Of the six Pickwick CD reissues drawn from the Black & White catalog of the mid-'40s, this one is the most valuable. Clarinetist Joe Marsala leads ten of the 14 performances. The first six songs features his septet with trumpeter Joe Thomas and the brilliant jazz harpist Adele Girard, who fortunately has a fair amount of solo space. However, it is the other four selections that really grab one's attention, for the swing-oriented Marsala is matched with stride pianist Cliff Jackson and bebop innovator and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. On "My Melancholy Baby" all three of the stylists are heard in uncompromising fashion, first in individual solos and then (much too briefly) battling it out in a unique ensemble. This CD is rounded out by singer Etta Jones (backed by a Barney Bigard combo) interpreting four blues from Dinah Washington's repertoire. This is a highly recommended set.
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