Various Artists

All Star Swing Groups

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This double LP from 1977 (when Arista was reissuing recordings from the valuable Savoy catalog) has more than its share of gems. Drummer Cozy Cole's three 1944 sessions have overlapping personnel (including trumpeters Lamar Wright or Emmett Berry, trombonist Ray Coniff, the tenors of Ben Webster, Budd Johnson and Coleman Hawkins and pianist Johnny Guarnieri). Those classic musicians all get their solo space and play up to par with some exciting moments. In addition pianist Pete Johnson leads two bands that feature some great playing from trumpeter Hot Lips Page (who is quite memorable on the two versions of "Page Mr. Trumpet"), either J.C. Higginbotham or Clyde Bernhardt on trombone, clarinetist Albert Nicholas, Ben Webster or Budd Johnson on tenor, the underrated altoist Don Stovall and on a few numbers singer Etta Jones. The influence of the emerging bebop music is not felt at all on these highly enjoyable swing performances. Most of this music has not yet been reissued in coherent form on CD.