Stuff Smith

The Complete 1944 Rosenkrantz Apartment Transcription Duets

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This unusual two-CD set features privately recorded transcriptions of duets by jazz violinist Stuff Smith with classical pianist Robert Crum, which Baron Timme Rosenkrantz intended to release commercially, though that would not happen until almost six decades later. It is hard to compare this music against Stuff Smith's typical records, as his fans will find these recordings quite unlike anything else in his discography, often delving into free improvisation and semi-classical genres rather than just straight-ahead swing. There are sections within "New World," an extended suite recorded in eight segments, that contain boogie-woogie, swing, or blues. But much of the music has a rough-hewn quality, as if the two were still rehearsing new material. The second disc is even more informal, with audible comments by the musicians, Rosenkrantz, and Inez Cavanaugh heard on some tracks. Considering the condition of the discs that served as source material, which range from somewhat worn to fairly good, the restoration of this vintage music is remarkable. This British release by AB Fable should be of special interest to jazz violin scholars, as it opens a whole new chapter in the career of Stuff Smith.

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