Buster Bailey


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Born and raised in Memphis, TN, clarinetist William C. "Buster" Bailey (1902-1967) developed his chops in Chicago before joining Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra in New York during the year 1924. Although he seldom recorded as a leader, the classically trained Bailey was an essential player in jazz and blues during the late 1920s, throughout the '30s and into the early '40s. He also cut a wonderful mainstream traditional jazz album for Felsted in 1958, entitled All About Memphis. A compilation released by Best of Jazz in 1996 as An Introduction to Buster Bailey brings together some of this man's best work as leader and sideman during the years 1924-1942. In addition to three solid examples from the Henderson band, this very enjoyable survey includes performances by blues singers Bessie Smith and Johnnie "Geechie" Temple; Louis Armstrong; the Red Onion Jazz Babies; the Clarence Williams Washboard Band; Willie "The Lion" Smith & His Cubs; and swing ensembles large and small led by trumpeters Henry "Red" Allen and Wingy Manone; pianist Teddy Wilson, vibraphonist Lionel Hampton and bassist John Kirby, leader of the highly respected Sextet within which Bailey accomplished some of the best improvisations and most impressively coordinated ensemble maneuvering's of his entire career. There are hardly any Buster Bailey collections in existence. Among these, a more complete selection of titles originally released under his name may be found in the Classics Chronological and EPM Jazz Archives editions. With only five examples of Bailey leading his own groups, this Best of Jazz release was clearly intended as a diverse overview illustrating the clarinetist's amazing ability to improve the sound of every session he ever participated in.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:51
2 2:44
feat: Bessie Smith
4 2:47
5 2:54
6 2:45
7 2:59
8 2:47
feat: Teddy Wilson
10 2:51
11 2:50
feat: Teddy Wilson
13 2:41
14 2:55
15 2:31
16 2:13
17 2:29
18 3:05
19 2:48
20 2:35
21 2:58
22 2:43
blue highlight denotes track pick