Shorty Jackson

Knock Me a Kiss

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This production is slapdash in a likeable kind of way, the album's title appearing only on the spine and the name of the record company itself only in tiny print on the label. Nonetheless there are nice packaging touches such as the photo of Shorty Jackson with Louis Armstong, not a particularly tall fellow but one who can still demonstrate the wisdom of Jackson's adopted nickname in a photo such as this. The entire album consists of old-time swing music, of the variety where a listener will never be in doubt about where the beat is unless they happen to have lost their hearing completely. Jackson is a fun, energetic pianist who drives a band with little keyboard comments here and there. He is surrounded on all sides by players who know what to do in this genre, especially the legendary Buddy Tate dripping honey from his tenor saxophone and also heard on clarinet. On hand as well is the trombonist Michael Grey, whose youth and enthusiasm must have been inspiring to the old-timers. Recordings are a mixed bag, originating at saloon gigs and radio broadcasts, but for the most part do justice to the music, which probably would have lost some its juice if attempts had been made to recreate this kind of energy in a recording studio. Jackson mixes his own classic R&B numbers, some of which have become classics such as the title song and "Slender, Tender and Tall" with hits from the swing repertoire, heavy on the Fats Waller plus a Louis Armstrong cover and a rip-roaring, unexpected version of the blowing vehicle "Tenor Madness."

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