The Coon-Sanders Nighthawks

The Coon-Sanders Nighthawks, Vol. 3

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The Coon-Sanders Nighthawks were one of the most popular jazz-oriented bands of the 1920s, and one can hear why on the four TOM CDs that reissue their entire output. Volume Three is a bit unusual, for it includes six radio transcriptions ("The Maytag Frolic 1-6") that are representative of how the band often sounded in that setting; these performances are in the four- to 4½-minute range. Actually, "Frolic 3-4" is of lesser interest, for the ensemble mostly plays and sings a medley of college songs, but taken as a whole, the music is quite interesting. Otherwise, there are 14 studio sides covering a six-month period when the Coon-Sanders Orchestra was at the peak of its popularity. Highlights include four numbers that they recorded as the Louisiana Rhythm Kings, plus "What a Girl, What a Night," the touching "Little Orphan Annie," and the classic "Here Comes My Ball and Chain." Few jazz singers of the time were on the same level as Carleton Coon and Joe Sanders, and few ensembles managed to balance high musicianship and swing as did the Nighthawks. A perfectly done series.

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