This anthology collects sides released between 1925 and 1927 by Red Nichols under the usual assortment of monikers, including, this time around, Lanin's Red Heads, the Hottentots, Red & Miff's Stompers, and Red Nichols & His 5 Pennies. These combos usually included longtime associates Miff Mole on trombone and Jimmy Dorsey on clarinet and alto sax. As a cornet player, Nichols often gets dismissed as a version of Bix Beiderbecke lite, an assessment that isn't exactly fair, and he tackles Beiderbecke's own "Davenport Blues" here in his own easy style, showing allegiance more than competition. Other highlights here include the stripped-down "Jimtown Blues" and the intricate "Boneyard Shuffle." Nichols tackled more innovative and complicated arrangements a couple of years down the road from these recordings, and while this might not be the place to start to sample Nichols' massive 1920s output (he is rumored to have appeared on over 4,000 recordings during that decade alone), it is nonetheless a warm, bright, and pleasant listen.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett