Luis Russell & His Orchestra

1926-1929

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AllMusic Review by

This Classics Russell collection and the label's later 1929-1934 disc round up the entire output by the Panamanian bandleader. And while some know them better for the fact they eventually morphed into Louis Armstrong's first big band in the early '30s, Russell's outfit originally cut some of the best sides to surface during the music's transition from early jazz to big band music. The cream of the tracks were recorded between 1929-1930, when the group included such top soloists as trumpeter Henry Allen, trombonist J.C. Higginbotham, saxophonists Charlie Holmes and Albert Nicholas, bassist Pops Foster, and drummer Paul Barbarin. The majority of the collection spotlights this period, with such standouts as "Jersey Lightning," "The New Call of the Freaks," and "African Jungle." Starting things off, though, are eight numbers from Russell's first sessions as a leader (this was while he was still with King Oliver). Featuring Victoria Spivey on vocals and two Jell Roll Morton alums in Kid Ory and George Mitchell, the Chicago-cut sides, while not on par with the later large-band tracks, still impress with their mix of New Orleans and Chicago styles. A quality disc that's best left to completists; newcomers should first consider JSP's superior-sounding Savoy Shout collection as a starting point.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:51
2 3:03
3
feat: Ada Brown
3:00
4
feat: Ada Brown
2:53
5
feat: Luis Russell
2:48
6
feat: Luis Russell
3:07
7
feat: Luis Russell
3:02
8
feat: Luis Russell
2:48
9
feat: Luis Russell
2:58
10
feat: Luis Russell
3:08
11
feat: Luis Russell
3:06
12 3:18
13 3:08
14
feat: Luis Russell
3:13
15
feat: Luis Russell
3:11
16
feat: Luis Russell
3:22
17 2:46
18
3:06
19 2:35
20 3:05
21 2:59
22 3:06
23
feat: Luis Russell
3:16
blue highlight denotes track pick