed ample solo space, making these quite a step above the average dance band, particularly since the principle soloists were Sylvester Ahola (t), Danny Polo (reeds), & Lally himself who, besides the usual reeds played such a hot bass sax that it was long thought to be Adrian Rollini. This fine collection of sides recorded in 1929 and 1930 includes vocals by Maurice Elwain, Leslie Sarony and Elsie Carlisle. Tunes include My Kinda Love/ There's One Thing Remains/ Diga Diga Doo (with scatting by Lally)/ Imaginations Goes Long Long Way/ Why Can't You/ Raisin' The Roof/ That's A Plenty and more. (GM/ FS)

 
THELONIOUS MONK Smith & Co. 2413 When Bebop Was King ● CD $15.98
2 CDs, 45 tracks, 151 mins, highly recommended
Here's a simple and affordable way to get an instant appreciation for Thelonius Monk, one of the all-time Jazz greats. This release features versions of all his most famous and groundbreaking compositions like Round Midnight/ Epistrophy/ Criss Cross/ Straight No Chaser/ Ruby My Dear/ Monk's Mood, and so on. You also get his reworking and hot-rodding of such standards as April In Paris/ Smoke Gets In Yours Eyes, etc. With only a few omissions, this collection makes for a (almost) complete anthology of Monk's recorded work from 1947 - 1954, recording for the Blue Note, and Prestige record labels. All of the material on this is definitely worth owning; if you are already a fan of his music, than you will probably own most of this already, but for those who want a concise collection of Thelonius Monk's work, or a starting off point to the world of Be-Bop, than this one should do the trick. (JM)

 
LES PAUL Avid AMSCD 940 The Jazzman ● CD $13.98
Two CDs, 44 tracks, 157 mins, highly recommended
Terrific collection devoted to the genius of Les Paul as a jazz guitarist eschewing his performances as a country or pop musician. The first 17 tracks (including obnoxious announcements) are from Les's 1944 stint on Jazz At The Philharmonic in a series of all star jam sessions with Shorty Sherock, J.J. Johnson, Illinois Jacquet, Nat "King" Cole and others. Although this has been available several times before it certainly is appropriate in this context and this is apparently the first time the tune Blues has been made available without a jump at the start of the guitar solo. There are half a dozen tracks from 1945 V-Discs including a jazz instrumental version of How High The Moon which he was to record half a dozen years later with his wife Mary Ford and became a monster hit. Also from these sessions is a version of Somebody Loves Me with Art Tatum on piano with sublime interplay between piano and guitar. The remaining tracksfeaturing radio transcriptions and studio recordings cover the period 1945 through '47 including sides with his Trio and as a member of The Eddie Heywood Sextet, a Harry "Sweets" Edison group and Willie Smith & His Orch. One session features the trio with Lionel Hampton playing piano on China Stomp and vibes on Star Dust. There is an amazing version of Honeysuckle Rose by a quartet of guitarists where Les is joined by Barney Kessell, Irving Ashby and Arv Garrison. A most welcome compilation with excellent sound, informative notes by Brian Priestly and full discographical info. (FS)

 
LOUIS PRIMA Proper BOX 156 Buona Sera - Featuring Keely Smith & Sam Butera ● CD $25.98
4 CDs, 80 tracks, 241 mins, highly recommended
Louis Prima has probably never really been quite in fashion, but he has always been well-loved, with new fans spring up all of the time. Prima is like the hot chocolate of music: most people wouldn't consider hot chocolate a drink of much substance, but there are few that won't enjoy a hot cup in front of them, This collection covers quite a bit of ground, from the loud boisterous show tunes, to cool jazz, to Italian love songs, to standards from the great American songbook. So on one of these disks you can get a spastic Sputnik era rocker about falling in love with an alien beauty--Beep, Beep -- along side pop standards tunes like Love Is A Many Splendored Thing and The White Cliffs Of Dover, next to a Jazz standard like Bourbon Street Blues. So many great tunes throughout: Sing, Sing, Sing/ That Old Black Magic/ Oh Marie!/ Jump, Jive An' Wail/ Banana Split For My Baby/ Night Train/ Fever/ Skinny Minnie/ Lazy River, and so many more, done in Prima's hyper-kinetic style. This has all of his classic recordings and so much more, with rowdy live performances throughout. Of course, the lovely Keely Smith lends her sultry and playful vocals on a number of tunes and the mighty Sam Butera & The Witnesses not only provide powerful backing, but Sam himself jumps up to the microphone on a handful of songs. This is the definitive collection on Louie Prima et. al, easily the best and most comprehensive collection that has been released. Proper does the proper job on this, so the collection comes with extensive liner notes and complete recording information. (JM)
LOUIS PRIMA: (I'll Be Glad When You're Dead) You Rascal You/ (Nothing's Too Good) For My Baby/ A Foggy Day/ Angelina - Zooma Zooma/ Autumn Leaves/ Baby Won't You Please Come Home./ Banana Split For My Baby/ Basin Street Blues - When It's Sleepy Time Down South/ Be Mine (Little Baby)/ Beep! Beep!/ Bim Bam/ Blow, Red, Blow/ Body And Soul/ Bourbon Street Blues/ Buona Sera/ Chantilly Lace/ Come Back To Sorrento/ Don't Let A Memory Break Your Heart/ Don't Take Your Love From Me/ Don't Worry 'Bout Me - I'm In The Mood For Love/ Easy Rockin'/ Embraceable You - I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good/ Equator/ Fee Fie Foo/ Felica No Capicia/ Fever/ Five Months, Two Weeks, Two Days/ French Poodle/ Good Gracious Baby/ Gotta See Baby Tonight/ Greenback Dollar Bill/ Handle With Care/ Hey Boy, Hey Girl/ Hey Boy, Hey Girl (reprise)/ Hey There/ Holiday For Strings/ How High The Moon/ I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues/ I Kiss Your Hand Madame/ I've Got The World On A String/ I've Got You Under My Skin/ If You Were The Only Girl/ It's Better Than Nothing At All./ Judy/ Jump, Jive An' Wail/ Just A Gigolo-I Ain't Got Nobody/ Kansas City/ Lazy River/ Love Charm/ Love Is A Many Splendored Thing/ Love Of My Life (O Sole Mio)/ Moonglow/ Night Train/ Nothing's Too Good For My Baby/ Oh! Marie/ Oh! Marie/ On The Sunny Side Of The Street - Exactly Like You/ Pennies From Heaven/ Perdido/ Robin Hood - Oh Babe!/ Sentimental Journey/ Should I? - I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me/ Sing, Sing, Sing/ Skinny Minnie/ Ten Little Women/ That Old Black Magic./ That's My Home/ The Birth Of The Blues/ The Closer To The Bone/ The Lip/ The Pump Song/ The White Cliffs Of Dover/ Them There Eyes - Honeysuckle Rose/ There'll Be No Next Time/ Tiger Rag - Just Because/ Too Marvellous For Words/ Twinkle In Your Eye/ When The Saints Go Marching In/ When You're Smiling - The Sheik Of Araby/ Whistle Stop

 
DJANGO REINHARDT JSP JSPCD 966 Musette To Maestro, 1928-1937 - The Early Work Of A ● CD $28.98
Five CD set with 120 tracks complementing previous JSP Django reissues (JSP 901, 904, 919, 953 & 953) . This features his progress from playing banjo in Musette bands to anchoring sessions with the leading American jazz musicians of the day. The rhythmic drive and inventiveness are evident from the outset, and, as soon as he resumes after the fre that damaged his hand, he is recognizably the classic Django. Indeed, some solos on the more obscure tracks are every bit as good as on the more well known sides. Also evident is his empathy in accompanying singers. Several sessions with Jean Sablon were important in bringing him to a wider audience. By the time of the Coleman Hawkins session, he is mighty, trading solos with giants as man to man. Disc 5 has a bonus video track of the recently rediscovered short flm `Le Jazz Hot' features the Hot Club in session. Fascinatingly, we can see Django's technique as the combination of dexterity and pure genius it was.

 
THE SIX BROWN BROTHERS Archeophone 6007 Broadway's Favorite Clowns ● CD $14.98
24 tracks, 66 min., highly recommended
Imagine six guys with saxophones of increasing size, all dressed as clowns, al la Pagliacci, except for one who is in burnt cork black face, or just look at the cool photo in the booklet of this fine release. Actually the second CD from the brothers on Archeophone, this one gives "a more rounded likeness" of their popular stage act, covering a larger variety of material, all of it at least interesting and most of it impressive. Tracks range in recording date from 1911 to 1920, including Tramp, Tramp, Tramp/ Rigoletto Quartet/ Sophomore Sobs/ The Sunshine Of Your Smile/ Kiss Me Again/ Chasing The Chickens and other rags, waltzes, marches, early jazz and such. A model of a reissue, with stunning photos. well-researched booklet notes, and remarkable sound, all things considered. And though the brothers couldn't have imagined someone would listen to 24 of their sides in a row, it's a charming way to spend an hour. (JC)

 
STUFF SMITH Storyville 8409 Five Fine Violins Celebrate 100 Years ● CD $15.98
Fine collection of violin jazz featuring the great Suff Smith performing live on Danish radio in 1965 and 1966. The recordings are taken from five different broadcasts - four of them featuring Stuff duetting or playing in a trio with fellow jazz violinists Ray Nance, Svend Asmussen, Soren Christensen and Poul Olsen. Accompanied by piano, bass and drums they do swinging renditions of tunes like Stand By Blues/ Timme's Blues/ Swingin' Softly/ The "C" Jam Blues/ Oh, Lady Be Good! and others.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Archeophone 5451 Masters Of The Clarinet ● CD $14.98
32 tracks, 76 min., recommended
Archeophone looks at some of the heavily recorded clarinetists from the "commercial acoustic recording era" (1889-1925), focussing on R.K. Franklin, Felix Jardello, August Stengler, George McNeice, Theodore Pusinelli, William Tuson, Louis Christie, and Anthony Giammatteo. The first dozen tracks were recorded in the 19th century (how often does one get to say that?), and sound quality, while perhaps remarkable considering the sources (brown-wax cylinders and the like), is a bit rough in the early going. But generally, the sound is solid and no barrier to enjoyment. In fact, the clarinet rose to prominence partly because if was relatively easy to record its range of sounds with something like accuracy. Tuson has the most cuts at 9 and would seem to have deserved the attention. As usual, the booklet houses an incredible wealth of information and photos. Nicely done, if not for everyone. (JC)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Archeophone 9013 1906 - When Things Was Looking Bright ● CD $14.98
27 Tracks, 74 Mins, highly recommended
Not a new release but not reviewed before. It's kind of spooky that I am reviewing this CD only days after the nasty earthquakes that just hit Japan, seeing as the pivotal event that happened in 1906 was the S.F. earthquake. Listening to a collection like this is much like listening to recordings made by ghosts in the first place, with every artist on this long dead for decades, pretty fascinating none-the less. This collection features rare recordings made by the big names of the day like Billy Murray; Everybody Works, But Father/ The Grand Old Rag, etc., Bert Williams; Nobody, and Let It Alone, and other popular acts like Ada Jones, Arthur Pryor's Band, Edward M. Favor, Henry Burr, and Harry Tally to name just a few. You also get some proper opera with Enrico Caruso and Antonio Scott, as well as Classical of a sort with Corinne Morgan and The Haydn Quartet doing How'd You Like To Spoon With Me? This is certainly a fascinating romp through history and I'll bet that you will come away from this set humming many of the tunes. Extensive liner notes tell all the stories of the age and help put everything in perspective. (JM)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Fantastic Voyage 094 The Sisters Anthology - A Celebration Of Four Decades ● CD $19.98
2 CDs, 38 tracks, 1 hour 41 min., essential
A four-decade tour of singing sister genre in more-or-less chronological order, beginning with a 1924 version of Red Hot Mama by the Bronx Sisters. Disc 1 (1924-1946) rarely fails to delight with its mix of familiar acts (e.g., The Andrew Sisters singing the classic Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and the Fontane Sisters wonderful Linger In My Arms A Little Longer) and the obscure curiosities, such as The Gumm Sisters' Where The Butterflies Kiss The Buttercups Goodnight, which might be too cute by half were it not for the presence of the very young Judy Garland. The Ponce Sisters' Fit As A Fiddle, which features the playing of Jimmy Dorsey, could hardly be better. And if listening to the Andrews Sisters don Jamaican accents for their version of Rum And Coca-Cola doesn't make you smile for one reason or another, you may be unwell. Disc 2 (1947-1959) continues the trend, even as the form develops. Highlights include the Clooney Sisters (featuring Rosemary, of course), the Carter Sisters (yes, from that Carter family), featuring Chet Atkins on guitar, and the Dinning Sisters charmer, Buttons And Bows. For obscurity, there's the Clark Sisters singing Take The "A" Train. Informative booklet notes, 32 different sister acts, and excellent sound throughout make this a must-have. The only slight quibble is in the short running time--it could have been a lot longer. (JC)
THE ANDREWS SISTERS: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy/ Rum And Coca Cola/ THE BARRY SISTERS: My Yiddishe Momme/ THE BELL SISTERS: Wheel Of Fortune/ THE BONNIE SISTERS: Cry Baby/ THE BOSWELL SISTERS: Forty-Second Street/ Object Of My Affection, The/ THE BROX SISTERS: Red Hot Mama/ THE CARTER SISTERS & CHET ATKINS: I Don't Believe Them At All/ THE CLARK SISTERS: Take The 'A' Train/ THE CLOONEY SISTERS: Euphoria/ THE DE CASTRO SISTERS: Teach Me Tonight/ THE DEJOHN SISTERS: My Baby Don't Love Me No More/ THE DEMARCO SISTERS: California Sunbeam/ Dinah/ THE DI MARA SISTERS: Tea For Two/ THE DINNING SISTERS: Buttons And Bows/ THE DUNCAN SISTERS: I'm Following You/ THE FONTAINE SISTERS: Linger In My Arms A Little Longer Baby/ THE FONTANE SISTERS: Missouri Waltz/ THE GUMM SISTERS: Where The Butterflies Kiss The Buttercups Goodnight/ THE KELLER SISTERS & LYNCH: Sunday/ THE KING SISTERS: Deep Purple/ Stardust/ THE LENNON SISTERS: Tonight You Belong To Me/ THE LEWIS SISTERS: S'Wonderful/ THE MCGUIRE SISTERS: Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight/ Sincerely/ THE MOYLAN SISTERS: Danny Boy/ Someone's In The Kitchen With Dinah/ THE PARIS SISTERS: Baby Honey Baby/ PATIENCE & PRUDENCE: Tonight You Belong To Me/ THE PETERS SISTERS: Basin Street Blues/ THE PICKENS SISTERS: Many Moons Ago/ THE PONCE SISTERS: Fit As A Fiddle/ THE STAFFORD SISTERS: Cross Patch/ THE TRIX SISTERS: Pickin' Cotton/ THE WILLIAMS SISTERS: He's The Last Word

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Fremeaux & Associes 5096 Harmonica Swing ● CD $25.98
2 CDs, 1 hour 54 minutes, highly recommended
Back in stock. If two CDs of harmonica swing instrumentals sounds like one and a half too many, the excellent Fremeaux & Associes collection will quickly disabuse you of that notion. The tracks range from 1929-1952, although about half are from the '40s, with most dates hovering around the war. Happily, the performances, mostly representing the work of small combos, seem to have been chosen because they are prime examples of swing that happen to feature harmonica rather than because the compilers were desperate for anything with jazzy harmonica to fill out their compilation. As a result, perhaps, 30 of the 41 cuts spotlight just four musicians -- Max Geldray, Dany Kane Larry Adler, Borrah Minevitch -- with Dany Kane shouldering 11 cuts himself. And while that could pose its own problems concerning sameness, it doesn't. The music is lively, refreshing, and playful. (Listeners are excused for occasionally imagining cartoon mice inflicting misery on their feline counterparts.) Adler's reading of Lover, Come Back To Me, features the illustrious company of Stephane Grappeli and Django Reinhardt; his take of Cole Porter's Begin The Beguine includes Charlie Shavers (tp), W. "Buster" Bailey (cl), and John Kirby (b), among others. Pleasant surprises include Les 5 de l'Harmonica performing In The Mood, Quintette Dupont-Durand's Nightfall, Hubert Giraud's Dinah, and just about everything by Minevitch. Being a harmonica fan is not required for this set to charm. (JC)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Frog DGF 76 Frog Spawn - The White Hot Batch ● CD $18.98
25 tracks, highly recommended
The latest in Frog's series of "red hot jazz rarities, alternate takes, sleepers & unissued masters" is to white bands featuring 25 tracks recorded between 1924 and 1930. There is a wealth of fine jazz here, by bands whose members and provenance are sometimes shrouded in discographical darkness, or who are well enough known, yet who have produced recordings that have so far managed to elude CD re issues. Among the groups here are The Berlyn Baylor Orchestra, The New Orleans Owls (one of the best known groups here with their extremely rare alternate take of Oh Me! Oh My!), Willard Robison's Deep River Four (the earliest recording here from a 1924 Autograph featuring some great clarinet work - possibly Alcide Nunez), The California Ramblers, Russ Gorman's Virginians (with Red Nichols, Miff Mole, Dick McDonough & Eddie Lang), Bud Ritchie & His Boys (a totally obscure group with two fine tracks including a rendition of Hoagy Carmichael's Rockin' Chair), Bert Lown & His Loungers, Original Memphis Five, Ken Moyers Novelty Trio (featuring Moyers on mellophone - a French horn type instrument, reserphone - an instrument that sounds like a strngled duck and other instruments), Gowans' Rhpasody Makers and others. Superb sound, extensive notes and full discographical info. (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Idelsohn Society 018 Black Sabbath ● CD $14.98
15 tracks, 55 mins, highly recommended
Every once in a while a compilation comes out of totally left field and makes you wonder why nobody thought of this before. This is quite a release and it is given some special presentation to go along with the special nature of the material, with extensive notes in a 40 page booklet and lovely over-sized packaging. . Featuring legendary Blues, Jazz, and Soul artists performing classic Jewish compositions, it's a Mitzvah! For some, African American's appreciation of Jewish culture begins and ends with Sammy Davis Jr., but there is a long and complex musical and cultural relationship to be explored; this collection probably just scratches the surface. Wonderful tracks like Billie Holliday My Yiddishe Momme, Jimmy Scott Exodus, and Johnny Mathis Kol Nidre are just some of the most stirring renditions that you will hear there. Then there are the more playful tracks like Cab Calloway's Utt Da Zay, and Slim Gaillard Quartet's Dunkin Bagel, to liven things up. Not every track blew me away--probably could have done without the Temptations "Fiddler on the Roof Medley"--but all-in-all a fantastic and fascinating set. (JM)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Jasmine 515 The Bands With The Bands ● CD $15.98
Many big bands followed a trend originally set by Tommy Dorsey which was to form a 'band-within-a band'. By using just a few members of their own orchestras big band names were able to create more spontaneous jazz through the musical freedom of a smaller group. This fine two CD features 50 tracks recorded between 1935 and 1958 by these smaller group. From the Benny Goodman band we hear the Benny Goodman Trio, Benny Goodman Quartet and Benny Goodman Sesxtet, from the Basie band we hear Count Basie Rhythm, Count Basie Quartet and Count Basie Octet as well as small group offshoots from Gene Krupa's Orch., Tommy Dorsey's Orch., Harry James Orch. and The Duke Ellington Orch. This collection of informal, enthusiastic performances puts forward some truly exciting gems some of which may have, and wrongly so, been forgotten. Excellent sound quality, informative notes by Don Kennedy and full discographical info. (FS)
COUNT BASIE ALL-STARS: Basie Boogie/ COUNT BASIE OCTET: One O'clock Jump/ COUNT BASIE QUARTET: Dupree Blues/ COUNT BASIE RHYTHM: Shoe Shine Boy/ Shine On, Harvest Moon/ Sugar/ TOMMY DORSEY CLAMBAKE SEVEN: Chinatown, My Chinatown/ Sheik Of Araby/ The Music Goes Round And Round/ Twilight In Turkey/ Vol Vistu Gaily Star/ ELLINGTON ALL-STARS: Duke's In Bed/ DUKE ELLINGTON'S MEN: Castle Rock/ Jeep's Blues/ BENNY GOODMAN & HIS SEXTET: A Smooth One/ BENNY GOODMAN QUARTET: Avalon/ Moonglow/ BENNY GOODMAN SEXTET: Ac/Dc Current/ Flying Home/ Good Enough To Keep/ BENNY GOODMAN TRIO: After You've Gone/ Body And Soul/ Lady Be Good/ Tiger Rag/ WOODY HERMAN CHIPS: Chip's Boogie-Woogie/ Fan It/ South/ Yardbird Shuffle/ WOODY HERMAN WOODCHOPPERS: Indian Boogie-Woogie/ HODGES & ELLINGTON MEN: Honey Hill/ HARRY JAMES & RHYTHM: Limehouse Blues/ Sleepy Time Gal/ The Man I Love/ HARRY JAMES & THE BOOGIE WOOGIE TRIO: Boo-Woo/ Jesse/ Woo-Woo/ GENE KRUPA JAZZ TRIO: Body And Soul/ Dark Eyes/ Hodge Podge/ How High The Moon/ Limehouse Blues/ Liza/ Stompin' At The Savoy/ Ten Richie Drive/ ARTIE SHAW & HIS GRAMERCY 5: Dr. Livingstone, I Presume?/ Grabtown Grapple/ Hop, Skip And Jump/ My Blue Heaven/ Scuttlebutt/ Special Delivery Stomp/ Summit Ridge Drive

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Not Now 380 Blue Jazz Guitar ● CD $9.98
2 CDs, 35 tracks, 1 hour 33 min., highly recommended
While many of these tracks could be described as either blue or blues or both, it's tough to put, say, Jimmy Raney's April In Paris in those camps. Charlie Christian's Waiting For Benny seems beyond the titular label too, as do several other performances. What's sure is the high quality of players, including Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Mundell Lowe, Django Reinhardt, Herb Ellis, Tal Farlow, Charlie Byrd, among others. The booklet notes (what few there are) make the case that most here were influenced by Charlie Christian, and it's doubtless true, though it's not exactly an illuminating claim. Still, this is an excellent various artists jazz release, even if the guitar isn't always front and center (George Shearing Quintet's Conception, for example, contains a guitar solo, but the vibe and piano solos are longer are more prominent). And then again, so what? Jazz guitar anyone? (JC)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Renovation 7003 Cakewalks, Rags & Blues - Military Style ● CD $14.98
Great collection of early recordings (1900 to 1916) of cakewalks, rags and blues featuring bands like Sousa's Band, The Peerless Orchestra, U.S. Marine Band, Prince's Military Band and others. This was the music Americans danced to before the dance band era began. Compiled by Barry "Dr. Demento" Hansen who also wrote the notes this was remastered by Doug Pomeroy who makes these more than 100 year old recordings sound fresh.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Retrieval 79062 Here Come The Boys, 1925-1932 ● CD $10.98
24 tracks, recommended
Complementing Retrieval 79060 ("Bring On The Girls" - $10.98) this is an immensely entertaining selection of male popular vocalists recorded in the 20s and 30s usually with hot dance band or jazz accompaniments. It includes St. Louis Blues and Beale Street Blues by the excellent Al Bernard who had a hand in popularizing the songs of W.C. Handy and was the first artist to record a vocal version of St. Louis Blues in 1918. His version here is his sixth from 1927 accompanied by the fine Carl Fenton Orch. The disc opens with a fine cut by Irving Kaufman who was one of the most prolific recording artists of all time. Other artists include the fine and mysterious "Banjo Buddy" doing Cole Porter's Let's Misbehave, Johnny Marvin (with Benny Goodman), Willard Robison (with the Dorsey Brothers, Fud Livingston and Dick McDonough), Seger Ellis (relatively undistinguished vocals accompanied by Louis Armstrong and The Dorsey Brothers), Charles W. Hamp (accompanied by The Dorsey BRothers and Eddie Lang), Eddie Walters (with The Dorsey Brothers, Adrian Rollini and Carl Kress), Eddie Walters 9with Mannie Klein, Frank Signorelli & Eddie Lang), Paul Small (two tracks with Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang from 1932 - one previously unissued) and others. Superb sound and CD comes with 28 page booklet with extenive notes by Chris Ellis and full discographical info. (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Retrieval 79063 Merritt Brunies & His Friars Inn Orchestra And Others ● CD $11.98
Two CDs, 48 tracks, highly recommended
Excellent collection of hot white Chicago jazz recorded between 1923 and 1925 that was influenced by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings and other New Orleans groups. The set is in three sections - first the development of artists who had played or sat in with the the NORK including sides by The Memphis Melody Boys, Art Kahn & His Orchestra, The Midway Dance Orchestra and others. There are 17 tracks from Merritt Brunies & His Friar's Inn Orchestra a group based on the Friars Society Orch.(later NORK) led by Merritt's brother George. This group included New Orleans born Merritt & Harry Brunies and clarinetist Volly DeFaut, a later NORK member. Finally there are 13 tracks by a group of young Chicagoans headed by the great cornetist Muggsy Spanier. The music is delightfully lively with superb ensemble playing and excellent solos. Sound quality is superb and the 24 page booklet includes extensive notes by Charlie Crump and full discographical info. (FS)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Storyville 103 6102 Sounds Of New Orleans, Vol. 2 ● CD $14.98
A second collection of New Orleans jazz drawn from the Storyville catalog. Two CDs with 42 tracks including Kid Ory with two different Creole Jazz Bands from 1945 (with Joe Darensbourg/ cl, Buster Wilson/p, etc) and 1954/55 (with Albert Burbank/ cl. Don Ewell/ p, etc); Oscar "Papa" Celestin Tuxedo Jazz Band from 1950 with Bill Matthews/ tb, Alphonse Picou/ cl, Octave CRobsy/ p, etc.; Sharkey Bonano live at The Perez Club in 1952 with Jack DElaney/ tb, Bujie Centobie/ cl, Stanley Mendelson/ p, etc.; George Lewis & His New Orleans Jazz Band from 1954 with Kid Howard/ tp, Jim Robinson/ tb, Alton Purnell/ p, Lizzie Miles/ vocal, etc.; Wilbur De Paris & His New Orleans Jazz from 1953 with Sidney De Paris/ tp, Omer Simeon/ cl, Don Kirkpatrick/ p, etc.; Albert Burbank with Kid Ory & His Creole Jazz Band from 1954 and a jam session at Joe Mare's Place in 1952 with Johnny Bayersdorfer/ tp & ts, Jack Delaney/ tp,. Raymon Burke/ cl and others. Excellent sound and affectionate notes from Chris Albertson.

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Storyville 103 6103 Sounds Of New Orleans, Vol. 3 ● CD $14.98
The third and final volume in this series of New Orleans jazz drawn from the Storyville catalog. Two CDs with 35 tracks recorded between 1952 and 1955, mostly recorded live. There are five tracks from Albert Burban with Kid Ory & His Creole Jazzband recorded in San Francisco - Ory was a veteran New Orleans musician who had relocated to the West Coast in 1919! Paul Barbarin & His Jazzband (with Percy Humphrey/ tpt, Waldron "Frog" Joseph/ tb and Willie Humphrey/ cl) are featured on 11 tunes. There are two sides from cornetist Johnny Wiggs and his New Orleans Boys with Jack Delaney/ tb and Raymond Burke/ cl - on Tin Roof Blues there is a stirring vocal from guitarist Edmond "Doc" Souchon. Sharkey Bonano & his band (with Jack Delaney/ tb, Bujie Centobie/ cl and Stanley Mendelson/ p) are featured on seven cuts with a fine vocal by LIzzie Miles on I Ain't Gonna Give You NOne Of My Jelly Roll. The New Orleans Jazz Babies with Alvin Alcorn/ tp, Jack Delaney/ tb and Raymon Burke/ cl are featured on six tracks and the set is rounded out with four sides by The Dixieland All Stars with George Girard/ tp, Santo Pecora/ tb, Raymond Burke/ cl and Lester Bouchon/ ts. Excellent sound and informative notes from Chris Albertson.

 

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