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Jazz, Dance Bands & Vocalists
Louis Armstrong ->
Fats Waller


SONNY CRISS Proper Intro 2005 Young Sonny ● CD $9.98
12 tracks, 71 min, essential
The beginnings of one of Central Ave's (L.A.) young giants at the beginning of his career. The alto great is heard on only four studio tracks done for Clef in '49 leading a quartet featuring Hampton Hawes. The rest is live, & the highlight is the legendary Trade Winds recordings from 6/52 in Inglewood CA with the Charlie Parker pick-up band that includes the very 1st recordings by Chet Baker! Only four tracks here but each gives a rare chance to hear the musicians stretch out as three of the tracks are over 10 minutes long. The set starts off with three extended tracks from a 6/47 Just Jazz Concert put on by Gene Norman & featuring a solid group of Central Ave regulars including Hawes, Howard McGhee & Teddy Edwards, & ends with a later live recording from The Trade Winds, this time leading a quartet on a blistering version of Strike Up The Band from 1952. Includes a beautiful package with a booklet with rare pics & complete liner notes. (GM)

ELLA FITZGERALD Proper BOX 74 Romance And Rhythm ● CD $25.98
Four CD set with 100 tracks tracing Ella's career from her early recordings with the Chick Webb Band into the first lady of song. Includes recordings with her own big band, duets with Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, The Ink Spots and The Mills Brothers and her first set of Gershwin songs with pianist Ellis Larkins. Has 52 page booklet with extensive notes, rare photos and session details.

BEN POLLACK Jazz Oracle 8042 Volume 6: The Whoopee Makers ● CD $15.98
24 tracks,67 min, essential
How is it that this, Vol 6 of 7, is one of the most essential & doesn't even have Pollack on it at all? FINALLY, every one of the legendary sessions known as The Whoopee Makers are collected in one place! As Benny Goodman described it "The Pollack band without Pollack", this featured the band, who was under contract to Victor, dong several pseudonymous dates for numerous labels, & featuring Pollack's 3 stars, Goodman, Jack Teagarden & Jimmy McPartland! Recorded between 11/28 & 2/29, the band had future Bobcat Ray Baduc on drums in place of Pollack, along with Glenn Miller, Jimmy Dorsey, & on guitar & a couple vocals the great Dick Morgan, better known as Icky (a term he invented to make fun of the non-hip) including the fun Icky Blues - Icky would go on to bigger fame & fortune as a member of Spike Jones' City Slickers. The original 18 sides & 6 alternate takes are all here, released under such names as The Dixie Daisies, Goody & His Goodtimers, The Lumberjacks & The Kentucky Grasshoppers for such labels as Path‚, Cameo, Perfect, Banner & Romeo. Extensive history including excerpts from interviews with Goodman & Teagarden, rare pics & wonderful sound by the, unfortunately recently deceased John RT Davies. (GM)

THE RED HEADS Jazz Oracle 8043 Recorded In New York, 1925-1927 ● CD $44.98
3 discs,64 tracks, highly recommended
Starting out as a Sam Lanin-fronted band for Columbia, The Redheads became one of several groups led by cornetist Red Nichols, usually with his partner-in-crime, trombonist Miff Mole & also later Jimmy Dorsey on alto & clarinet (Red's other groups being The 5 Pennies & The Charleston Chasers). Mostly recording for Path‚/Actuel, there's also many with them backing Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards as The Hot Combination & singer & later actor Jay C Flippen as Jay C Flippen & His Gang. Everything's here from hot jazz to pop to novelty, with mostly outstanding musicianship (the great guitar/violin duo of Eddie Lang & Joe Venuti also shows up, also later on such "newcomers" as Pee Wee Russell & Wingy Manone). With 32 page booklet with the Jazz Oracle's usual exhaustive history, rare pics & complete session info as well. (GM)

ZOOT SIMS Proper Pairs 138 SWing King! ● CD $12.98
2 discs, 44 tracks, highly recommended
The best of Zoot's pre-'53 recordings. Sims made his name initially as part of the famed "4 Brothers" sax section in Woody Herman's 2nd Herd in '47, which is where the set starts off - including a live broadcast version of tune 4 Brothers. From there he's heard as part of Stan Getz's own version, expanded by one, to "5 Brothers". As a member of a Benny Goodman small group, Zoot did his 1st leader sessions during a European tour, recording in both Stockholm & Paris with musicians such as expatriate Kenny Clarke & Toots Thielemans. From there it was on to Prestige & later a sideman with guitarist Johnny Smith & the Stan Kenton Orch which is also heard live. Musicians include John Lewis, Frank Rosolino, Chubby Jackson,Al Cohn, Serge Chaloff, Roy Eldridge. Brief liner notes with full session info. (GM)

FRANK SINATRA RCA 60283 Young Blue Eyes - birth Of The Crooner ● CD $17.98
20 tracks, 65 min, essential
20 never before legitimately released tracks of the two titans of the swing era - Sinatra & the TD Orch with such greats as Ziggy Elman, Joe Bushkin, Heine Beau Hymie Schertzer, Shorty Sherrock & of course Dorsey on tb & Buddy Rich on drums, with other vocals by Jo Stafford, Connie Haines & The Pied Pipers. Highlights include wonderful versions of Say It/ This Love Of Mine/ The One I Love (Belongs To Somebody Else) and Snootie Little Cutie, all recorded for NBC radio '40-42. Booklet with excellent liner notes by Sinatra expert Will Friedwald. (GM)

TAB SMITH Delmark 555 Crazy Walk ● CD $14.98
24 tracks, 65 minutes, essential
Jazz alto sax giant Tab Smith had more records on the United Label than anyone else in the stable. His considerable talents also delivered a smash hit for the label in the form of Because Of You. Of the twenty-four tracks on "Crazy Walk", ten are previously unissued, while the balance have never seen issue outside of the original 78 releases or hard-to-find United LPs from years ago. Smith's sax work was simply beautiful and his playing always exhibited immaculate feel, whether blowing through Fast Blues/ Bounce Blues or a delicious version of Caravan. Other highlights are the two-part Pick Up On Tab/ Yo Yo Blues/ Mean To Me, and the stunning deep blues of Feel Like I Wanna Die with Ray King belting out a superior vocal. Another highly satisfying disc from Delmark with notes from Frank Driggs. (CR)

JACK TEAGARDEN Avid 126 Father Of The Jazz Trombone ● CD $33.98
Three CD set with 72 tracks covering the work of this legendary trombonist and vocalist from 1928 to 1947. In addition to tracks with his own groups includes tracks with Joe Venuti, Eddie Condon, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins and others.

MEL TORME Proper BOX 73 Jazz And Velvet ● CD $25.98
4 discs, 96 tracks, essential
Wonderful selection of the early career of The Velvet Fog. The set starts out with his recordings with his modern vocal group The Mel-Tones, which had future arranger Les Baxter, recording for Musicraft by themselves & with label-mate Artie Shaw, including the classic What Is This Thing Called Love. Disc 2 features mostly rare MacGregor Radio Transcriptions. Disc 3 is loaded with rarities - as there was a recording ban in '48, this set is loaded with 1948 tunes taken from Mel's radio program. Mel started the ban on Musicraft, but as it ended he was soon over to Coral which ends disc 3 & fills disc 4. Here's Mel at his scattin' best, with hits Stompin' At The Savoy & The Old Master Painter, duets with Peggy Lee & session backed by the Red Norvo Trio with Charlie Mingus on bass & Tal Farlow on guitar. Complete with 44 page booklet. (GM)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Acrobat 185 British Big Bands ● CD $10.98
20 tracks, 57 min, recommended
The Brit bands were never a real threat to their US counterparts, but did present some fine music & talent, though in a more dance band manner. This set gives you a taste of the best & most important of the UK bands, chronologically from Jack Payne & His BBC Orch ('30), to Victor Sylvester & His Ballroom Orch ('45), with the majority of the tracks from the early 30s - on the final tracks were from after '37. All the greats of the early British dance bands are represented, including Ambrose, Jack Hylton, Ray Noble (with Al Bowlly on vocals), Geraldo, Spike Hughes (a '30 track with guests Jimmy Dorsey & Muggsy Spanier!), Carroll Gibbons, The BBC Dance Orch, even Madam Tussaud's Dance Orch! Includes discographical info with complete personnel listings & brief bios of the band leaders. (GM)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Delmark 554 Yes Indeed! Women Vocalists On United ● CD $14.98
20 tracks, 60 minutes, excellent
When it comes to discussions of jazz and the human voice as a true instrument, the names of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and others top the list. However, the United label in Chicago definitely added some serious talent in the female jazz vocalist field as evidenced by this twenty track collection. Although names like Jewel Belle, Terry Timmons, Vanita Smythe, and Betty Mays may not be recognized by a wide range of fans, their vocal excellence here is superb. "Yes Indeed! Women Vocalists On United" also includes the first recordings of Della Reese from the summer of 1953. Accompanists on this hour-long set include Clark Terry, Eddie Davis, Charlie Fowlkes, and other lofty figures from the 1950s. Completely enjoyable music for relaxing, the vocal expertise offered here is often stunning and never less than stylish. (CR)

VARIOUS ARTISTS Fremeaux & Associes 5096 Harmonica Swing ● CD $25.98
A two CD set with 41 tracks featuring unique look at jazz played on the harmonica. It features recordings by English, Frenncj and American musicians recorded between 1933 and 1952 including Max Geldray, Hubert Giraud, Dany Kane, Larry Adler, Borra Minevitch, Quintette Dupont-Durand, Les 5 De L'harmonica, , The Mouth Organ Swingers, The Hotcha Trio and Trio Marnhy.

VARIOUS ARTISTS Proper BOX 72 Kings Of Komedy ● CD $25.98
4 discs, 34 tracks, recommended
A look at some of the best of the comedians of the 30s & 40s. At the end of the 60s, when there was something called a counterculture, the Marx Brothers & WC Fields were given new vitality as being "antiestablishment". To capitalize on this, Decca put out LPs taken from the soundtracks of Fields & the Marxs to emphasize this, with a loose narration by announcer Gary Owens of "Laugh-In" fame. This is where I got my first exposure to these two classics & both LPs are here in their entirety, as well as tracks from a later Marx box set that had both radio & soundtrack material, & the soundtrack to Field's short "The Temperance Lecture". Also heard here are a number of other classic comedians heard on sections of radio broadcasts - Eddie Cantor from the Firestone show, Abbott & Costello in a show with guests Lucille Ball & Bugs Bunny, Danny Kaye with Cantor & Harry James as guests, Bob Hope meets Al Jolson & the wonderful Jimmy Durante with his then side-kick Garry Moore. With 55 page booklet. (GM)

FATS WALLER Proper BOX 71 Handful Of Keys ● CD $25.98
4 discs, 95 tracks, essential
Take it easy, Greasy! As Fats died in 1943, his entire career is allowed as public domain in the UK, so this is one of the very few sets that covers his entire career. Fats spent most of his years with Victor, so his best, as well as his best known sides have been reissued over the years on RCA/BMG. These include his solo sides with piano & some vocal, & his incredible small group Fats Waller & His Rhythm with the classic lineup of Herman Autrey(t), Gene Sedric (cl), Al Casey or John Smith(g), Cedric Wallace or Charles Turner (b) & Slick Jones or Harry Dial (d), all of which are well represented here, so you get all the classics - Ain't Misbehavin'/ Your Feet's Too Big/ Honeysuckle Rose/ The Joint Is Jumpin' etc. However, the set starts off with the rare 78 he did for Okeh in '22 - Muscle Shoals Blues/ Birmingham Blues, The Henderson Stomp he did as guest with Fletcher Henderson Orch in '26, his side-man dates with Morris's Hot Babies ('27) & The Louisiana Sugar Babes ('28-outstanding! With Jabbo Smith on trumpet, Fats on organ & his mentor James P Johnson on piano!) & his early all-star orchestras Fats & His Buddies including Jack Teagarden, Red Allen, Gene Krupa & Eddie Condon!). There's even some rare V-discs including an all-star "Rhythm" with Benny Carter, Irv Ashby, Slam Stewart & Zutty Singleton. With fact & pic-filled 48 page booklet. (GM)


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