Joe Newman

Shiny Stockings

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Long one of the more able swing trumpeters, Joe Newman is a solid and steady but not flashy or spectacular musician who graced the trumpet sections of many top bands and worked with numerous small groups throughout his career. Anchoring the trumpet section, for years he was a mainstay of the Count Basie swing machine. Newman also recorded with many other major fixtures in the jazz world as well as cutting a few albums as a leader. Shiny Stockings was one of two albums he made for the now defunct Honey Dew label. Recorded during the 1960s while pianist Ross Tompkins was still a member of the Johnny Carson Tonight Show Band, it wasn't released until 1977. The play list is made up of just four tunes that Newman attacks with his characteristic crackling tone, but he lowers the temperature now and then as on Frank Foster's "Shiny Stockings." More than anything, this is a jam session with each tune averaging ten minutes playing time allowing each member to work out their ideas while in the solo spotlight. Quite naturally, most of the individual playing time goes to Newman and Tompkins. While their major task is setting the rhythmic pace, Russell George on bass and Ron Lundberg on drums get some licks in as well. Lundberg opens "Caravan" pounding out an intense Latin beat building to a climax before Newman enters with the delayed melody line making this track the highlight of the album.

The Honey Dew label did not build a large catalog during its relatively short existence. But what they recorded was interesting and diverse. They put to wax artists with diverse styles like Elvin Jones, Pee Wee Russell, and Ben Webster. A project for some enterprising record company should consider getting control of this material and reissuing it.

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