Jack Pettis

Jack Pettis

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Jack Pettis recorded fairly frequently during the second half of the 1920s, played with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings in 1923, appeared on an early sound film with Ben Bernie in 1925 (taking a long solo on "Sweet Georgia Brown") and led his "Pets" on a series of sessions from 1926-29. A decent but not overly distinctive reed player (mostly playing C-melody along with some tenor and clarinet), Pettis was obscure in the 1930s, recorded two numbers as a leader in 1937, and then completely disappeared; it is not even known if Pettis (who was born in 1902) is still alive, although it is becoming increasingly doubtful. This magnificent two-CD set from the British Kings Cross label has all of Pettis' dates as a leader (except for the 1937 items) plus some recordings with Al Goering's Collegians, the Ambassadors, Ben Bernie, and Irving Mills' ensembles. Pettis contributed -- with pianist Al Goering -- several impressive originals (including the memorable "Freshman Hop," which is heard in four rather different versions), but he does not dominate the music. There are some notable names making appearances here-- including Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, and Jack Teagarden -- but even more important are the many fine but lesser-known players drawn from Ben Bernie and His Orchestra, such as trumpeter Bill Moore. This two-fer includes four performances taken from test pressings and is very highly recommended for 1920's collectors; it is obviously the definitive Jack Pettis set.

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